The Malinois Was Bred to Herd, Now Serves in Police Departments

Posted by Christy Caplan
Belgian Malnois

We wrote a story a few months back about a Malinois dog that found a missing child in only ten minutes! Many Malinois dogs are police dogs trained for tracking down humans and we hope every police department has a team of these police dogs helping them.

The Belgian Malinois dog breed is what most people think of when they think about 'working dogs' but this breed wears so many hats as it's technically in the herding group. It's often confused with the German shepherd dog.

The history behind the Belgian Malinois

According to experts at Dogster, the Malinois dog has a fascinating history! This breed is named for the Belgian city of Malines and the Belgian Malinois is one of the country's four standard sheepdogs.

"A favorite among Belgian sheepherders, the Malinois was carefully bred to be a resilient and dependable farm and field workers. Introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, they did not truly catch on until the1960s. Today, the Belgian Malinois is celebrated for its herding, obedience, agility, work ethic and companionship."

Do you have sheep? Then you need a Belgian Malinois!

Breed overview 

These are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. With that in mind, they really need a job! This breed is not ideal for families and small children given their intensity level so we wanted to answer that question first as it's one of the most searched questions about this breed.

As adults, they weight 50 to 80 pounds. They need to be socialized early in life as they can be aggressive with other dogs.

Talk to a reputable breeder about possible health issues as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common in this breed. Their life span is anywhere between 14 to 16 years.

What about grooming? They have a short, straight, water-resistance coat so grooming is low maintenance.

Overall care and temperament

The Belgian Malinois needs room to run and if you live in an apartment this dog is not the breed for you. They're highly energetic and need to be trained. If you neglect to get your Malinois the right training you will have a dog with behavior issues.

You may decide that if you have small children this breed isn't an appropriate choice. Since these dogs are known to have a lot of energy they should never be left alone with small kids.

Daily walks need to be accompanied by off-leash time outside in a fenced yard.

Dogster also looks at the big picture when it comes to living with a Belgian Malinois. Let's start with this. The Malinois has a great work ethic.

"The Belgian Malinois is a loyal, friendly and affectionate friend. He may have a strong working-dog background, but he craves companionship and family time above everything else. An alert and watchful companion to children, the Belgian Malinois really flourishes when given a steady dose of good-natured play, cuddling and conversation."

Also, he may herd your guests!

Other fun facts and things you should know

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  • These purebred dogs make wonderful search and rescue dogs and know how to use that nose!
  • Health problems include skin allergies, eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia. Otherwise, they're generally healthy breeds.
  • They require a high level of daily exercise as they are a high energy breed. These dogs are selected to be military dogs given their high energy level so remember that when considering this breed! They're also known for their role as guard dogs, watchdogs and are chosen to do police work! Try sports like flyball if you live with this type of breed.
  • The most famous military Malinois was 'Cairo,' a member of US Navy Seal Team Six and a key player in the assault on Osama bin Laden's compound.
  • Talk to a reputable breeder about Malinois puppies as these herding dogs need to be vetted. Reach out to the American Belgian Malinois Club as they'll guide you in the right direction.
  • Their weather-resistant double coat makes grooming them super low maintenance. They also have a dense undercoat.
  • They have a high prey drive so a house full of cats may not be a great fit.
  • What about their coloring? That short double coat comes in rich fawn to mahogany; black mask and ears.

 Dog owners will need to focus on obedience training, dog training and since their trainability is off the charts this should be a fun way to bond with your dog.

Do you live with a herding dog? Please leave a comment and let us know what you did!

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The Malinois Was Bred to Herd, Now Serves in Police Departments