Belgian Malinois—or “Mals,” as their fans call them—are driven and extremely intelligent. They have become the preferred dog for military service and law enforcement. Some serve as bomb-sniffers in Iraq and Afghanistan; and one is rumored to have accompanied the Navy Seals who assassinated Osama bin Laden. They take their name from the town that first bred them: Maline, Belgium.
This large and high-energy breed can grow to between 40-80 pounds and lives an average of 14-16 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
|Breed's original pastime||Guarding livestock & people|
|Average lifespan||14-16 years|
|Date of origin||1800s|
|Original function||Stock herding|
|Today's function||Security, police, contraband detection|
|Average size of male||Height: 24-26 Weight: 60-65|
|Average size of female||Height: 22-24 Weight: 60-65|
|Energy level||High energy|
|Affection level||Somewhat affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Shy|
|Ease of training||Hard to train|
|Protection ability||Very protective|
|Grooming needs||Low maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Medium tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BELGIAN MALINOIS' PERSONALITY LIKE?
The devoted and loyal Belgian Malinois craves your attention and is happiest when doing his job — whatever that job may be. These are very smart, very playful, and somewhat affectionate dogs. They'll play best with children and other dogs under your supervision.
This breed is often suspicious of strangers but may be friendly toward other pets and small animals.
WHAT IS BELGIAN MALINOIS BEHAVIOR LIKE?
The Belgian Malinois is an extremely active and playful breed. They make for hard-working, highly vigilant, and very protective watchdogs. Belgian Malinois are somewhat prone to barking, and bored Mals can be destructive.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BELGIAN MALINOIS?
The breed is very biddable, extremely eager, and exceptionally intelligent; early and frequent socialization is important. This intense dog requires consistent and patient training. Mals are also sensitive and responsive to your moods and the tone of your voice, so be gentle with them.
As with many large, smart dogs, your Belgian Mainois needs a rigorous exercise schedule to satisfy their sharp minds and active bodies. They excel in obedience training, as well as in rally, agility, flyball, and tracking. Really, what can't this dog do?
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DOES THE BELGIAN MALINOIS SHED AND WHAT ARE ITS GROOMING NEEDS?
A Belgian Malinois' straight, double coat is weatherproof and short. Their coats shed but are relatively easy to maintain. Regular brushings are a must, particularly during their twice-yearly sheds. Otherwise, bathe your Mal only as needed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BELGIAN MALINOIS HAVE?
A generally healthy breed, Belgian Malinois can be susceptible to eye disease and elbow and hip ailments. Some have been known to develop epilepsy or pannus, but most Mals lead relatively healthy lives.