The Belgian Malinois is a beautiful dog breed that was recently in the news for having helped in the capture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. You may have also seen this beautiful breed’s training videos which have been circulating for a while now. Indeed, these working dogs are trained for various tasks including sniffing out narcotics and explosives, and even for helping out with military and police work.
Let us consider if the Belgian Malinois dog breed is right for you.
Facts about the Belgian Malinois
- The Belgian Malinois is a variant of the Belgian shepherd or the Belgian sheepdog. They originated in the Belgian city of Malinois, near Antwerp. Apart from the Malinois, there are other variants of the Belgian shepherd including the Groenendael, the Bouvier des Flanders, and the Tervuren. The difference lies mainly in their coat colors and hair length, temperament, and trainability. The Belgian Malinois is clearly the most popular among these Belgian shepherd varieties thanks mainly to its ideal temperament and ease of trainability. In May 1986, the Belgian government honored all Belgian Sheepdogs by issuing postage stamps with their pictures.
- During Belgium’s rule of the Congo, Belgian Malinois dogs were employed for guard work. The short-haired variety adjusted well to the heat of the region.
- Thanks to the combination of their elegant looks, physical abilities, intelligence, and faithful nature, the Belgian Malinois has secured a place in the hearts of dog fanciers around the world. Indeed, the breed has a bright future to look forward to.
- This is a mid-sized dog that does not take up too much space. Male dogs are about 24 to 26 inches in height and bitches between 22 and 24 inches. Weight – Males can get closer to 80 lb or 36 kg and females up to 65 lb or 29 kg.
- Color – A rich fawn or russet mahogany coat with black overlay is a trademark of the breed.
- The Belgian Malinois’s ever-alert personality and physical abilities make for a dog unequaled in the potential to succeed in many areas of competition, training, and hard work. They also make a companion par excellence.
- This naturally athletic breed does well in agility trials and their temperament is especially suited for search and rescue missions.
- Character is the breed’s trump card and the reliable, loving, temperament of the breed is evident in puppies as well as adults. A Malinois’s character is what sets him apart from other shepherd breeds. They are especially known for their rapid reflexes, emotionality, and hypersensitivity.
- Malinois and children form strong loving bonds as long as all child-dog interactions are supervised by adults.
- With early socialization and training, Malinois usually gets along well with other household pets. They are also friendly with other dogs and do not show dog-aggression unless provoked.
Where to find a Belgian Malinois
Always look for Belgian Malinois rescue dogs and adopt instead of purchasing. Call an animal shelter nearby to find abandoned puppies or adult dogs. If you insist upon having a brand new puppy, then you can start your search by visiting the website of the Belgian Malinois Club of America. Here you can find a list of reputed Malinois breeders nearby. Call and shortlist several breeders and, if possible, visit their kennels. Interact with the dogs, particularly with the parents of your potential puppy. Ask to see the litter once it arrives. Select a friendly, curious, and alert puppy that shows interest in you. You can get many insights into your pet’s temperament by observing the dam (mother) of the puppy. The average price of a pedigree Belgian Malinois is between $1000 and $2000.
Training your Belgian Malinois pup
Always start with house-training your puppy. Even though you have a fenced-yard, you must take your pet out on a leash instead of letting him wander about. Puppies are touch-sensitive, which means that they assess the surface where they are allowed to eliminate. You can also train him to ‘go’ upon newspapers. Remove the soiled ones right away and place fresh ones in the same spot. Leave a piece or two of soiled paper on the fresh paper so your pet eliminates in the same spot the next time around.
If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, now is the time to teach him that. Use the command ‘No!’ or ‘down’ and when your pet obeys, praise and reward him. This is an intelligent breed that learns quickly. So you should not have too much problem training your pet.
If required, enroll your pet in obedience classes near you. You must also attend these classes so that the trainer will ‘train’ you how to ‘train’ your dog. This will help you use the same commands and steps on your pet at home as well. Get all of your family members on board so that you can all use the same rules while training.
People and dogs both need their daily exercise and when you have a Belgian Malinois as a pet, he will make sure that you remain motivated to stay active. A Belgian needs at least 3 walks per day of 20 minutes each. You can also let him run around freely in a secure; fenced-area so that he can stretch his legs and sniff around. Enroll your pet in agility training classes as these dogs do very well in these activities.
The Belgian has a short, flat, double coat that sheds twice a year. It is not prone to tangles and mats but still needs weekly brushing to keep it free from ticks, fleas, and other parasites. Grooming also stimulates the natural oils which keep the coat glossy. Clean your dog’s outer ear gently about once a month. Also, keep his nails clipped. Brush your pet’s teeth daily or 2-3 times a week. This is important to prevent oral health issues.
Common health concerns in a Belgian Malinois are eye-related issues like cataracts, breathing problems, diabetes, endocrinal issues, hip dysplasia, and other joint-related problems, as well as epilepsy. Parasites like worms and ticks can also harm your pet, but these problems can be tackled with regular spot treatments and oral medications. The life span of Belgian Malinois is 12-14 years.