Belgian Malinois | Dog Breed Guide

Belgian Malinois | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

This working dog is a famous protector, even guarding The White House right alongside the Secret Service. 

Weight – Female: 40-60 pounds; Male: 60-80 pounds

Height – Female: 22-24 inches; Male: 24-26 inches

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Group: Herding group

Temperament: clever, energetic 

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

Though very popular in the military, the Belgian Malinois is also a devoted family dog who needs a job for ultimate happiness. These smart herders are bonded to people and need strong leadership from an experienced dog handler. These dogs were bred in Belgium to care for livestock, and they guarded their farms and pastures for generations. 

The Belgian Malinois has a minor appearance similarity to the German Shepherd, but is slightly smaller, stockier, and has a concentration of chocolate/black fur on their faces with a sandier coat overall. Mals have short, thick double coats that allow them to work in hot and cold temperatures. 

Famous Malinois have aided the US Military in serious operations, and they’re memorialized as devoted soldiers. They are intelligent but require a distinct dedication to training to avoid steering into misbehavior or boredom. They’re often selected for police and military work due to their size as they are big enough to be adversarial to a human but small enough to be carried by their owners.

Malinois dogs are helping to stop poaching in South Africa, aiding officials in national parks to track Rhino and Elephant poachers over vast nature reserves. This ability to find scents makes them a desired breed for involved owners who love training as a hobby. They also perform well in agility contests.


Malinois require regular brushing and bathing to keep their fur and skin in healthy condition. This breed sheds year-round and more so in the spring and fall. With so much running, properly trimmed nails and clean ears are important areas to regularly groom. 

Energy Level

Belgian Malinois require a dedicated pet parent who can devote time for daily play and activities to keep their dog from misbehavior and anxiety. Running, fetch, and interactive food games can engage their skills. 

Health Concerns

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Elbow Dysplasia

When buying a Malinois puppy, be sure to find a good breeder who has gotten health clearances for both of the puppy’s parents. All working dogs need regular care to keep them healthy and happy. Be sure to pay attention to joints as Malinois age, their endurance can put stress on elbows and hips.