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Belgian Shepherd Malinois

Belgian Shepherd MalinoisDo you have a Belgian Shepherd Malinois mix?

Your dog is likely an extremely hard worker, with energy to spare and a high prey drive.

The Belgian Shepherd dog Malinois is a bit more compact in size than the German Shepherd. Their bodies are more square than long.

Distinguishing features of the Malinois are their fawn color, black snout and black tipped ears.

Not recommended for inexperienced owners, the Belgian Malinois is primarily bred as a working dog for:

Malin-what? Malinois is pronounced "mal-in-WAH"
  • detection
  • personal protection
  • police work
  • search and rescue
  • sport work

The United States Secret Services uses the Belgian Shepherd Malinois exclusively.

Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois Mix

This demanding breed needs ongoing supervision as they simply refuse to be ignored. As I'm writing this, I am watching my Malinois mix randomly choose "toys" from the recycle bin and stashing them in the yard.

Training a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix

Due to their intelligence, the Malinois Shepherd mix will pick up on things quickly. A firm, but gentle hand is needed as hard or heavy-handed training can lead to uncooperativeness.

Challenges in training the Malinois Shepherd mix are as follows:

  • You must find a balance using a light but firm hand. They are highly sensitive to criticism. But due to their dominant tendencies, you should always project firmness and leadership.

  • Their reactions and reflexes are lightning quick. So you need to be immediate with your timing in giving commands, corrections, praise and signals.

  • The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix is very good at reading not only your body language, but your facial expressions as well. They will constantly anticipate what you are going to do next. But, you must always stay one step ahead.

Like the GSD, the Malinois requires extensive socialization. They are instinctively protective and highly observant with strangers. You want them to initially be aloof and reserved, but not oversuspicious. Herding behavior (chasing, circling and nipping at heels) will also need to be nipped in the bud.

Belgian Shepherd Malinois RunningHerding dogs breeds are happiest when they have a job. Rote and repetitive training will quickly bore the Belgian Shepherd Malinois. While some breeds are content to endlessly fetch a ball, the Malinois needs a purpose beyond simple and undemanding repetition.

I know this from experience. After the third time of retrieving a tennis ball, Ryder got bored and actually walked away.

This trait can be nurtured with proper training. They excel as service dogs, and thrive in conditions where their skills are considered necessary.

Belgian Shepherd Malinois

The Malinois was named after the Belgian city of Malines. Belgian shepherds come in four varieties:

  1. Groenendael (longhaired black)
    Tend to have a less dominant temperament and lower working drive.

  2. Laekenois (roughhaired fawn)
    A dominant dog, the Laekenois needs a confident owner. They tend to perform well in Schutzhund / protection dog sports.

  3. Malinois (shorthaired fawn/mahogany)
    Highest energy level of the four, they are driven with a strong prey drive. Similar to working line border collies, Malinois bred from strict working lines were not intended to be family pets.

  4. Tervuren (longhaired fawn/mahogany)
    Noted for their ability in advanced agility and obedience, Tervurens can range from high energy to a more relaxed temperament.

The AKC has recognized all as separate breeds since 1959, except for the Lakenois.

A light but constant shedder, they will blow their coats twice a year. These dogs need infrequent baths - only as necessary, as it may disturb the natural waterproofing of their coat.

Belgian Shepherd Malinois MixThe German Shepherd Malinois mix, with its high prey drive, will chase anything that moves. Don't introduce small animals without great care and supervision.

My GSD was a puppy when we got her, so she is very friendly with the cats that were here before her. Ryder, not so much. He is not allowed near the cats, since he has shown an aggressive curiosity towards them.

The Malinois ranges in size from 24-26 in and 65-75 lbs for males and 22-24 in and 25-30 kg for females.

These dogs are good looking, intelligent and loyal. But they are not well suited for first time owners. They can become destructive when bored, or without an outlet for their high energy. The Belgian Shepherd Malinois requires extensive socialization and training with a careful and experienced hand.