Belgian Malinois Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

Belgian Malinois is a world-class worker and shares a great bond with humans. This breed was first bred in the city of Malines in the northwestern region of Belgium. These dogs are quite useful for specific tasks. They are working dogs in the police departments. A Mal can be very helpful for the police as it can detect odors of explosives, narcotics, etc. They are also used by the police departments for rescue missions. They are proud and alert herders. They tend to be strong and well-muscled. This large and high-energy breed are thus used as working dogs for the police and military.


Belgian Malinois is also called as a “game-changer” in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and strength. It is a versatile breed and excels are a wide variety of tasks. This breed is often misunderstood with German Sheperd. Belgian Malinois are very much different from German Shepard as they are smaller and have a shorter coat. 

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Belgian Malinois have a square-shaped body with a medium to large size. They have a double coat. The topcoat is short and hard to the touch, whereas their undercoat is dense and soft. The coat is longer around their necks. Coat color can vary from mahogany to a light yellowish tan. Their face is black with large chocolate-colored eyes. Mals have black erect ears with a black muzzle. Their toes and chest have black tippings. 

They are well-muscled and have a proud carriage of their neck and chest. Their head and back are dark and the color fades away towards their belly. Some Malinois have white spots around the breastbone.


Male Belgian Malinois have a height between 24.01-25.98 inches [61-66 cm] and weight in the range of 59.96-80.02 pounds [27.2-36.3 kg]. Female Belgian Malinois have a height between 22.04-24.01 inches [56-61 cm] and weight in the range of 39.90-80.02 pounds [18.1-36.3 kg]. The Belgian Malinois has an overall body length of roughly 33.85 to 40.15 inches [86-102 cm].


BELGIAN MALINOIS LIFE SPANThe life expectancy of a Belgian Malinois can be 12-14 years. Some Belgian Malinois can also live up to 14-16 years. 


Belgian Malinois have a short-haired coat but these working dogs do shed. In fact, the Belgian breed usually sheds twice a year at the changing of the seasons. Apart from shedding season, Belgian Malinois will shed regularly throughout the year. So you can expect to find a moderate amount of hair on your clothes, furniture, and floor. Shedding their hair is a part of their natural cycle. This breed sheds a lot in fall and spring. The owner needs to brush them regularly during this period.


Malinois should be brushed once a week with a bristle brush. This removes dead skin from their coat and spreads the natural oils evenly. Grooming also includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene. Ears need to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure there is no infection. In some dogs, the hair around the ear needs to be removed for proper air circulation. However, some hair should be left as it protects against debris and dust.

The frequency of bathing depends on their lifestyle. An active dog can get more into dirt rather than an indoor one and therefore, active dogs need more baths. This breed has an extremely dense undercoat and a thick topcoat that shelters it from water and different weather conditions. Therefore, you might need to spend some extra minutes cleaning the coat and loosen the hair. 



Belgian Malinois is stubborn, active, protective, and friendly. They do not show signs of aggression or shyness in new situations. They are smart and show territorial instincts. Well-trained dogs develop active and hard-working behavior whereas under-developed dogs can show neurotic behaviors.

Malinois shows very high energy levels as compared to other dogs. They usually have puppy-like energy till the age of three however, some show this energy till the age of five. Some dogs show extremely playful and cheerful nature throughout their life. They have an obedient working nature. 



Belgian Malinois are very smart and intelligent dogs and for their high IQ. They are a perfect breed of dogs for police work. According to the intelligence of dogs by Stanley Coren, Belgian Malinois is ranked at number 16. They understand new commands after 5 to 15 repetitions. They obey their first command 85% of the time or better. 


The Belgian Malinois is known for their impressive strength. These dogs are agile and can compete in different dog agility trials. They are one of the most popular breeds used in protection sports.



This breed needs an active outdoor environment with regular exercise. It greatly benefits from being off-leash in a safe area. They need at least 20 minutes of activity 3 to 4 times a day. They are built for action and leisurely walk don’t satisfy them. Malinois makes great running, hiking, and biking companions, and they excel at agility, tracking, herding, etc. they love to exercise with their owners nearby and this is the best way to keep them healthy and happy.



This breed is highly trainable and obedient. They can detect the smallest movements and even changes in facial expressions. Positive reinforcement is the best technique to train this breed as a discipline can lead to bad behavior. They need high-intensity training to remain healthy. These dogs love to chase moving things like birds, cars, or bicycles, and therefore, early socialization is a must for them.

The length of the training sessions should be increased as the dog gets older. Socializing them can prevent them from chasing cars, children, objects, etc. Teaching them to sit, walk, and run can make them obedient and this should be done at a younger age.



Belgian Malinois are quite friendly but they do show aggressive behavior towards strangers. They can be taught to be gentle and obedient with proper training. They love to spend time with their owners and this can lead to more obedient behavior.


Belgian Malinois is a highly active breed and needs regular exercise. It will do quite alright in an apartment if sufficient exercise is provided. It is quite active indoors but its best comes out in yards. It prefers a cool climate but adapts to other temperatures easily.


Just like any other breed of dogs the Belgian Malinois prefer to be around their owners and can build up anxiety if left alone for a long time. These dogs can show different symptoms like excessive barking, howling, whining, etc. Separation anxiety can be reduced by different psychological techniques like dog puzzles.



Belgian Malinois suffer from different health issues throughout their lives. However, with proper care and attention, they live a happy and healthy life. They are prone to develop different genetic problems. Some of the health issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, pannus, and hemangiosarcoma. To identify some of these issues early, a veterinarian may recommend regular tests on the dog’s eyes, hips, and elbows. It is important to keep their ears and eyes clean to prevent any infections. Also, their nails should be trimmed regularly to maintain cleanliness.



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