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Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois

Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois

The Malinois is a medium to large-sized dog with an athletic, lean build and a short, tight coat. Sometimes mistaken for the larger, heavier boned German Shepherd Dog, the Malinois is more ‘sports car’ to the German Shepherd Dogs ‘utility vehicle’!

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Weight:  20 – 30kg 
Height:  56 – 66cm 
Colours:  Malinois are fawn, red or grey, with a black mask and black shading to the hair tips. Tails are usually darker or have a black tip, ears are mostly black
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5


To say that the Malinois is not for the faint-hearted is something of an understatement, they are not nicknamed the ‘Maligator’ for nothing. This is an affectionate, devoted but intense breed that requires an experienced owner, dedicated to training not just as a hobby, but as a lifestyle.

A well trained Malinois is capable of excelling in any sport, but they are predisposed to guard and to bite, and it would be unwise to expect anything less.

Intelligent, sharp, alert, loyal and clever, the Malinois is not a dog to under-estimate, nor to leave to entertain themselves!

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Belgium

The Malinois is one of four varieties of Belgian Shepherd dogs, (the others being the Laekenois, Tervueren and Groenendael), named for the areas of Belgium they originate from.

Whilst hard-working sheepdog types have been recognised in Belgium since the Middle Ages, it was in the 1890s that a professor at the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences recorded breed standards for the four types. He noted that the main differences were in coat type and divided the breed into the four types and advised breeding them as separate breeds.

The Malinois was the first to develop a standard type and breed true to that type and remains the most popular of the four today. They were the first Belgian breed to be used as a police dog or border patrol dog, work they excelled at and indeed still do.

Did You Know?

  • Belgian Malinois has become very popular recently due to the many films featuring or starring members of the breed.
  • Long before that though, Malinois were true working heroes, serving in the First World War as messengers and assistants to the Red Cross, pulling ambulance carts and carts carrying firearms.
  • Today, Malinois are still very popular as military dogs, and a Belgian Malinois called Cairo was part of the Navy SEAL team that captured Osama bin Laden in 2011.
  • Belgian Malinois are used to guard the grounds of the White House.
  • The Belgian Malinois is the favoured breed of Navy Seals due to their bravery which is essential as they’re trained to leap out of airplanes and skydive with their handlers!

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