The Belgian Malinois is a dog of medium size that is fawn to mahogany in color with a black mask and black tipped fur. The Malinois is a short-haired dog and looks similar to the German Shepherd, but there are several differences between the two breeds. They are smaller and lighter than the German Shepherd and do not feature the black saddle that is associated with the German Shepherd. Also, the Belgian Malinois is in general a more energetic and agile breed than the German Shepherd. These beautiful, well-proportioned dogs sport a chiseled and refined head with triangular shaped ears. Eyes are almond in shape, black-rimmed and usually dark brown in color.
The Belgian Malinois is highly energetic and born to work. Their personalities can range from friendly to reserved with people and animals they don't know. These dogs are very protective of their property and owners, but usually not unnecessarily aggressive. The Belgian Malinois thrives in an environment where tasks must be performed, and without anything to do the dog can become bored or even depressed. This dog requires lots of exercise and activity, and responds best to owners who are able to provide firm structure, discipline and positive reinforcement. The Malinois can be great with children, provided it is introduced to them as puppies. Both dog and child should be taught how to safely interact with one another.
Caring for a Belgian Malinois:
The Belgian Malinois is a low-maintenance breed as far as grooming is concerned. They should be brushed every few days to keep the coat healthy, and more frequently during heavy shedding periods. Excessive bathing should be avoided, because it can remove the waterproofing capacity of the coat. The most important aspect in caring for a Belgian Malinois is providing the dog with plenty of exercise and activities. These dogs are happiest when they have something to do, and are filled with energy and enthusiasm. The Belgian Malinois is capable of living outdoors in temperate climates, but it is much happier when it can live inside with access to a yard. Though generally very healthy, this breed is occasionally known to be afflicted with canine hip and elbow dysplasia.
The Belgian Malinois is one of the three
varieties of the Belgian Shepherd
recognized in the United States; a
fourth variety, known as the Laekenois,
is not considered a separate breed in
the US. The Malinois' name is derived
from Malines, a city in Belgium. The
Chien de Berger Belge, or Belgian
Shepherd, was developed during the late
18th century and early 19th century, and
was designed to perform all the tasks
required of a herding dog and be
adaptable to the cold northern European
Until 1891, there was no standard for the Belgian Shepherd. In that year, Belgian veterinarian Adolphe Reul brought together over 100 Belgian Shepherds and their owners to establish a breed standard. He found that many of the dogs were very similar in structure, but differed in coat color and type; this group of dogs, which in some countries is divided into four subcategories, was recognized as the Belgian Shepherd. While the Belgian Shepherd was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1911, it was not until 1959 that the breed was split into three distinct categories in the United States.