Belgian Malinois

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AKC Group: Herding

Originally one variety of the Belgium Shepherd dog, the Malinois was developed in the 1900s in the city of Malines to be an intelligent, loyal dog for herding purposes.

Size: 22 to 26 inches tall, 55 to 75 pounds.

Color: Fawn to mahogany, all colors have black-tipped hairs with a black mask and ears.

Life span: 12 to 14 years.

Health problems: Nothing major has been noted. Minor complaints include skin allergies, eye problems, hip or elbow dysplasia. Excessive shyness or aggression are common if not properly socialized or trained.

These alert, high energy dogs are popular with law enforcement and the military. Protective, territorial and they bond to one or two very strongly for their whole life are traits that law enforcement want. They love to run and play and, trust me, you will tire out long before a Malinois.

Malinois are often mistaken for German Shepherds. Malinois are described as more elegant and lighter-boned than the Germans. Malinois are square-looking and carry themselves with a regal deportment. Strong, agile and muscular, Malinois are full of life. They have almond-shaped eyes; stiff, erect, equilateral triangle-shaped ears and a level back. His tail is raised with a slight curl.

Loving and playful, fully expect your Malinois to act out during his first year of life. This is normal, but you’ll have to stop it so it doesn’t become a fact of life as an adult. They will go through various behavior patterns in the first year. They’re just trying to learn what’s acceptable behavior. You’ll need to encourage exactly the behavior you want. (This is another trait that helps Malinois be beneficial to law enforcement.) Don’t be too harsh, too firm or too soft with them, a Malinois needs firm, loving and consistent training. Malinois have the ability to pick up human moods and will react accordingly.

Malinois also need adequate socialization to overcome their natural shyness. If they are raised with other dogs, or even cats, a Malinois will do well with them. They may revert to dominance over other dogs though. If your Malinois doesn’t outgrow his natural shyness or aggression, seek the help of a professional behaviorist or trainer.

The smooth (shorthaired) coat of a Malinois requires little effort. A regular brushing and a bath when absolutely necessary is all it takes. They do shed heavily twice a year.

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