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Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)

(Malinois) (Chien de Berger Belge) (Belgian Shepherd Malinois) (Mechelse Shepherd)

Origin

The Belgian Malinois was named after the Belgian city of Malines. While the Belgian Malinois is still rare in England, it is popular in Belgium, it's country of origin. It is one of the four varieties of the Belgian Sheepdogs which all share a common foundation. In most countries and breed clubs all four dogs are considered the same breed with different varieties in coat types.

All four dogs share a breed standard in all countries accept for the American KC who since 1959 recognizes them as separate breeds. Versatile and highly intelligent, the Belgian Sheepdog excels at a variety of talents, including but not limited to police work such as, drug and bomb detection, protection, search and rescue, also obedience, agility, tracking, herding, sled and cart pulling and as a guide for the blind and assistant to the disabled.

These high energy, extremely intelligent dogs need leadership, to be challenged, and well exercised daily and therefore are not for everyone, but can make an excellent family companion with the right owners. The Belgian Malinois was the first of the four sheepdogs to establish type. Until the other four were established in type they were called "Berger Belge a poil court autre que Malinois", which meant "Belgian short-coated Sheepdog who is not the Malinois." Today all four sheepdogs are popular in Belgian. Today the Laekenois and Malinois more often used as working type dogs, than the Belgian Groenendael and Tervuren but all types still make excellent workers.

Description

The Belgian Malinois have a body that is often described as square, as that is the shape they have in appearance when the legs and topline are viewed from the side. The chest is deep. The top line is level sloping slightly at the withers. The overall size of the head is in proportion to the body. The skull is flat with the width and length being of the same distance. The muzzle is somewhat pointed and equal in length to the top of the skull with a moderate stop. The nose is black and so are the tight lips. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The medium sized, almond-shaped eyes are brown. The erect ears are triangle in shape.

The tail is strong at the base with the bone reaching to the hock. The feet are cat-like in shape. Dewclaws may be removed. The weather resistant, double-coat is short and straight. The coat color comes in rich fawn to red to mahogany to black, with black tips on the hairs. The mask and ears are black. Underneath the body, the tail and back end are a lighter fawn. The hair around the neck looks like a collar as it is slightly longer.

Temperament

Belgian Malinois is one of four Belgian Sheepdogs. A very bright and obedient dog, they are determined and observant with strong protective and territorial instincts. They need to be introduced to other dogs to prevent them from becoming shy or sensitive. The Belgian Malinois needs an experienced master who is firm, but not heavy handed. If you are harsh or overbearing they will become uncooperative. Owners need to be the pack leader and demonstrate that they are the alpha in the pack. Clear boundaries must be set and made clear. This breed is instinctively protective so it should be trained and socialized very well from an early age.

Puppies should be socializing right from birth. Good for working and competition obedience. These dogs make excellent police and watch dogs as they guard their territory. This type of work is currently their main occupation. They do however make excellent pets if they have owners who can challenge their minds with an air of leadership. They are ever watchful, alert and loyal.

Belgian Malinois are good with children if socialized well with them. This breed needs to be part of the family and not locked up in a kennel. They need leadership, plenty of stimulation and exercise along with training and companionship, for without it they may develop behavioural problems and be hard to handle. The Belgian Malinois is high energy, with a high mental capacity, and is quick to comprehend. They need a job to do, especially if you are dealing with working lines. Take care when introducing this dog to other pets and animals.

They can be rather dominant toward other dogs and need an owner who can communicate to the dog that dominance is an unwanted behaviour. Provided they are correctly socialized with cats and other pets, they should not present any problems. Belgian Malinois may instinctively start to try and herd such as chasing and circling, moving effortlessly for hours and nipping at people's heels.

They must be taught not to do this to people. This is a very demanding dog. It needs an experienced owner for it can easily be difficult to control unless the owner knows how to handle him. The way the owner handles the dog can produce wide differences in temperament and whether or not the dog is aggressive or not. Talk to someone experienced with the breed before you buy your dog. These dogs are often impressive; don't base your purchase solely on achievement records and appearances. Only adopt this type of dog if you fully understand what it means to be pack leade

Height, Weight

Height: Dogs 61-66 cm. Bitches 56-61 cm
Weight: 24-29 kg.

Health Problems

This hardy, healthy breed has no major health concerns. Some minor concerns that have been seen are skin allergies, eye problems, excessive shyness, excessive aggressiveness and occasionally seen hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.

Living Conditions

The Belgian Malinois will do okay in smaller dwellings if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized garden. This breed prefers cool climates, but adapts well to others. It can live outdoors but would much rather be with people.

Exercise

This is a working dog that is accustomed to an active outdoor life. As such it needs a lot of exercise, including at least two walks a day including plenty of running out in the open. In addition, they will greatly benefit being off the leash as much as possible in a safe area.

Life Expectancy

About 12-14 years

Litter Size
Average 6 - 10 puppies

Grooming

The smooth, short-haired coat of the Malinois is easy to groom. Brush regularly with a firm bristle brush and bathe only if it is absolutely necessary, as bathing removes the waterproofing of the coat. This breed is a light constant shedder, but sheds heavily twice a year.

Group

Working

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