This mid-sized dog belonging to the herding group has distinct shepherd dog characteristics. Hence Belgian Malinois dog breed is often considered the same as Belgian Shepherd Dog or as a variant of it. This no nonsense dog is used in a wide variety of occupations ranging from police and detective work to guard duty. It is a preferred breed in the canine competitive sports field and highly cherished as a family dog.
Belgian Malinois invariably excels in whatever it’s expected to do and this has earned it a position in the U.S. Secret Service as a guardian of the White House grounds.
Belgian Malinois dog breed originated from Belgium in the 19th century. Chiens de Berger Belge was the original working dog of that country used for guarding cattle and herding sheep. Their ability in executing these duties was the main focus in the development of the breed. There were a few other working dogs that were used at that time too, so the exact parentage of Belgian Malinois cannot be determined. Prof. Reul is credited with discovering a short-coated variety among this mixed group of working dogs in Malines. This dog later came to be called Belgian Malinois.
The popularity of this dog remained high in its native land, but they were not as popular in the United States. In fact, they had fallen out of favor in the period immediately following the World War II, but now they are in demand all over the world, especially in the police force.
Being a herding dog bred for its functional abilities rather than form and looks, many variations occur in this breed. However, it maintains the distinctive features of the sheepdog family like other Belgian shepherds. It has some resemblance to the German Shepherd too.
The male Malinois measure over two feet at the withers and weighs up to 75 pounds, but the females are significantly smaller in build. The body length is almost the same as its height, giving the dog a square look.
Its coat is short and its color is generally tan, with shades ranging from fawn to mahogany with black highlights about the muzzle, ears and tail. The ears stay erect and the tail is held close to the body when the dog is not in action.
The Belgian Malinois dog breed is known for its intelligence and loyalty. They always maintain an alert stance, ready to offer protection to their family as well as the property. Belgian Malinois dogs are affectionate and playful with their own family members, but they are reserved with people they don’t know. They are gentle with children and somewhat tolerant of other family pets. They have a tendency to dominate, which should be kept in check with proper training by a very confident owner.
Grooming and exercise
Belgian Malinois dogs are comparatively easy to groom. A light brushing every week should keep its coat free of dead hair.
These extremely active dogs require equally active humans as their owners. They are ideal companion dogs for those who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. They like to jog on leashes alongside their pack leader and go for long hikes. This should be complemented with high energy workouts and games in a fenced in yard.
These dogs cannot stay cooped up in an apartment. You should provide a safe outside area for them to move around at will. They can spend most of their time outdoors as long as it is not too hot or cold. Access to a shady place with plenty of water will help.
Common health issues of Belgian Malinois dog breed
Belgian Malinois are relatively free of serious health issues. A few common canine skeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are seen in these dogs too. They may occasionally develop certain eye problems such as Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Pannus and cataract. Incidence of the blood vessel cancer hemangiosarcoma may occur in this breed, but very rarely.
The life expectancy of Belgian Malinois dog breed is 10 to 12 years. Regular health checkups with special attention to eyes and the skeletal structure should keep the dog in good health.