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Belgian Malinois

BelgianMalinois

An Adventurous Herding Dog

Alert, intense, intelligent

Belgian Malinois are brave, responsive, and obedient, large dogs. These alert and protective dogs are one of the preferred breeds for law enforcement canines. This breed can be wary of strangers, and may try to chase other animals. Because they can be aggressive, socialization is important at an early age. Malinois make great companions for families, active individuals, and people with large yards. This breed requires vigorous daily exercise and plenty of space to run. Frequent mental stimulation will also help them remain calm and content.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:22-26 in. Weight:60-65 lb Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
4

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
2

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: The Belgian Malinois will do anything you ask of them in exchange for your approval. Obedience classes will train you how to use their phenomenal powers.

Grooming: They could use a thorough brushing at least every couple weeks most of the year. More when they blows their coat in the fall and spring.

Dental: Belgian Malinois generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


They were never bred to be a family pet. They are an admirably professional dog, but some people may find their always-on-duty nature a bit difficult to tolerate.

Positive Traits:

• Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

• Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat

• Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

• Brave and ready for adventure

Negative Traits:

• Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

• Sensitive by nature, a bit slow to mature

• Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly

• Strong prey drive—will chase and grab things that run, including cats and children


Whether you are considering adding a new Belgian Malinois to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Belgian Malinois will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Belgian Malinois you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Belgian Malinois could encounter:


This is the preferred dog breed for the Israel Defense Forces, US Secret Service, and Navy SEALs. Even at play, this dog is serious. They can handle any kind of highly technical support work you ask of them and will probably show you a better way to do it. Do not allow this dog to become bored! As an adult they’ll still have more energy than most puppies and will rarely miss a chance to chase a cat.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Belgian Malinois shows signs of the following:

• Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• General reluctance to run or play

• Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Small blood vessels extending onto the clear cornea

• Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Care

    Routine Care: The Belgian Malinois will do anything you ask of them in exchange for your approval. Obedience classes will train you how to use their phenomenal powers.

    Grooming: They could use a thorough brushing at least every couple weeks most of the year. More when they blows their coat in the fall and spring.

    Dental: Belgian Malinois generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    They were never bred to be a family pet. They are an admirably professional dog, but some people may find their always-on-duty nature a bit difficult to tolerate.

    Positive Traits:

    • Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

    • Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat

    • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

    • Brave and ready for adventure

    Negative Traits:

    • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

    • Sensitive by nature, a bit slow to mature

    • Can be aggressive, fearful, or snappy if not socialized properly

    • Strong prey drive—will chase and grab things that run, including cats and children


  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Belgian Malinois to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Belgian Malinois will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Belgian Malinois you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Belgian Malinois could encounter:


  • History

    This is the preferred dog breed for the Israel Defense Forces, US Secret Service, and Navy SEALs. Even at play, this dog is serious. They can handle any kind of highly technical support work you ask of them and will probably show you a better way to do it. Do not allow this dog to become bored! As an adult they’ll still have more energy than most puppies and will rarely miss a chance to chase a cat.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Belgian Malinois shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Small blood vessels extending onto the clear cornea

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

Belgian Malinois Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Belgian Malinois breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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