The Belgian Malinois, also known as a Belgian Shepherd Dog, is a short-coated, sleek, medium-sized and square proportioned dog that gives an undisputable impression of graceful power and keen intelligence. It is a strong yet extremely agile animal that absolutely loves to go to work, whether that work is sheep-herding, sledding, schutzhund, tracking, search and rescue or police work such as odor detection of narcotics, accelerants or explosives. They also make wonderful assistants for disabled humans as well as excellent guide dogs for the blind.
The Malinois is one of four kinds of Belgian sheepherding dogs. Its short coat is straight and ranges from pale fawn shades to rich reds and deep mahogany tones, often with a black tipping on the ears or a full black mask. The Belgian Malinois resembles the German Shepherd, but it is lighter-boned, and its ear shape also differs in that the Belgian Malinois has a more triangular form to its ears. It enjoys being a protective family member who tends to run in wide circles as opposed to running in a straight line, which is due to its natural herding trait.
The Malinois is not a good choice for the first time dog owner as it is a strong-minded breed that requires a stable and experienced master.
Physical CharacteristicsThe Malinois is a deep chested dog that presents a fairly square looking shape from the side. Its topline slopes toward the withers a bit, and it features a black nose, brown almond-shaped eyes and black tight lips.
It has a short, straight and stiff coat with a dense undercoat, which insulates so that the Belgian Malinois is cold tolerant. The Malinois is also tolerates the heat well but it prefers a colder climate. Coat colors run from fawn to tan and from red to mahogany. Regardless of the coat color, the tips of its hair are frequently black as are its mask and ears. The underside of the Malinois is usually lighter in color as are the inside of its legs. It is common and acceptable in the breed to see white marks on its chest and toes.
TemperamentThe Belgian Malinois considers hard work its favorite form of play. It is an extremely high-energy and determined animal that demands an active, well-exercised lifestyle. If this breed is denied a vigorous régime, it may develop destructive behaviors. It is very bright and for this reason, easy to train as it quickly learns that success equals rewards. The breed does display a very high prey impulse and predisposition, which will require training to control.
The Malinois is very obedient if patiently trained. It tends to be shy and aloof in its nature but is non-aggressive. Early socialization with adults, children and other animals is strongly advised. This will exploit the friendly nature of the Belgian Malinois breed. This type of dog also displays both strong protective and territorial instincts, which if properly trained, can support it in becoming a superb guard dog.
The Malinois is a family oriented breed that possesses a definite need for companionship. They are also very loyal. They require a confident and firm master to direct their natural exuberance into worthwhile activities. They will rebel if treated severely or in a heavy-handed manner. This breed tends to instinctively herd other animals and people by running in circles and nipping at the heels. Handling this natural tendency of the Malinois breed requires a master who is both proficient and consistent.