Belgian Malinois Vs Dutch Shepherd Breed Comparison – Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

Which of these herding dog breeds would be a perfect companion for you? The Belgian Malinois from Malines, Belgium or the Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands? With so many dog breeds in the market, it can be quite a challenge to select who would best suit your lifestyle, home, and purpose.

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The Belgian Malinois is an elegant working double-coated dog with a rich fawn to mahogany coat with black tips on the hairs to give an overlay appearance. Its mask and ears are usually black. Hair around the neck, tail, and back of the thighs is somewhat longer but on the head, ears, and lower legs, it could be very short.

Dutch shepherds come in gold or silver brindles with some white and black markings. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists them a yellow brindle color. Like the Malinois, Dutch Shepherds have a double coat of three varying lengths, that is, the short-haired Dutch Shepherd is covered in short, hard, and closely fitted hair whose ruff, tail plume, and breeches are distinct. The long-haired ones are characterized by straight and harsh to the touch wooly undercoat whose head, ears, and feet are densely coated with short hair. And the last but not least, the rough-haired Dutch whose coat is dense, harsh, and tousled over the whole body but the head.


Male Belgian Malinois can grow 24-26 inches tall and reach a weight of between 55-75 pounds. Females are smaller weighing about 40-60 pounds and 22-24 inches tall.

Similarly, Dutch Shepherds grow to between 50-70 pounds while the males reach between 21 and 26 inches and the females 20-25 inches.

Life Span

Belgian Malinois are known to have a longevity of about 12 to 14 years while that of Dutch Shepherds ranges from 11 to 14 years. They are usually fully grown at around two years of age and mentally mature at three.

Shedding and Grooming

Belgian Malinois shed their weather-resistant and waterproof coat twice a year, more heavily in the spring and fall. They, therefore, need regular brushing, once or twice a week to remove tartar build-up and the lurk inside it. Clipping of their nails also keeps them in great condition. Belgian Malinois enjoys regular baths when dirty but they necessarily don’t require excessive grooming.

Depending on how extreme your local weather is, Dutch Shepherds will blow their coat. Blowing coat is a term describing the period you feel like your dog is literally losing all the hair in their body. These dogs are fairly famous for how much coat they shed, earning them the name Dutch Shedder. If you are a Dutch owner a vacuum cleaner and a de-lint brush are tools you keep close. even though they have three types of coats, a short coat doesn’t mean you’ll deal with less hair, only that the hair shed will be shorter rather than long. Grooming would also depend on the type of coat they have. although in general, brushing should be done at least twice a week and bathing as often as needed.


Belgian Malinois have a strong body and confident demeanor. Though not overly aggressive, They can be territorial and protective of their owners. This makes them perfect for watch and guard dogs, coupled with their alert nature. They are also sensitive and deeply devoted dogs.

In a similar manner, Dutch Shepherds are also naturally protective of their people. Though not deemed aggressive when they’re not properly socialized they easily can develop problem behaviors including aggression.


Belgian Malinois are smart and obedient dogs that require daily mental stimulation. For decades, they have been excellent in search and rescue missions, tracking, bomb, and narcotics as well as giving aid to the elderly or disabled.

According to dog experts, Dutch Shepherds score out of 5 on the scale of intelligent dog breeds. Although their ranking is unknown compared to other dogs, their obedience and discipline can be achieved with remarkable results.


Believe it or not, Belgian Malinois is the perfect breed for agility training due to its high level of intelligence and trainability. They can read even the smallest movements and detect changes in facial expressions.

Dutch shepherds have high energy outlets and stamina for long periods of agility training. They are athletic enough for agility competitions, tracking, herding, and weight-pulling.


A dog with no motivation is hard to train. Belgian Malinois have an intrinsic motivation which makes them easy to train. Training sessions should last up to 10 minutes when your Mal is young but can progress to an hour or so when the dog is grown. However, just like people have different personalities so do Mals. Some are too intense for some applications while others are flexible. You should match your Malinois to what you want to accomplish.

Dutch Shepherds are highly trainable dog breeds. Though this breed is rare in modern times, they are excellent in police and military work, search and rescue missions and can also compete in dog sports.


Belgian Malinois needs about minutes of activity three to four times a day. They are built for action and a simple leisure walk will not satisfy them. These are dogs for you to do activities with and therefore, hiking or jogging would best suit them. So if you’re not a physically active person, sorry but Belgian Malinois is just not for you.

In the same way, keeping up with your Dutch Shepherd’s daily exercise needs is essential. Unlike the Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds do well with daily long walks along with a couple of vigorous play sessions. These dogs enjoy running and should be mentally and physically stimulated failure to which they can get bored, anxious, and become destructive.

Good with family

Belgian Malinois are famous for their intensity and demand to work. For this reason, they are often employed in jobs than kept as family pets. They can also be too much for young children or pets although, if they are acquainted when young and trained properly on how to interact with children they tend to do better.

Dutch Shepherds are great with the family, especially children, and other pets. They can grow very affectionate and obedient as they are eager to please breed.

Apartment Living

Both the Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd can adapt to many living conditions including apartment living. However, they require lots of daily outdoor exercises and mental stimulation and would be happiest in homes with large, fenced yards to play and stretch their legs. Even so, they enjoy being close to their companions hence your creativity to keep them active and interested every day is necessary. These breeds are meant to be outdoor dogs and therefore kenneling them should be avoided.

Separation Anxiety

Every dog is a social being and loves company. Their loyalty and devotion come with a degree of clinginess. Dogs with separation anxiety tend to bark or howl persistently and become destructive due to their loneliness. Belgian Malinois should not be left alone for more than 4 hours. Although you should gradually train your dog to be independent of you.

Due to their temperament and loyalty to their owners, separation anxiety is an issue frequently seen in the Dutch Shepherd breed. These dogs must be given firm leadership once they set foot in a house as they are bred to work with humans and not stay alone.

Health Issues

According to the American Kennel Club, the Belgian Malinois is generally a healthy breed. Although, like other dog breeds, they are prone to certain diseases – though not all encounter serious health issues. It is recommended by the American Belgian Malinois Club that all registered Mal breeders test for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and a thorough eye exam. Epilepsy and hemangiosarcoma cancer also make the list to discuss with your breeder.

Long haired Dutch Shepherds require thyroid screening while the rough-haired ones need to be checked for Goniodysplasia, especially before breeding. Some genetic conditions associated with Shepherds include allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, pannus, masticatory myositis, and cryptorchidism. Any reputable breeder should be able to provide the health history of all dogs and if possible, introduce you to the dog’s parents and siblings
As similar as these breeds may be, it is clear that they are not meant to be couch potatoes. Therefore, before adopting or purchasing one, be sure to meet their requirements and also do a background check to avoid committing to a heartbreaking relationship and economically strenuous journey.


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