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Belgian Malinois Dog Breed Quick Facts

Is a Belgian Malinois Right for You?

Mal Puppy Posted by Michelle

Belgian Malinois Brief History

The Belgian Malinois dog breed developed from the herding dogs of Flanders, Belgium. The ancestral Flemish Herder is thought to have been a cross between an old-fashioned coarse-haired Pointer and a short-haired or wire-haired Fox Terrier. This has given the breed the water repellent double coat which it needed as a herding dog. The harsh, wiry coat protects the Belgian Malinois from the cold and wet weather as well as brambles and thorns.

In the early 1890’s, there was a sudden interest in developing a breed of dogs to work with police officers on patrol or as guard dogs. In those days most dogs were bred for hunting and sport, but they were big dogs such as Bloodhounds and Mastiffs. Police officers preferred a lower-sized dog that was quick on its feet and had a lot of stamina so it could stay out all day with the officer. This is how they ended up with the Belgian Malinois.

The Malinois is thought to be the result of crossing a German Shepherd with a Belgian Sheepdog. They were used as guard and police dogs and became increasingly popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

The breed was standardized in 1910 and recognized by the Société Royale Saint-Hubert by 1912. It was later recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1913 with a breed standard originally written in French.


Belgian Malinois Temperament

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The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized, square build dog. He has a short, dense coat that requires regular brushing and grooming to keep it in good condition.

They can be an excellent family pet as long as they gets plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation, combined with enough guidance from his owner. These dogs need an owner who is as good as a leader as they are at being followers.

They are natural watchdogs, guarding their families and generally suspicious of outsiders. As a result, early socialization is critical to prevent them from becoming hostile.

The Belgian Malinois is less reserved around strangers than some breeds, but they should not show aggression. They also have lots of energy and love to play with children. Make sure small children are supervised when they play with a Belgian Malinois, because these dogs can be rambunctious and have a tendency to knock children over.


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Belgian Malinois Exercise and Energy Levels

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The Belgian Malinois has a lot of energy and needs to play hard every day. If he doesn’t get enough exercise, these dogs can become destructive and develop behavior problems. They need a fenced-in yard where they can run around freely at least a couple hours a day or more. If you don’t have a yard, take them out on a leash for long walks every day.

They are usually good with other pets, including dogs and cats they have grown up with in the same household. They might not be so nice to strange animals that wander into their territory.

These dogs are quick and agile, and they can be very strong. Without enough daily exercise they will become difficult to handle.


Belgian Malinois Training and Intelligence

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The Belgian Malinois is a moderately easy dog to train. They are very smart and eager to learn, but they can sometimes be stubborn and willful. These dogs need consistent training in order to obey their master’s commands. Once the Malinois has learned something, he never forgets it.

These dogs need plenty of mental exercise as well as physical exercise. Make sure you find a job for your dog to do, or he will invent his own tasks that may not be too pleasant for the rest of the family.

The Belgian Malinois is a people-oriented breed and likes to spend time with his owner. These dogs have been referred to as “velcro dogs,” meaning they can be very clingy. They love to go with their owners everywhere, and they don’t like to be left alone.


Belgian Malinois Health and Care

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The Belgian Malinois is a fairly healthy breed. Some are prone to hip dysplasia, eye disease, and epilepsy. They’re also vulnerable to bloat , a potentially fatal condition where the stomach becomes too full of food or water before it empties its contents into the intestines. This can be prevented by not letting your dog eat or drink too quickly and exercise soon after-although the exact cause is not known.

The Belgian Malinois also has a tendency to gain weight easily, so watch his food intake carefully.

They are fairly easy to groom. Brush him daily with a firm bristle brush. Bathe only when he becomes dirty or smelly, because frequent bathing can remove the natural oils from his coat. Brush his teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that can lead to gum disease. Check and clean your dog’s ears once a week and his nails once or twice a month.

Archer posted by Alyssa

4 Health Problems Seen in the Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

1. Hip Dysplasia: Among all the breeds of dogs, hip dysplasia is seen most commonly in large and giant breed dogs. It affects Belgians Malinois as well and it is believed that almost half of them will suffer from this disorder by the time they become adults. Dogs with this condition cannot move around easily and experience pain while standing or walking.  

2. Elbow Dysplasia:  Similar to hip dysplasia, this is also a genetic disorder which affects the bones of the dog. It causes stiffening, swelling and decreased flexibility in the joints especially in its front limbs. It is very painful for dogs with elbow dysplasia as it severely hampers their mobility.

3. Cataracts are a common cause of blindness among dogs. These are clouded areas in the lens which obstruct vision and may even cause total blindness. Cataracts usually occur with age, but some dog breeds are known to be predisposed to this disorder due to genetic factors. Belgian Malinois usually suffer from polar cataracts when the dog is six years old or older. Cataracts are more commonly seen in the Tervueren than the other Belgian Shepherds.

4. Epilepsy:  Epilepsy is a neurological disorder similar to seizures. In some cases, it can be controlled with the use of medication but in most cases, surgery may be needed as well. Dogs suffering from epilepsy will experience seizures which usually appear at an early age (2-5 years) and can gradually cause deterioration in the dog’s health when not treated. There are three types of seizures: primary, reactive, and secondary.

  • primary seizures or idiopathic epilepsy-no cause can be found
  • reactive seizures-metabolic nature such as reaction to poison or high blood sugar
  • secondary seizures-dues to tumors-stroke or severe trauama

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