Belgian Malinois is one of four varieties of Belgian Shepherd dogs. This breed was developed in Belgium in the mid- to late 1800s as both sheep herding and guardian dogs. In the early 1900s, they were used by both the Brussels police and Belgian army.
The Belgian Malinois stands between 22 and 26 inches tall and weighs between 40 and 80 pounds, with females smaller than males. The head is strong, and the eyes are almond-shaped and dark brown. The ears are pricked and large. The body is as long as the dog is tall at the shoulder, and the legs are strong. The tail is curved and reaches the hock. The coat is short and hard and is fawn to mahogany, with black tips, mask, and ears. There is a dense undercoat.
The Belgian Malinois needs twice weekly brushing for most of the year, but during spring and fall when shedding is at its worst, the coat should be brushed more often. The Malinois is a high-energy, active breed. Vigorous daily exercise is an absolute must. Jogging alongside a bicycle, plus a game of flying disc and a couple of walks, is the minimum.
This dog breed excels at canine sports and does best in a home where people are active and want to play games with her every day. The Belgian Malinois is the most driven of the four Belgian Shepherd varieties; she has an innate drive to work. Her training should begin early and continue into adulthood so that she has a focus and a job to do. She can also be very wary of strangers and quite protective, so socialisation should start early, too, and continue into adulthood.
The Belgian Malinois is too much dog for a first-time dog owner; she requires an active, experienced owner who understands what she needs. She can be a good family dog but tends to bond more closely with one person in the family. She may not be good with other dogs; she wants to be in charge. She should not be trusted with small pets; she has a strong prey drive. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia and eye and thyroid problems.