The Belgian Malinois is a well-balanced working dog of medium size in the sheepdog family. They are also referred to as the Belgian Shepherd Dog. This dog has a strong muscular body that is almost as long as it is tall. The legs are straight and long. They have a beautiful head that is strong and well proportioned with their body. They have gorgeous dark almond shaped eyes and ears that are alert and erect. Their legs are strong and muscular without being stocky. The feet are well padded and round with the dewclaws usually removed. Their gait is a smooth moving motion almost like a fast trot, but they can cover a large area in a short amount of time. They have an appearance very similar to the German shepherd. They are a very elegant noble dog. To know this dog is to love them. Very seldom can you walk down the street with this dog without someone commenting on their beauty.
The colors of the Belgian Malinois may vary but they usually are gray or fawn with a black face and ears. They may also have black tips on the hair. They are usually lighter on the inside of the legs and the belly.
The Belgian Malinois dog got its origin in Belgium in the 1900s. This dog was loved by all because of their intelligence, friendliness and loyalty. They were bred and used as herding dogs, a trait that is still in many of them today. Through the years, they have been recognized in different categories. Their first recognition wasn't until 1901, when they are acknowledged in the Club Society Royale de St. Hubert. It wasn’t until 10 years later that the American Kennel Club acknowledged them in the miscellaneous group, instead of herder. They were then known as Belgian Sheepdogs or Belgian Shepherd dog and recorded as part of a working group in 1965. Many years later the American Kennel Club registered them as herding dogs.
The Belgian Malinois is a dog of many temperaments. In fact, it's hard to pinpoint one to describe them. They are a friendly and loving dog that makes a wonderful family pet. They get along well with children, especially if they've grown up in the same home. They are a very loyal dog, often a one-man dog, like the German shepherd. Another similarity they have with the German shepherd is their need to be socialized at a young age. If they are only with the family members all the time, they won't know how to act when they happen to see strangers. They'll be shy and timid without socialization and it's easy to socialize them at a young age then when they're older.
Although not mean or aggressive, they are excellent watchdogs for the family and the home. They also get along well with other dogs and animals, particularly if they've been raised together.
The Belgian Malinois is generally a very healthy dog. As with all dogs, some health issues may affect this dog including:
[-]Hip Dysplasia- this is a genetic disease of the hips that can cause painful arthritis and crippling lameness. Although elbow Dysplasia may also affect the Malinois, it's not as common as hip Dysplasia.[/-]
[-]Gastric Torsion or bloat[/-]
[-]Progressive Retinal Atrophy[/-]
The Belgian Malinois is a very easy to maintain dog. Because of their double coat of hair, they tend to shed all the time. Although they do their main "dropping of their coat" twice a year, they still will shed small amounts daily. They need to have their coat brush regularly so pick up loose hair and remove any dirt they may pick up while outdoors. You can bathe the dog occasionally with a gentle dog shampoo or take them to a professional groomer for a bath. They shouldn't be bathed too frequently because it will dry their skin out and remove some of their natural oils.
Cleaning the ears of the Belgian Malinois should be done once a week. They can be cleaned with a moist cotton ball and thoroughly dried with a cotton ball or towel. If there is any dark wax in the ears, this may be a sign of an ear infection. The wax should be cleaned out and the dog should be seen by a vet. If the dog continues to have ear infections, this may be a sign of a food allergy.
Because the dog spends a lot of time outdoors, their nails should be clipped to avoid them getting busted or torn while outside.
The Belgian Malinois needs a lot of exercise as do larger dogs. This dog has a lot of stamina and energy and needs the opportunity to use up the energy, preferably while they are outside. If they have a large backyard, they'll enjoy the freedom to run as they please. This shouldn't take the place of good exercise such as going for a walk or running. They should always be on a leash even when you are with them. Many states have leash laws in addition to preventing them from chasing animals.
If this dog is forced to live in an apartment, they need to be taken out each day for a long walk or run. The Belgian Malinois doesn't care if they live in a large home or a small apartment as long as they're with their owner a lot of the time. However, they need the exercise to ward off negative behavior resulting from pent-up energy.
The Belgian Malinois is a very intelligent and cooperative dog, which makes training them very easy and a lot of fun. Their training should begin at a very young age before any bad habits have set into their daily routine. Puppies are very active and love getting into mischief, even if they don't realize its mischief. Combine this with their high energy and you'll realize why their training should begin early in life.
Because of the Belgian Malinois being a loyal and sometimes one-man dog, they will take their training very serious doing everything they can to please their owner. They love the bonding they receive while they are being trained. Their training should begin with basic obedience training. They respond very well with positive reinforcement including praise and rewards.
Belgian Malinois are known to do very well in most dog sports including flyball, obedience, agility, tracking and Schutzhund. They are used as guard dogs, search and rescue and drug detection dogs. This dog has so much intelligence and desire to learn and please that it's a shame to not have them trained to be all that they can be.