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Belgian Malinois - Breed Profile

Origin: Belgium
Colors: Fawn to mahogany with a black mask and ears
Size: Large
Type of Owner: Experienced
Exercise: A lot of daily exercise needed
Grooming: Little
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Sometimes slightly dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Average barker

The Belgian Malinois is widely used for personal protection; this is police and military dog, guide dog, search-and-rescue dog. This is a breed that shows utmost loyalty to its master.

Physical characteristics

The Belgian Malinois looks like a smaller German Shepherd. It is a typical square-proportioned working dog of the sheepdog family. Strong, agile, well muscled, alert, and full of life. The whole look of this dog gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The Malinois is usually recognized by the short brownish-yellow coat and black ears. The tail is strong at the base and reaches to the hock.
Their height ranges from 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) at the withers. Their weight is 55 to 75 pounds (25 to 34 kg).


The Belgian Malinois is a keen and responsible dog. It is very smart, obedient, serious, and watchful. This breed has strong protective and territorial instincts albeit some Belgian Malinois are very shy and sensitive. Needs extensive socialization from an early age, as well as firm (but not harsh) training from an experienced owner. You should make sure your Malinois is given plenty of physical and mental work to keep its mind busy. Take your dog fog jogging on a regular basis - Malinous make perfect jogging companions. Be sure to remain a pack leader at all times.

Coat and grooming

Pure-bred Malinois colour varies from fawn to mahogany. A black mask and black ears are pretty common. It may also have some degree of black tipping on the hair that gives the dog an overlay appearance. The Belgian Malinois is a breed that sheds all year long. Grooming requirements, however, are not very high.


Malinois can suffer from cataracts, epilepsy, thyroid problems, PRA, HD, and pannus. However, these problems occur rather seldom due to extensive breeding efforts to eliminate the issues. With due care, the lifespan of the Belgian Malinois is about 9-14 years.

Other interesting facts

During the two Great World Wars, the military forces of Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and other European countries used the Belgian Malinois as border patrollers, scouts, messengers and Red Cross dogs.