The Belgian Malinois
"The Belgian Sheepdog"

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Belgian Malinois
(Belgian Sheepdog Sheepdog)
Weight: 60 — 65 lbs
Height: 22” — 26”
AKC Rank 2008 #77
Life Span: 10—12 yrs
Group: Herding
Origin: Belgium

Dog Breed Info - The Belgian Malinois

An agile Belgian Sheepdog
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Breed Overview

Origin 1800’s. Original Function: Stock herding. Today: Security, contraband detection, shutzhund, herding trials. Colors: Fawn to mahogany w/black tipped hair, mask and ears.

Belgium sheep herding breeds, collectively known as Chiens de Berger Belge, shared their early history as general purpose shepherds and guard dogs in Belgium. As working dogs, they were bred for ability instead of esthetics, with no special records kept. Thus, when dog shows became popular in the 1800’s, it wasn’t clear if Belgium had any breeds they could send to the shows that would make them stand out as a proud and competing country. In 1891, professor Reul discovered a group of Belgian shepherd dogs. A shorthaired variety was developed around Malines, and became known as the Belgian Malinois. This dog is still the most popular of the Belgium shepherd breeds but has had a difficult time in America. The Malinois was quite popular before WWII but started to slump afterward. More recently, the Malinois has become popular because of it’s police and rescue work throughout the world.


Yes, very trainable. Wants to please and enjoys learning. This breed has been trained for Police and rescue work. Best training is by use of clicker training and positive reinforcement. Dogs love this technique and it works wonders. Check it out.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Belgian Malinois puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Belgium Malinois puppies are generally pretty easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

A Malinois clears the hurdle with ease!
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This is a breed with high energy that needs to run and heard for exercise. The Belgian Malinois needs considerable mental and physical stimulation, as well as extensive obedience training starting at a very early age. It is an alert and serious dog and with exercise, is a good family house pet and protector of family and property. His high points are watch dog and guard dogging. Some dogs try to dominate. Does not take confinement well and needs an outlet for energy and some lean toward separation anxiety if left alone too long. The Belgian Malinois is a breed that must be well socialized from a very young puppy, starting around 4 weeks old. Everything depends on that and the socialization needs to continue all the way through his life.

If you happen to get a Belgian Malinois with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Okay with some dogs. Picks his dog friends. Some can be aggressive toward other dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Has been known to accept house pets, especially if raised with them. Dogs are different so there is no solid rule on this one.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No, wary of strangers. Has a guard dog instinct.


Yes. Quite playful. Chase balls, tug-O-war with a rope and so on.


Not very affectionate. The Belgium Malinois is mostly all business.

Good with children?

The Belgian Malinois can do fairly well with children but should be supervised. How the dog reacts to kids depends on how well he was socialized as a puppy and how well behaved the kids are.

Belgian Sheepdog in training
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Good with Seniors over 65?

No Needs too much exercise and not affecti0onate enough.

Living environment

House with a yard or a farm.. No apartment, as might encounter other dogs and people in close quarters on stairs or elevator coming and going to the apartment.

If possible, a secure, medium size fenced yard would be good for the Belgian Malinois to play games of fetch in for exercise.


Energy level

High energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Jogging and fast games of fetch or Frisbee are needed to exercise this dog. He’d prefer to be herding cattle.


Excellent choice for watchdog.

Guard dog

Excellent. Excels at this.




Brush weekly. More often when shedding to remove dead hair.


Belgian Malinois Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Belgian Malinois puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Belgian Malinois Breeders with puppies for sale.

Belgian Malinois Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Belgian Malinois Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Belgian Malinois Rescue If you do find a dog to adopt, see if you can locate the dog health papers. They could be useful.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but at the time of this documentation, Petfinder above is showing only 66 dogs available for the entire country. Go online and surf for Belgian Malinois Rescue groups or kennels or try Belgian Sheepdog Rescue as there may be more out there.

Dog Health Issues For Belgian Malinois
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Belgian Malinois by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a Belgian Malinois prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar as in humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Pannus—Eye Problem - A disorder of the cornea of the eye affecting certain breeds like the Belgian Malinois in the 4 to 7 year range with an increase in dogs living at higher elevations. Not painful and treatable. If not treated for the remaining life of the dog, the cornea will slowly darken and scar causing visual impairment.

  • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that shows up around two to four or five years of age.

  • Hemangiosarcoma—An incurable tumor in the blood vessels. It is a highly malignant and aggressive cancer that lines the blood vessels. In the early stages, this cancer shows no signs is painless and develops slowly. A lot of dogs die from internal bleeding before there is even a diagnosis. This is one deadly, stealthy disease.

Other health problems could occur with your Belgian Malinois. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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