A Malinois lying in the grass

Introducing the Belgian Malinois

Discover all there is to know about the Belgian Malinois: its characteristics, behavior, training, and its cost.


The Belgian Malinois, a blend of strength and intelligence

Zoom on the head of a seated Malinois

The roots of the Belgian Malinois can be traced back to Belgium, where they were initially bred for herding. Today, this breed has rapidly climbed the charts of popularity not just in the UK, but globally as well. Renowned for their unparalleled bravery and multifaceted capabilities, the Belgian Malinois shines in various roles: from assisting police and military forces to being a loyal companion at home.

Their nature, characterized by loyalty and deep affection, ensures they form strong bonds with their families. Always eager to please and socially inclined, the Belgian Malinois never misses an opportunity to express its love and dedication to its human counterparts.


This section outlines the unique features of the Belgian Malinois breed of dog.


The Malinois is part of the 1st group alongside 43 other breeds, which includes both sheepdogs and cattle dogs.


Belgian Malinois are medium to large-sized dogs. They typically measure between 22 to 26 inches at the withers and weigh between 40 to 80 pounds.

Coat Length

Belgian Malinois have a short coat that is dense and provides protection from various weather conditions.

Coat Color

The primary coat color of a Belgian Malinois is a rich fawn to mahogany, with black-tipped hairs. Their masks and ears are distinctly black, creating a prominent feature on their face.

Living Environment

Belgian Malinois thrive in environments where they have space to move and exercise. Though adaptable, they benefit from having a yard or regular access to open spaces.


Belgian Malinois are known for their alertness and protective nature. While they are affectionate with their families, early socialization is crucial for them to be well-adjusted with other animals and children.


Generally, a robust breed, the Belgian Malinois can occasionally face issues related to hip dysplasia and certain eye conditions.


Possessing a sharp and agile mind, Belgian Malinois are eager learners. However, their high energy and intelligence mean consistent, positive training methods yield the best results.

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The Belgian Malinois, a fusion of grace and strength

Belgian Malinois are medium to large-sized dogs that exude a balanced and sleek appearance. Their rich fawn to mahogany coat paired with their intense, observant eyes gives them a captivating presence.

Size and weight of the Belgian Malinois

A Malinois from behind on a leash

Standing proud and tall, female Belgian Malinois typically stand between 22 and 24 inches, while males can reach up to 26 inches.

In terms of weight, females generally weigh between 40 to 60 pounds, whereas males can range from 60 to 80 pounds.

Belgian Malinois puppies exhibit quick growth. In their initial months, they can gain up to 2 pounds a week. By the time they reach their first year, they've usually achieved most of their height, with their adult weight being reached by their second year.

The coat of the Belgian Malinois

A Malinois lying in the grass with a game in its mouth

Coat length

Belgian Malinois are characterized by their short, straight coat that sits close to their body. Unlike some breeds with lavish fringes, the Malinois' coat is streamlined, which suits their athletic build and active nature.

Coat color

The color palette of the Belgian Malinois is rather distinct. Predominantly, they flaunt a rich fawn to mahogany hue, often accompanied by black markings on their face and ears, giving them a mask-like appearance.

A Malinois lying at the edge of the water

Coat care

Caring for the coat of a Belgian Malinois isn't too challenging. Their short coat with a denser undercoat means they are adapted to various climates. They do shed, particularly during the change of seasons in spring and autumn. Regular brushing, about once a week, helps manage the shedding and keeps their coat looking its best.

While the Malinois coat is designed to fend off dirt and debris, occasional baths are necessary, especially after particularly messy adventures. Due to their active nature, they might need a bath more frequently than less active breeds, but always be mindful of their skin health and ensure not to over-bathe.

Other characteristics of the Belgian Malinois

Two Belgian Malinois puppies

Physical features

The Belgian Malinois is an epitome of balance and well-proportioned design. This breed showcases a squarely built and athletic body, exuding an aura of strength and agility. Their head is finely chiseled, complemented by a well-defined stop between the forehead and the muzzle. A captivating feature of the Malinois is their almond-shaped, medium-sized eyes that range from brown to almost black, reflecting alertness and intelligence.

Their ears, standing erect and triangular, are set high and parallel, always attentive to their surroundings. The body of the Belgian Malinois boasts of a solid and muscular build, evident especially in their strong back and well-sprung ribs.


What is the temperament of the Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois is known for its unwavering loyalty, keen protective instincts, and profound affection towards its family.

Belgian Malinois category

A Malinois running with a large branch in its mouth

The world of canines is vast with over 400 breeds, neatly organized into 10 distinctive groups. These groups classify breeds based on their shared traits and histories.

The Belgian Malinois falls under group 1, which houses herding dogs. This group is diverse and contains breeds like the German Shepherd, Border Collie, and Australian Shepherd. Dogs in this group are recognized for their exceptional herding skills, stemming from their deep-rooted instincts and unparalleled intelligence. Typically, responsive and easy to train, they possess a natural inclination to manage and protect livestock.

The Belgian Malinois stands out due to its sharp intellect, agility, and a highly developed herding instinct. Beyond herding, many Malinois are engaged in roles such as police work, search and rescue, and even as service dogs, highlighting their versatility and dedication.

Behaviour of the Belgian Malinois

A little Malinois walking at the feet of his master

Devoted protector and comrade

The Belgian Malinois is renowned for its vigilant and unwavering disposition. Their allegiance to their human companions knows no bounds. Showering them with affection and loyalty, they constantly seek mutual displays of love.

A Belgian Malinois thrives best in an environment where the owner is not just present, but actively engaged in nurturing its intellectual and physical capacities. They form deep bonds and often look to their owner for guidance, emphasizing the necessity of a committed relationship.

A Malinois doing a slalom course

Sociable, yet discerning

With their innate sense of generosity and camaraderie, Belgian Malinois exude a confident sociability. They interact harmoniously with humans, displaying an inherent friendliness, yet remaining astutely discerning.

While they are generally great companions for older children, it is crucial to ensure early socialization to cultivate their affable nature. Fostering sociability from a young age can maximize their potential as a well-rounded, adaptable, and affectionate family member.

The Belgian Malinois's living environment

A Malinois running through tall grass

A vigilant companion in varied settings

The Belgian Malinois, versatile and keen, can acclimate to an array of living circumstances. Whether it's an apartment in the bustling city or a sprawling home in the countryside, they remain resilient.

However, their unwavering loyalty and energy mean they demand consistent attention and interaction from their owner. Daily excursions are pivotal for this breed. Two substantial walks, each lasting around 45 minutes, being highly recommended to satiate their physical and mental needs.

A Malinois who is being trained

Driven by curiosity and energy

While they exhibit commendable adaptability to varied habitats, a spacious outdoor setting allows them to indulge their keen senses and expend their vast reservoirs of energy. This breed flourishes when presented with opportunities to explore, play, and engage in activities that challenge their capabilities, further highlighting the importance of a stimulating outdoor realm.

Training the Belgian Malinois

A Malinois practicing to defend by biting

Harnessing intellectual prowess

The Belgian Malinois boasts an uncanny intelligence paired with a thirst for knowledge. This combination makes them highly trainable, absorbing commands and tricks swiftly. Their training demands a balance of assertiveness, rewards, and consistency, tailored to their agile minds and spirited nature. Due to their inherent drive, they're sometimes prone to wandering or chasing stimuli. As a precaution, equipping a Belgian Malinois with a GPS collar can be invaluable, ensuring they remain within reach even if their enthusiasm leads them astray.

A Malinois practicing to defend by biting

An attentive achiever with unique traits

Remarkably attuned to their trainers, Belgian Malinois showcase impeccable listening qualities. This attentiveness has marked them as stellar candidates for roles in law enforcement, search and rescue, and even elite military operations.

While they excel in obedience, their herding instincts can sometimes make them a tad overprotective, especially around other animals or unfamiliar settings. Therefore, early and comprehensive socialization is vital to temper these tendencies.

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How to take care of the Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois is known for its robust physique and high stamina. Ensuring daily care for your Belgian Malinois is paramount in maintaining their overall well-being and in preventing potential illnesses or infections.

The health of the Belgian Malinois

A Malinois standing on a tree branch


By nature, Belgian Malinois are generally healthy and hardy dogs. However, no breed is entirely free from health concerns. They can be predisposed to certain hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia, a condition affecting the hip joint. Additionally, progressive retinal atrophy, which affects the eyes, can be of concern for some Malinois.

On a brighter note, with proper care, a Belgian Malinois can have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, testament to their overall robust health.

Portrait of a Malinois in profile

Routine care

Regular veterinary visits are crucial for the Belgian Malinois, ensuring they are up to date with vaccinations, deworming, and any necessary parasite treatments. A proactive approach to health can save on future complications.

Their ears should be checked and cleaned weekly, especially after any water activity, to stave off potential infections. Dental hygiene is also pivotal; brushing their teeth regularly can prevent tartar buildup and gum diseases. Lastly, maintaining their nails by trimming them bi-weekly ensures comfort and prevents overgrowth which can be painful.

The Belgian Malinois is not considered a hypoallergenic breed, so potential owners with allergies should be aware.

Feeding the Belgian Malinois

A Malinois running after a yellow ball

Daily requirements

Every dog breed, including the Belgian Malinois, has distinct nutritional requirements. Ensuring they receive a balanced diet is paramount to maintaining their vigor and resilience. For the energetic Belgian Malinois, a diet abundant in proteins and vital vitamins is a must. This ensures they can sustain their strength, particularly given their active nature. Top-quality kibble, specifically formulated for the breed, offers a balanced foundation for their daily dietary needs.

However, for those Malinois that are especially active or engaged in tasks like herding or agility training, the inclusion of lean red and white meats can be considered. This provides an extra boost of protein but remember to keep fat content minimal. Just as with humans, the right balance in diet plays a vital role in a Belgian Malinois's overall health and well-being.


What does a Belgian Malinois cost?

The Belgian Malinois is a revered breed famed for its agility and intelligence. As its popularity rises, so does the number of breeders. Consider multiple factors before adopting.

How to choose your Belgian Malinois

A Malinois running outdoors

Finding the right breeder

Adopting a Belgian Malinois should not be a hasty decision. Multiple aspects demand your attention. Foremost, the breeder's reputation stands paramount. Prospective owners are advised to visit the breeder in person, ensuring they gauge the environment the puppies are raised in, their demeanor, and their interaction with other dogs. Health is a primary concern; hence, assessing both the puppy and its parents' health conditions is crucial. Prospective owners should expect full transparency from the breeder about the puppy's current health and any hereditary illnesses.

Lastly, you must have your dog microchipped by the age of 8 weeks old and have their details registered on a relevant database like Petlog or Animal Tracker. Failing to adhere to this legal requirement in Great Britain could result in a £500 fine. For microchipping, consult your local veterinarian. Alternatively, any Blue Cross center offers this service free of charge.

A puppy Belgian Malinois on a blue couch

The price of a Belgian Malinois

The price of a Belgian Malinois can fluctuate considerably based on numerous variables, such as lineage, pedigree, the breeder's repute, or the dog's age. Typically, Belgian Malinois puppies range from


when purchased from a breeder.

Besides the initial acquisition cost, potential owners should be mindful of recurring expenses like veterinary care, food, and training. On average, maintaining a Belgian Malinois could result in an annual expenditure ranging from



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