Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois At-a-Glance

As you might have guessed, the Belgian Malinois originated in Belgium. These dogs are the ideal example of a strong working dog and are used throughout the world by law enforcement agencies, the military, and search and rescue. They are often mistaken for German Shepherds due to their similar looks, but are smaller and have shorter coats.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 60-80
Female: 40-60
Height (inches)
Male: 24-26
Female: 22-24
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Kid-Friendly
  • Low Drooling
  • Protective Nature
  • Easy to Train
  • High Energy Level
  • Tolerates Cold Climate
  • Tolerates Hot Climate
  • Good General Health
  • High Intelligence

Neutral Rated

  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Low Shedding
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Likes to Play
  • Handles Change Easily
  • Low Amount of Barking
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone

Lowest Rated

  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments

General Overview

Even though the Belgian Malinois is highly rated as a good family dog and is good with children, it is for the most part a one-person dog that forms a strong bond with its owner/handler. This is why they are so widely used in law enforcement as K-9 partners.

They are loyal and extremely protective of their families. While they are cautious of strangers, they are not overly aggressive and can be quite friendly once they know you.

From a grooming standpoint, the Belgian Malinois has a median-length coat and will do a moderate amount of shedding. On the plus side, it is a very low drooler.

This breed very much wants to be around its owner and can experience quite a bit of separation anxiety if left alone. They are not frequent barkers but can be quite vocal if alone for long periods.

The Malinois also tends to be a bit demanding if not properly trained early, which makes it only a fair choice for a first-time dog owner.

These are extremely energetic dogs that need a lot of activity to stay healthy and happy and are not a good choice for small yards and apartments.

With their athleticism and high endurance, they make great partners for distance runners and other highly active people. They have an impressive amount of strength for their size and can compete well in many different agility trials. You may have seen them on television in protection sports events, as they excel in these competitions.

Belgian Malinois dogs are wildly intelligent and one of the most easily trained breeds. They are anxious to please their owners and learn new things quickly, traits that make them the perfect breed for law enforcement and the military.

Due to their use as a working breed by many organizations, they have some of the most rigorous health testing possible. As a result, they are among the most healthy dog breeds in existence. The only negative here is they can occasionally lose some of their eyesight as they age.

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