The Belgian Malinois is one of four Belgian Sheepdogs

Leather dog harnes for Malinoies

There are four closely related breeds of Belgian Malinoies collectively referred to as ‘Chien de Berger Belge’, which were classified as independent breeds in 1891. All are herding and guard dogs, and are primarily distinguished by their appearances: the Malinois has short hair, the Laekenois (not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club) has wiry hair, the Groenendael (also known simply as the ‘Belgian Shepherd’) has long, black hair, and the Tervuren has long hair of any other color. The Malinois derives its name from the Belgian city of Mechelen, where it was developed. It is the most popular variety in Belgium, and has become the world’s most popular police dog, including use by the Israeli Defense Forces. It is increasing in popularity as a pet in America, but is most commonly used for sports and service.


The Belgian Malinois has a shoulder height of 58-64 cm (23-25 in) and weighs 18-34 kg (40-75 lbs). It has a flat skull, almond shaped eyes, a moderate stop (point at which the muzzle meets the forehead) and triangular, erect ears. Belgian Shepherds have a flat back, curved tail, and small, round ‘cat feet’. They are muscular and lithe with square-proportioned bodies.

The Belgian Malinois is one of four Belgian Sheepdogs. It is a very smart and obedient dog. Serious and watchful with strong protective and territorial instincts. Some are very shy or sensitive. This breed needs extensive socialization from an early age, and firm, but not harsh, training from an experienced master. If you are harsh or overbearing they will become uncooperative. It is instinctively protective so it should be trained and socialized very well from an early age. Breeders should socialize puppies right from birth. Good for working and competition obedience. These dogs make excellent police and guard dogs. This type of work is currently their main occupation. They do however, make excellent pets. They are ever-watchful, alert and loyal, and they thrive on loving companionship. Belgian Sheepdogs are good with children if socialized well with them. The Belgian Malinois needs to be part of the family and not locked up in a kennel. It does best given ample time, attention, training and companionship. If this breed is ignored, it will find ways to entertain itself, often at the owner's expense. The Belgian Malinois has a lot of energy and needs a job to do. Working lines can have particularly high drive. Belgian Sheepdogs tend to bond strongly with one or two people. Take care when introducing this dog with small non-canine pets. Generally this Sheepdog gets along well with children, but they can be rather dominant toward other dogs. Provided they are correctly socialized with cats and other pets, they should not present any problems. Belgian Sheepdogs may instinctively display herding behavior such as chasing and circling, moving effortlessly for hours and nipping at people's heels. Good for working and competitive obedience. This is a very demanding dog. It needs an experienced owner and can easily be difficult to control unless the owner knows how to handle him. There can be wide differences in temperament and aggressiveness. Talk to someone experienced with the breed before you buy your dog. Although Belgian Sheepdogs are often impressive, don't base your purchase solely on achievement records and appearances. Animals displaying excessive aggression or fearfulness should be avoided.

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