AKC Group: Herding
Originally part of a variety of the Belgium Shepherd dog, the Malinois was developed in the city of Malines in the 1900s. The breed quickly became a favorite of the city and the country.
Size: 22 to 26 inches; 55 to 75 pounds
Color: Rich fawn to mahogany. They have black tipped hairs and a black mask and ears.
Life span: 12 to 14 years
Health problems: Skin allergies, eye problems, excessive shyness or aggressiveness. Very rarely seen are hip or elbow dysplasia.
The Belgian Malinois is a high-energy breed that is a favorite among the police and military sets. Often mistaken for a German Shepherd, the Malinois is more elegant and lighter-boned. The Belgian Malinois is well muscled, strong, agile and full of life. They have almond shaped eyes and stiff, ever erect ears that are shaped like an equilateral triangle. The tail has a slight curve. He has a smooth, short-haired coat that is easy to groom. Brush regularly with a firm, bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. (Too much bathing will remove the waterproofness of his coat.) Malinois shed heavily twice a year.
Malinois have a tendency to bond to one or two people intensely. They make an excellent watchdog as they are very protective and territorial. Some Malinois are overly shy from birth and this can be exacerbated by too little socialization. In reality, they need to be socialized starting immediately followed with firm, but loving training. Alert and playful, they love to be with their family doing all your activities. You should tire long before he does. If they’ve been raised with a cat, you’ll probably never have to worry. With other dogs, however, they may be dominant. During their first year, expect him to act out. This is normal and acceptable behavior for puppies, but be sure to nip this in the bud so he doesn’t continue to do it as an adult. As the breed tends to experience several different behavior phases over their first year, and it’s imperative they learn what you consider acceptable behavior for them. Avoid harshness in your voice as much as possible as Malinois are very sensitive to tones and will react accordingly. If your Malinois continues to experience excessive shyness or aggression after puppyhood, as hereditary traits, you will need to seek advice from a professional trainer. Always be firm, reward with praise and employ positive reinforcements. A puppy obedience class will help the both of you immensely. Seriously consider one.