Belgian Malinois FAQ
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What is a Belgian Malinois?
A Belgian Malinois is the short haired variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog. They are normally a fawn to red color, with a black mask, black ears, and maybe a black spot on the tip of their tail. They also have what is called "blackening", where the tips of the hair on their body is black. The darkness of the blackening is dependent on how much of the hair is black, how many hairs are black tipped, and the base color of the dog (a light fawn dog would show the black more than a deep red dog). Dogs are to be 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 80 pounds. Bitches are to be 22 to 24 inches and weigh 40 to 60 pounds.

What was the Malinois originally bred for?
The Malinois was originally bred as a herding dog. They have also become an ideal choice for law enforcement, personal protection, and the protection sports. Although a Malinois should be an "all purpose dog", many breeders are concentrating on one area of work in their breeding programs, so you should find a breeder who is trying to breed dogs intended for the area you are interested in.

What is a Malinois temperament like?
A well bred Malinois is intelligent, active, social dog. They have high "prey" drive (the desire to chase and catch things) and are very good at frisbee, agility, flyball, herding, Schutzhund, French Ring Sport, and other similar activities. They are sensitive to their handlers, and do not take a heavy hand. You puppies should be actively socialized to all types of people, sounds, animals, etc so they are confident and outgoing. Lack of socialization can result in a dog that is skittish.

In what way is a Malinois different than a German Shepherd?
In general, Malinois tend to be a lighter built dog. They are also a square dog, without the sloping back the GSD has. They have fewer health problems than the GSD.

What type of health issues do the Malinois have?
Malinois can suffer from CHD (canine hip dysplasia), PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) and other eye problems such as cataracts, epilepsy, and elbow dysplasia.

Are Malinois good with children?
When raised around children, many Malinois can be great with kids. Care does need to be taken that the child does not run around the dog waving their arms and making loud noises, as this type of behaviour can trigger the Malinois high prey drive.

How can I find out more about the Malinois?
The ABMC and USBDA can each send you information packets about the Malinois, and also put you in touch with your local breed club. Another good place to meet and greet Malinois is local dog shows (conformation, agility, obedience, etc) or at Schutzhund or French Ring trials.