Belgian Malinois


A medium to large sized Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)22-26in (56-66cm)
Weight50-65lbs (23-30kg)
Hair Colour(s)Mahogany
Lifespan12-14 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size6-10
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Belgian Malinois is a medium to large sized squarely built dog. A Belgian Sheepdog, it is called the Malinois to differentiate it from the other three Belgian Sheepdog varieties called the Groenendael, the Tervuren and the Laekenois, to which it is very similar apart from the coat. The body is muscular with a deep but not broad chest, well-sprung ribs, a level topline, straight legs and a fluffy tail. The head has a pointed muzzle, a black nose, upright triangular ears and dark brown eyes. The double coat consists of a dense undercoat and a short, thick and straight outercoat, and the colouring tends to be mahogany with dark markings.


Belgian Malinoises are alert, graceful and obedient dogs. With bags of energy and an appetite for play, they are also affectionate and make devoted companions and family dogs. Early socialisation and consistent training is recommended, and these sociable dogs do not like being left alone for long periods of time, which can lead to boredom and destructive behaviour. They are intelligent and determined, learn quickly and are generally obedient which can make training easy, but as they can have dominant and stubborn streaks and are also quite sensitive, they are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. Belgian Malinoises get along well with older, more considerate children they have been raised with, as they may try to herd younger kids that run around, but don't tend to do too well with other household pets and dogs. As they have generous protective streaks they tend to be reserved and rather wary around strangers, and so make good watchdogs.

History & Skills

Belgian Malinoises originate from Belgium, where they were originally bred in the late nineteenth century for herding sheep and as watchdogs. One of the four Belgian Sheepdog varieties (the others being Groenendaels, Tervurerns and Laekenoises), they were named after Malines, the Belgian village in which they were developed. These days they are popular as companion dogs and pets, and they retain their old skills and perform pretty well in herding trials, obedience sports, and are used in search and rescue missions and in drug detection.

Breed Specific Ailments

Belgian Malinoises tend to live between 10-12 years and are considered to be quite a healthy breed. Some of the health problems that have been noted includes hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems and skin allergies.


Belgian Malinoises are heavy shedders that also shed even more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so are probably unsuitable for those suffering with allergies. Their grooming requirements are not too high, and the coat will need brushing twice a week, and more so during periods of heavier shedding, and the hair between the outer ears and toes, plus areas that tend to matt easily such as the ruff and legs, will need occasional trimming. They should only be bathed when necessary as this will deplete the coat's natural water resistance. It is important to clean and check the teeth regularly to avoid possible dental problems.

Exercise & Environment

Belgian Malinoises tend to live indoors but can live outdoors in moderate climates, and can even be suitable for small homes such as apartments. They prefer cooler climates and will need time outdoors and plenty of exercise, which can be provided by having access to a secure yard or garden plus a daily walk or jog. Care is needed outdoors as these incredibly aware dogs tend to chase vehicles.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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