The Belgian Malinois is intelligent, alert, attentive, watchful, serious and obedient. The female Belgian Malinois tends to be more outgoing than the male. These dogs appear wary, but are not timid or aggressive. The Belgian Malinois responds best to calm training and handling. This breed generally gets along with children but are likely to be dominant towards other dogs. The Belgian Malinois performs best as a sheepdog or watch/guard dog, but can also make a good family pet if well socialized from an early age.
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The Belgian Malinois only needs periodic grooming to remove the dead hairs during moulting. A firm bristle brush should be used and the Belgian Malinois should only be washed when necessary as bathing reduces the water-proofing of the coat.
The Belgian Malinois needs plenty of exercise and most of these dogs love retrieving and playing with a ball. If they have adequate exercise then they will be calm when indoors. The Belgian Malinois makes an excellent guard or defence dog.
The Belgian Malinois was formally recognized as the Belgian Shepherd Dog until 1891. Belgian Sheepdogs were already established as an important part of farm life in the 1700s, in Belgium. In the 1800s a group of breeders in conjunction with a veterinary school in the Brussels area, studied the variations found in these local sheepherders. This resulted in the division of the breed into four varieties – the classification being dependent on their color and coat. The four varieties are named after their area of origin: Groenendael, Tervuren, Laekenois and Malinois. The breed standards are identical except for coat color, texture and length.
General Appearance: Strong, well-proportioned and hardy.
Color: Red, fawn and grey with black overlap.
Coat: Short, straight, hard and weather resistant with a dense undercoat. The hair should be short on the head, ears, and lower legs and somewhat longer around the neck, on the tail and on the backs of the thighs.
Tail: Carried raised with a curve when in action.
Ears: Triangular, erect, and in proportion to the head.
Body: The body is powerful with a deep chest and level topline. The loin is short, broad and strong and blends smoothly into the back. The abdomen is moderately developed and is not tucked up.
- The Belgian Malinois is one of the varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog. Classifying the Belgian Shepherds is extremely difficult as national kennel clubs have different ways of naming them. There are four different types of sheepdog in Belgium that are recognized nationally and in many countries all these varieties are classified as a single breed. The varieties include the Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois and the Tervuren. In the US the Groenendael is the Belgian Shepherd, with the Malinois and Tervuren recognized separately and the Laekenois is not recognized at all.
- Malinois is pronounced as "mal-in-wah".
- Of the four varieties of the Belgian Sheepdogs the Belgian Malinois is the least popular after the Laekenois.
- The Belgian Groenendael and Tervuren are most often used as companion dogs while the Laekenois and Malinois are used as guard dogs.