If you are looking for a purposeful watchdog who can adjust with your family, the Belgian Malinois dog breed is for you. It is one of the four Belgian Shepherd breeds besides Tervuren, Groenendael, and Laekenois.  

Here is everything you need to know about this magnificent dog breed. From their personality and appearance to their grooming and training needs, we have you covered!


Height22-26 inches
Weight40-80 lbs
Life span10-14 years
Exercise needs1 hour daily
TemperamentLoyal, Dominant, Disciplined
GroomingHigh maintenance
OriginMalines area of Belgium

Origin of the Belgium Malinois

Originally bred to be a herding dog, Belgian Malinois has gained popularity over the years among dog enthusiasts. The story goes back to the 19th century when the Belgian Malinois was recognized as a versatile breed. Not only did they herd the livestock, but they also were an adorable companion. Sooner or later, their strong work ethic got the attention of the armed forces. 

Being highly trainable and strong-willed, they have worked with police for search and rescue and played a significant part during world wars. This breed is a living example of a dog being strong-willed and affectionate. 

Appearance of the Belgian Malinois

Here are the details about the appearance and special characteristics of the Belgian Malinois dog breed:

1. Size and body

The Belgian Malinois is a medium to large-sized dog breed, about 22-26 inches tall and about 40-80 pounds. This versatile dog breed has a muscular body that can intimidate anyone. Usually, the females are smaller than the males, but males and females can defeat other dog breeds when it comes to energy levels. 

2. Coat

Unlike Groenendaels (one of its cousins), the Belgian Malinois dog breed has a short, soft coat. You can feel their muscles through the dense coat, which protects them from harsh weather conditions. One of the most striking features of this breed is their masked face.

They have a black mask that covers their mouth, nose, and cheeks- this is the identification feature of this dog. Their coat comes in shades like fawn, sable, red, beige, etc. 

3. Other features

The Belgian Malinois dog breed has unique characteristics like erect ears and sharp triangular eyes. They have a very expressive appearance that can steal anyone’s attention towards their confidence and overall persona.

a Belgian Malinois dog in the woods

Personality and Temperament

Before you adopt any dog, you must know everything about them! And, well, a dog’s personality should complement their owner’s in some way, right? So here are the temperament details and personality traits:

1. Family dogs

The Belgian Malinois is known for its affectionate nature. They are perfect family dogs that admire being around human faces. Especially if you have children in the house, you have just found yourself a guard for kids. However, because of its size and energy levels, we do not recommend leaving kids alone with them. 

2. Loyal and protective

This dog breed is not the one to turn its back on its owners. They might be too bitey but are highly loyal and protective of their owners and human families. These dogs are highly skilled in fighting off threats and being courageous. They never step away from any situation.

3. Dominant

Another personality trait of the Belgian Malinois dog breed is their dominant behavior. These dogs can pose as “bossy” around their owners until and unless they find a more dominant owner. Here, by dominant, we do not mean that you should use harsh training methods but handle and command them with conviction.

4. Territorial

These dogs are also very territorial. The Belgian Malinois dog breed can be aggressive with other pets if not appropriately trained for socialization. Training them to be at peace with other pets and dogs can be challenging. For that, you should give them early socialization training. This will help them to adjust and learn not to bite every other dog they see on the street. 

Belgian Malinois are wonderful sniff and hunt dogs. So if you can’t find your favorite pair of jeans, you have THE BEST detective at your house!

Grooming Needs of the Belgian Malinois

Being a high-maintenance dog, Belgian Malinois has several grooming requirements that should be fulfilled. Here is a guide for you:

1. Brushing

The First and foremost thing to do when grooming the Belgian Malinois is to brush their coat. You can use unique dog supplies like a soft bristle brush or a matting glove to remove the matting. We recommend that you brush their fur coat at least once a week so that it stays clean, luscious, and free of loose hair. 

2. Cleaning and bathing

Next up, you must also bathe these dogs! However, they do not have as high bathing needs as other breeds- you must bathe Belgium Malinois once in three months. You can bathe them on a “need to” basis. This means you can give them a nice warm bath if they are visibly dirty or smelly.

Apart from bathing, it would be best to keep an eye on ear wax or debris build up on their ears and paws, along with excessive eye boogers. You can clean these areas with a damp cloth so there is no build-up.

3. Dental care

Lastly, dental problems are one of dogs’ most common health concerns. Our canine friends may boast about their canines all day, but they need protection, too! Brushing your dog’s teeth daily to get rid of plaque would be best. Also, regular brushing will ensure that your dog’s teeth are healthy and cavities-free.

It would be best to brush Belgian Malinois’s teeth daily with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Besides brushing their teeth, you should avoid giving them too many sweet treats, especially human food treats!

a Belgian Malinois stares ahead grimly

Exercise and Training Needs

The Belgian Malinois dog breed that responds very well to training. They need an owner/ trainer to dominate them and give them commands; otherwise, they do not take anyone seriously. This dog breed can be a BIT moody to deal with, so they will give first-time owners a hard time.

This dog breed requires rigorous training and mental stimulation daily for 1 hour every day. Below is a guide on what you can add to their training routine:

1. Dog walking

If you love to walk, you will enjoy the company of the Belgian Malinois dog breeds, too! You must take them on daily walks for at least 20 minutes or more. It can be a nice walk around the city or a free jog in a big fenced area. It is a great way to hype and encourage your dog to prepare for the day.

During the walks, you can leash train your dog as well. We also encourage you to get help from dog walkers and professionals for effective walking sessions.

2. Agility training

If there is any dog who would LOVE agility training—it’s Belgian Malinois. Their muscular bodies and strong-willed attitude make them a perfect fit for festivities. Be it running through the tunnels or flying off the boxes, it will be a boost of energy for them. 

3. Play fetch

As these dogs also love playtime, we recommend playing interactive games like fetch. This will encourage them to run around, follow the commands, and lick your face after rewarding them. Such games during playtime can bond you emotionally with the Belgian Malinois dog breed. 

4. Obedience training

The Belgian Malinois dog breed responds exceptionally well to commands. They are loyal and obey their masters, making them an easy dog to train. However, it is only easy if and when the proper technique is used. Even though positive reinforcement and rewards encourage obedience, it should not become a trap for dogs. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Belgian Malinois is an excellent dog breed to be a family pet. However, looking at their grooming and training needs—this dog is high maintenance and may not come under the control of a first-time dog owner. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort of training them, then well—no one can come in between you adopting the Belgian Malinois dog breed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Belgian Malinois a good family dog?

The Belgian Malinois dog breed can be an excellent companion for families, but the families should be highly active, too. They need human families who can train and play with them.

Can Belgian Malinois swim?

Yes! The Belgian Malinois is an excellent swimmer dog breed. They have acquired these skills from their rich history. You can also include swimming lessons as a part of their training and agility routine. It will keep them active and encourage them to be active.

Are Belgian Malinois suitable for first-time owners?

We do not recommend the Belgian Malinois dog breed for first-time dog owners. Even though their temperament suits the newbies, their grooming and training needs can be too much to handle. This is why an experienced training lover can be the perfect fit for this dog.

Do Belgian Malinois bark a lot?

Yes. Belgian Malinois barks a lot, even for no reason sometimes. If you observe too much barking and biting, this can be a sign of a behavior problem. You can train them or hire a training professional to use appropriate techniques to reduce such unwanted behavior.

Are Belgian Malinois good with other dogs?

Yes and No. By nature, the Belgian Malinois dog breed is territorial and may not fit well with other dog breeds. But if you train them well for socialization at an early age, these dogs can learn to adapt to other pets.

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