A variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog, the Malinois is distinguished by its pointed, erect ears and black face mask. His will to work is unbreakable and he keeps even sporty keepers on their toes every day. The dogs are suitable for all forms of training and perform just as well as service dogs in competitive sports or when guarding the house and owner. You can find out more about the dog breed here:
The Appearance of the Malinois
Different breeds of native shepherd dogs were bred in different regions of Belgium in the 19th century and named after their place of origin. The FCI breed standard specifies an ideal average height of 62 cm for males and 58 cm for females. The approximate weight of the dogs is 20 to 30 kilograms. Belgian Shepherds are closely related to the Dutch Hollandse Hendershonds and resemble them in every detail except for the coat coloration. Another breed, the Schipperkes, can only be distinguished from Laekenois dogs by their size.
The varieties at a glance
- Malinois: Short-haired with a fawn coat, black mask, and black ears.
- Groenendael: Long, straight hair, solid black.
- Tervueren: Long straight hair in brown, red, or fawn.
- Laekenois: Rough, medium-length, and slightly curly coat.
- Schipperke: The “little devil” has a maximum height at the withers of 34 cm and descends from the dwarf Laekenois. It is recognized as a separate breed.
- Hollandse Hendershond: Own breed from Holland, brindle also occurs and varieties can be crossed with each other.
- Malinois are easily distinguished from German shepherds by their cloudy coat coloration. Color gradients in the fur are flowing.
Malinois from head to tail
- The straight bridge of the nose, the black mask, and the pricked ears give the dogs a jackal-like appearance. His head is narrow and slightly elongated, and the forehead is relatively flat.
- The jaw muscles are clearly visible on the flat cheeks.
Its muzzle is elongated and the snout has a wedge shape. The lips are tight and cover the large teeth.
- Black-rimmed eyelids and pronounced eyebrows are hallmarks of the dog breed. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark, similar to the German Shepherd.
- The dogs usually raise their ears, which are open to the front, vertically.
- Due to their athletic physique, the dogs are significantly faster and less than molasses or mastiffs. They are relatively high-legged and have a deep chest.
- On their strong front and hind legs, the dogs move like horses in a clean walk, trot, or gallop.
Only the tip of the tail rises over the back when excited. The tail is usually carried hanging down or parallel to the back.
The History of the Origin of the Malinois and Its Varieties
The first breeding efforts to breed the Malinois (pronounced ˈmælɪnˌwɑː or “Malinua”) existed as early as the end of the 19th century. Although the varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog may not be crossed with each other, they are not recognized as separate breeds because of their great similarity. Only a few closely related breeding males were used to breed the dogs, which is why today each variety carries its own health problems. Dutch Shepherds (Hollandse Hendershonds) resemble their Belgian counterparts in every detail, but are not divided into varieties and also have a brindle coat. Like the Schipperke, the Hollandse Hendershond developed in parallel with the four types of Belgian Shepherd Dog, and the breeds are closely related.
Interesting facts at a glance
- European Shepherd Dogs have been bred since Europe was settled.
- Until the late 19th century, fur coloration and external characteristics hardly played a role.
- Although the first clubs around the Belgian shepherd were already formed at this time, the dogs of the little people were only officially recognized as a breed at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Due to poor breeding selection, all varieties have developed specific susceptibilities to disease.
Nature and Character: The Malinois as a Full Member of the Family
The dogs are easy to train and are often used by the police, fire brigade, or public service to find missing persons or dangerous substances or to act as a protection dog. At the same time, they demand a lot of variety and meaningful tasks from their owner. Despite being so hard-working, close contact with family is most important to them. If they are well trained, they can live with children and other animals and sometimes instinctively “herd” them.
Keeping a kennel is not good for any dog
If the dogs are under-challenged or neglected, they tend to behave destructively and look for ways to get excited and work themselves out. Even if you want to use your dog as a guard or protection dog, it should not be without close contact with people. Experience reports from owners of these animals sometimes differ greatly from one another: Some describe the Belgian Shepherd Dog as problematic and unpredictable, while others praise its unconditional obedience and intelligence. Whether your dog develops into an overzealous defender or a well-balanced family dog depends mainly on the dog’s upbringing and experiences as a puppy.
Upbringing and Attitude of the Malinois
The perspicacity and willingness to learn of Malinois and Co. are clearly noticeable when they are puppies under four weeks old. Every dog brings unique character traits and shows them in the first few weeks of life. Suitable service, therapy, and family dogs can be easily assigned. Depending on the area of application of the dog, each individual should enjoy the appropriate upbringing and start training as early as possible. After about eight weeks, puppies can be handed over to the breeder – at this age, they are already ready to learn their first (simple) behavior and get to know work or play situations.