By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022

Belgian Malinois


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

Belonging to the Herding breed of dogs, the widely popular dog in Europe and the US, Belgian Malinois is extensively used as a working dog mainly for crime and police tasks like detecting odors of explosives, accelerants, narcotics, tracking down criminals, in rescue missions and search works.

 Belgian Malinois Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesBelgian Shepherd Dog, Malinois
CoatFine; wire
ColorBlack, black and tan, gray
Breed TypePurebred
Group (of Breed)Herding
Lifespan11 to 13 years
Weight65 to 75 pounds (29 to 34 kg approx.)
Height (size)
Large; 24 to 26 inches (60 to 66 cm approx.)
TemperamentLoyal, responsive, intelligent, alert
Good with ChildNo
Litters6-10 puppies at a time
Common NicknamePastor Belga Malinois
Competitive RegistrationCKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, NKC, NZKC, ANKC, APRI, ACR, DRA, NAPR


These dogs evolved in the 1800s in Belgium and mainly served as sheepdogs.


These obedient, committed, watchful and territorial dog love masters who don’t dominate or rude, or else the dog too will not cooperate. They are good with children and would socialize well if taught from puppyhood. Herding behaviors like circling, chasing, roaming aimlessly or biting at people’s heels are often seen in them.


Belgian malinois is a mild-to-average shedder. However, it sheds heavily only twice every year.



As a working dog, the Belgian malinois is accustomed to dynamic outdoor life and hence a lot of physical exercise, long walks and jogs is required daily, as also playing in an open area unleashed would keep them happy and healthy.


Brush the short, smooth coat regularly with firm-bristle brushes, but bathe them only when really needed, otherwise, the natural waterproofing of the dog’s coat might be affected. Also, brush their teeth twice/thrice weekly and trim their nails by experienced hands from time to time.

Health Problems

These hardy and healthy dogs do not have much health issues except some minor physical or mental problems including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye problems, skin allergies, excessive aggressiveness, excessive shyness etc. They are sensitive to anesthesia. Gather health history of the puppies’ parents from their breeders.


These highly active dogs need foods rich in nutrients. They are meat dogs and love to eat plenty of meat, and hence, a rib bone per week or an oxtail suit to be fine. Egg and yoghurt, 1 tbsp every week, is healthy for them. You can add electrolytes to its drinking water, and can also serve them with fruit or vegetable juice (which you can store as ice cubes to ease work) 3 to 4 times weekly. Dogs fed with 28% to 32% of protein in their diet tend to receive fewer training injuries, however, the typical fat content of the diet of the dog should be between 25% and 32%. But give them small meals every time. For dry foods, a good quality food is recommended. 2-3 cups, divided into two courses of meal should be enough to meet their daily need.


Train them, better by an experienced owner, to socialize when you bring home the puppies, since the adulthood temperament depends on how good the puppy was trained. It might be tough to take on them later, if you don’t set rules clearly, or do not teach them the do’s and don’ts of living with its owner’s family, so that a natural authority and confidence of the owner over his pet is revealed.

Interesting Facts

  • This dog suits best to owners who have spacious houses and have no problem having their brittle vase broken or rosewood furniture get scratched.
  • The present-day Belgian malinois can be traced back to a breeding pair of pet dogs which were owned by Adrien Janssens, a shepherd living in Laeken.
  • In the 2000s, as these dogs acquired a good amount of attention in the police and the military forces, drug detecting agencies, rescue operations etc., USA has started importing Malinois over the past few years.
  • Belgian malinois was the first dog used by Belgian police.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd vs Dutch Shepherd

Points of Difference

Belgian Malinois

German Shepherd

Dutch Shepherd

Height; Weight24-26 inches; 65-75 pounds26-26 inches; 85-100 pounds22-25 inches; 50-70 pounds
CoatFine, wireMediumLong, flat, harsh
Hypoallergenic BreedNoNoNo
GroupHerdingHerding and workingHerding
Good with ChildNoNoYes

  1. Loyal
  2. Alert
  3. Responsive
  4. Intelligent
  5. Independent
Litter Size6-10 puppies5-10 puppies8-12 puppies
Life Expectancy11-13 years9-13 years12-15 years

18 responses to “Belgian Malinois”

  1. Alla Campbell says:

    I have allergy to dogs and wondering if mixing Malinois with poodle can help this issue..?
    If anyone can advise please do as I adore big dogs like Malinois

  2. Alla Campbell says:

    Does anyone know who breeds Malinois mixed with poodle?
    Thank you

    • April K says:

      Our friends just had a litter (unplanned) full size chocolate poodle with a belgian malinois. We have adopted a male, he was the least “curly” haired and a little bit smaller in stature. We have had him for 3 weeks and he is so smart and great with our 3 kids.

  3. Jerry Lee says:

    my husband and I would like to purchase one of these dogs.could you put us in contact with some of the breeders?my husband is registered with akc and ukc.we have leporad dogs now,he is a coon hunter,but he would like to have a personal dog. He fell in love with this breed. He is a Viet nam vet and is struggling right now with problems from agent orange.

  4. Oreste Ona says:

    I am planning to buy a Belgium Malinois puppy. I find your articles instructional and complete.


  5. Gil says:

    Hi I bought a new female dog it’s look like a Belgian shepherd but I think it’s too small for it’s age
    It’s age is 12 weeks and it’s hight is aprox 30 cm
    Weight 7 kg
    Is it normal for the breed?

  6. Jimmy says:

    I worked and fell in love with the Belgian Malinois while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. These dogs are very intelligent, athletes of the K9 world, very loyal and can be very protective of their humans and pack. We adopted a 2 year old Malinois last year and he is awesome. They need lots of exercise and attention. They are not couch potatoes. If you can’t dedicate 12+ years to an active lifestyle of at least 4 to 6 hours of exercise, or a physical job every day for them, this is not the dog for you. Too many end up in shelters and rescues because people don’t understand what these dogs needs are. They truly are beautiful animals. And sometimes this beauty blinds a person as to what they are getting into with a Malinois. Active is more of an understatement when describing these K9’s. Since we adopted our Malinois, we no longer need an alarm clock. Our day starts at 0501 when he tells us it’s breakfast time. 0615 it’s first exercise. At 1130 2nd exercise outing. 1400 3rd exercise outing, 1615 4th exercise outing and a 2 mile walk around the neighborhood. 1800 dinner time. 2130 final exercise outing, a small snack and lights out. He keeps us, and his sister K9’s on a tight schedule lol…

    • Guy says:

      Hi Jimmy —

      Thank you for your service.

      I always think it will be difficult for someone to understand the drive of this breed unless they have spent time with them. When I acquired my Mal as a pup, the breeder sat with me for three hours before he agreed to let me have her. Only then was he convinced that my personal activity level was sufficient for her. She is now 2 years old, and “only” knows 85 commands by voice and by hand signals. We are working to extend her off leash distance. Like you, my day is compartmentalized around her. I’m fortunate to be able to spend 16-18 hours a day with her. She has a repetitive routine similar to what you describe. The trainer with whom we work, once said that the Malinois breed is know for the F words – Faithful, Fearless, and Ferocious. We are going through protection training, and scent detection at this time. She is a sponge for new “games.” She is the best decision I’ve ever made. My trainer recognizes how much time I spend with her and has flattered me by offering to buy her. He is retired from a PD in California, and has seen many Mals and GSDs in his 28 years of service.

      • Jane says:

        I just adopted from the local shelter a dog that they labeled German Shepherd. I have had a few shepherds over the years and I am very familiar with them. This dog I adopted is smaller, her coat is different. Her back doesn’t slant like a GSD. She is the fawn color with slight black face. So, after getting her home yesterday, I am convinced she is a Belguim Malinois. She has Kennel Cough and can’t be around other dogs. I have a large yard and she slept with me last night. She follows me everywhere I go. She is very sweet. I have taken her on two walks and she is learning already how to walk properly. The posts about how much exercise she will need, scare me. I am very willing to walk her at least once a day, if not twice however Monday thru Thursday I work a 10+ hours a day and at this point, I live alone. Will she be ok? Is this why she was a stray? I am a really good pet owner however I have never had any other types of dogs besides GSD. My last GSD had to be put down at almost 13 years old. She was a great dog and we had a great life together. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    • Kimberly Albarran says:

      Hi my name is Kimberly albarran I just got 2females and are 2months I love them they keep me company and they stick right beside me I’m just now learning about them a lady I work for give me there’s dog’s she has more I keep reading on the do you have any special training I could teach them I would like send pictures so u can see them

  7. Alanda O'Brien says:

    I think I have rescued a Malinois but it was described a German Shepherd. I’ve had Shepherds and she is different. When we rescued her from the pound she has heart worms and wasn’t very active but after treatment she is a different dog.She is super active, always playing seems like a child with ADD. I take her for long walks 2 times a day but she is not yet allowed to run yet because of her treatment. The vet thought she was 2 to 3 years old. How can I tell if she is a Malinois? She looks like a GSD in her coloring but her face is not as narrow as a GSD and her eyes look somewhat different. I love her and will work with her everyday although she is a handful.

    • Fritz says:

      How does her back look? GSD’s slope. Mal’s do not. They are a squared dog. Only Shepherd breed that their height is almost equal to their length. More than likely the case you have a shepherd/mix. In the end who cares? You’ll never obtain papers. So what her breed it is a nonpoint. If you love her and her drive works for you then in the end she’s a member of your family. That’s all that matters.

  8. Judy Sanders says:

    This is a balanced and interesting introduction to the Malinois. I’m sorry they seem to be one of the currently “hot” dogs everyone wants. Too much interest in a breed is not good! I have my first Malinois now. She is a rescue and I’m probably her 4th owner and she’s only 7 months old. I have some obedience-training skills and it takes all I have and can study to stay ahead of her! Smart, completely athletic, fast, quick-minded, alert to everything, very mouthy even after a month of work, not very affectionate – more interested in “what’s out there,” but responds to treats, occasionally gets tired enough to chill with me. Learns things too quickly. Easy to teach her the wrong thing! What a powerhouse of a puppy, but she has good sense.

    • Guy says:

      Judy —

      Our trainer (for Celeste and me) has told me that my 2 year old is hampered because she doesn’t respect me. She is much more obedient to the trainer. He told me that I should not expect Celeste to be a “pet.” If I want a pet, I should get a Labrador. Celeste is not one to hug on. Hence, that is why she doesn’t respect me. We started a boot camp to correct that. It kills me when all I can do is praise and pet for her obedience. She has her independence now, and she is beginning to acclimate that I am in charge, as I give her food, and play exciting games with her.

      • Carmen says:

        I just got a Malinois pup and am working on house training. She is so sweet and affectionate. After reading what Judy said Im thinking I better change my behavior and be less huggy kissy with her if I want a well adjusted pet.

        • Deb says:

          I have worked with independent Northern Breeds (Alaskan Malamute) and affection is fine if the dog is acclimated to it. The main point is consistency. To have respect, you must be consistent. Alpha’s keep clear-cut consistent rules in all things. You can be loving and praising but just set the rules clearly. The dog learns cuddling/play have its time but Alpha tends to call it. Alpha also calls feed time and dogs do not get their food when it is poured in the bowl, they do a pretty sit and are rewarded with feed time (which they do quiet well when they see that they are to sit for it. This is not cruel because in packs, Alpha’s eat first and others wait. It reinforces that the Alpha will make sure your feed but you have to be respectful to get your food). So, if you can cuddle in a way that doesn’t break an Alpha’s rule (the dog doesn’t place her head over your head), the dog will acclimate to it and give such affection. You set the affection, you set the rules, you stay consistent with positive reinforcement. Just remember respect is based on consistency. Hope this helps.

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