All about the Belgian Malinois Shepherd

Everything you have to know about this very smart and obedient dog

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By Alex

Belgian Malinois Shepherd

Frequently utilized in police work due to its obedience and strong work ethic, the Belgian Malinois Shepherd is exceptionally energetic and active.

In fact, to stay in optimal shape, it requires continuous exercise, both physical and mental. Consequently, it is a demanding dog, entirely unsuitable for novices or those lacking sufficient time to dedicate to it. It would experience considerable distress.

Belgian Malinois Shepherd: origins and history

The ancestors of this breed originated from northeastern Europe.

Being one of the dog breeds with diverse characteristics, Professor Reul, along with some colleagues, decided to establish order by initially selecting the breed. After the founding of the Club du chien de berger belge, the official standard, dating back to 1894, was established.

To this day, despite numerous debates among breeders, four varieties of Belgian Shepherds are officially recognized:

  1. Groenendael
  2. Tervueren
  3. Laekenois
  4. Malinois

The latter is the short-haired variant from Malines, located in the province of Antwerp in the northwestern region of Belgium.

Belgian Malinois Shepherd: physical characteristics

Well-proportioned, elegant and robust, it is a medium-sized dog with a lean musculature. It has a proud bearing, slightly elongated neck, compact bone structure, and a medium-length tail. The coat is short, dense and thick, while the undercoat is woolly.

Here are some key features:

  • Size: The Belgian Malinois is well-proportioned and sturdy, typically standing between 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) at the shoulder for males, and slightly smaller for females.
  • Weight: Males usually weigh between 60 to 80 pounds (27 to 36 kg), while females typically range from 40 to 60 pounds (18 to 27 kg).
  • Coat: The breed has a short, straight, and dense coat that lies close to the body. The hair is slightly longer around the neck, forming a distinctive ruff, and the tail has a plume of fur.
  • Color: The Malinois coat is typically fawn to mahogany with a black mask and ears. Small white markings on the chest, toes, and the tip of the tail are permissible but not preferred in the show ring.
  • Head: The head is well-proportioned to the body, and the skull is flat. The muzzle is of medium length, and the ears are triangular, erect, and proportionate to the head.
  • Eyes: The Malinois has dark, almond-shaped eyes that express alertness and intelligence.
  • Teeth: The breed should have a complete set of strong, white teeth with a scissors bite.
  • Neck: The neck is muscular and slightly arched, blending smoothly into the shoulders.
  • Body: The body is strong, with a level topline, a deep chest, and a moderately tucked-up abdomen.
  • Tail: The tail is strong at the base and reaches at least to the hock. When at rest, it hangs straight, and when in action, it may be raised, but not curled over the back.

These physical characteristics, combined with the breed’s overall athleticism and agility, contribute to the Belgian Malinois’s suitability for various roles, including herding, police work, and other demanding tasks.

Belgian Malinois Shepherd Temperament

The Belgian Malinois Shepherd is known for its distinctive temperament, characterized by a combination of intelligence, energy, loyalty, and protective instincts

It is an intelligent, versatile, energetic and athletic dog. Protective, suitable for any type of work, it has strong defensive instincts and is in fact considered an excellent guardian. It is also very cooperative if not very easy to handle, especially by novice owners and this is because, while not aggressive, it is particularly reactive.

In fact, it needs to be constantly engaged in physical and mental activities, and is unsuitable for too sedentary a life.

He needs a lot of exercise and possibly some sports to channel his inexhaustible energy.

Belgian Malinois Shepherd
Belgian Malinois Shepherds are known for their intelligence, agility, and versatility, making them popular in various roles such as police work, search and rescue, and as family companions.They are known for their intelligence, agility, and versatility, making them popular in various roles such as police work, search and rescue, and as family companions.

Training a Belgian Shepherd Malinois

There is no denying that this breed is demanding and, therefore, requires proper training from puppyhood. Education must reconcile firmness and gentleness, making use of the positive reinforcement technique.

Best to rely on dog training performed by qualified experts who can provide the right guidance to educate your puppy properly.

Being a very energetic and intelligent dog, he does not disdain being given tasks and challenges.

The Belgian Shepherd Malinois and children

It is one of the most suitabledogs for children: an adorable, affectionate and very playful companion.

It is ideal to raise him with them, adopting him as a puppy and training him for socialization. An adult specimen, if not used to living with babies, may have more difficulty adapting.

Activities and games for the Belgian Shepherd Malinois

Belgian Malinois are highly energetic and intelligent dogs that thrive on physical and mental stimulation. Engaging them in various games and activities is a great way to channel their energy and keep them happy.

Here are some games that Belgian Malinois may particularly enjoy:

  • Fetch: This classic game is an excellent way to burn off energy. Use a ball or a favorite toy and engage in a game of fetch. The Malinois’ natural herding instincts may make this game especially enjoyable for them.
  • Agility Courses: Set up an agility course in your backyard using tunnels, jumps, weave poles, and other agility equipment. This not only provides physical exercise but also stimulates their problem-solving skills.
  • Frisbee: Many Belgian Malinois love playing Frisbee. Their agility and athleticism make them great at catching and retrieving the flying disc. It’s a fantastic way to combine exercise with bonding time.
  • Tug of War: Tug of war is a good outlet for their strong jaws and natural pulling instincts. Use a sturdy rope toy and engage in a friendly game of tug, making sure to establish clear rules and boundaries.
  • Hide and Seek: This game engages their sense of smell and provides mental stimulation. Hide treats or toys around the house or yard, and encourage your Malinois to find them. It’s a fun and interactive way to keep them entertained.
  • Canine Sports: Enroll your Malinois in canine sports such as obedience trials, agility competitions, or even herding trials if available in your area. These activities tap into their natural abilities and give them a sense of purpose.
  • Puzzle Toys: Provide puzzle toys that dispense treats as rewards. This not only entertains them but also challenges their problem-solving skills.
  • Swimming: Many Belgian Malinois enjoy water. If possible, take them to a dog-friendly swimming area or provide a kiddie pool in your backyard for a refreshing water activity.
  • Running or Jogging: These dogs have a high energy level and can make excellent running or jogging partners. Ensure they are in good physical condition before engaging in strenuous activities.
  • Interactive Training Games: Combine mental stimulation with training by incorporating interactive games. Teach them new tricks, work on obedience commands, or try out canine puzzles that challenge their cognitive abilities.

Belgian Malinois Shepherd: breeding

Breeding the Belgian Malinois Shepherd should always involve placing trust exclusively in qualified breeders, unless you opt to adopt from a specialized rescue organization focusing on purebred dogs.

When it comes to breeders, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Ensure they possess the local affix, indicating the breeder’s seriousness and the breed’s purity.
  2. Exercise caution if a breeder offers an excessive number of breeds; a reputable one usually specializes in a limited number.
  3. Visit the breeding facility to ensure it is adequately spacious, clean, and well-maintained.
  4. Engage with the breeders, seeking information and advice to assess their knowledge and commitment.
  5. Verify that the puppies are vaccinated, weaned, microchipped, and equipped with all necessary certificates and documents.

How to deal with a Malinois

This is a dog that requires patience and active participation. Having a lot of energy, it needs to be followed and stimulated continuously. Feeding is also important: give preference to quality foods with a good protein intake, which should be at least 25 percent of the content.

You can alternate wet food and kibble, avoiding overdoing the quantities.

How many years does a Belgian Shepherd Malinois live

The average life expectancy is about 10 to 14 years. Obviously, these are rough estimates and may vary depending on the health status of the dog, the presence of any diseases and the dog’s lifestyle.

Most common ailments of the Belgian Shepherd Malinois

Although a dog enjoys good health, it may suffer from some ailments.

  • Oculopathies such as progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to total blindness, and
    cataracts, which cause progressive reduction of vision.
  • Dysplasia of the hip, a condition that often affects large dogs and can be
    more or less disabling depending on the case.
  • Elbow dysplasia, which affects the front legs.
  • Eosinophilic panosteitis, injury of the bone marrow affecting the long bones causing
  • Vyiligo, causing depigmentation of the muzzle and pads, and cerebellar ataxia, which damages neurons in the cerebellum and spinal cord.

All about the Belgian Shepherd Malinois

How much does the Belgian Shepherd Malinois cost

Puppies are unlikely to have a cost of less than 600 dollars, since it is a purebred dog. But in reality the price can also be quite a bit higher depending on its characteristics and the kennel from which the purchase is made.

Alternatively, there is the adoption route. As for maintenance, costs are on average for a dog of this size.

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