Your Pet, Our Passion.
Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois

Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois

The Malinois is a medium to large sized dog with an athletic, lean build and a short, tight coat. Sometimes mistaken for the larger, heavier boned German Shepherd Dog, the Malinois is more ‘sports car’ to the German Shepherd Dogs ‘utility vehicle’!

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Weight:  20 – 30kg 
Height:  56 – 66cm 
Colours:  Malinois are fawn, red or grey, with a black mask and black shading to the hair tips. Tails are usually darker or have a black tip, ears are mostly black
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5


To say that the Malinois is not for the faint-hearted is something of an understatement, they are not nicknamed the ‘Maligator’ for nothing. This is an affectionate, devoted but intense breed that requires an experienced owner, dedicated to training not just as a hobby, but as a lifestyle.

A well trained Malinois is capable of excelling in any sport, but they are predisposed to guard and to bite, and it would be unwise to expect anything less.

Intelligent, sharp, alert, loyal and clever, the Malinois is not a dog to under-estimate, nor to leave to entertain themselves!

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Belgium

The Malinois is one of four varieties of Belgian Shepherd dog, (the others being the Laekenois, Tervueren and Groenendael), named for the areas of Belgium they originate from.

Whilst hard working sheepdog types have been recognised in Belgium since the Middle Ages, it was in the 1890s that a professor of the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences recorded breed standards for the four types. He noted that the main differences were in coat type, and divided the breed into the four types and advised breeding them as separate breeds.

The Malinois was the first to develop a standard type and breed true to that type and remains the most popular of the four today. They were the first Belgian breed to be used as a police dog or border patrol dog, work they excelled at and indeed still do.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois

Training Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • Belgian Malinois have become very popular recently due to the many films featuring or starring members of the breed.
  • Long before that though, Malinois were true working heroes, serving in the First World War as messengers and assistants to the Red Cross, pulling ambulance carts and carts carrying firearms.
  • Today, Malinois are still very popular as military dogs, and a Belgian Malinois called Cairo was part of the Navy SEAL team who captured Osama bin Laden in 2011.
  • Belgian Malinois are used to guard the grounds of the White House.
  • The Belgian Malinois is the favoured breed of Navy Seals due to their bravery which is essential as they’re trained to leap out of airplanes and skydive with their handlers!

Found your perfect fur friend? Here's some useful tips from us:

Labrador lying next to the sofa
Finding a pet
Is this the right breed for you?
All dogs have their own unique personality, but there are some instincts and behaviours that they're born with. Try our Dog Breed Selector tool and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle.
Puppy walking next to owner on a lead
Finding a pet
7 of the Best Dog Breeds for Families and Kids
Dogs and kids can be a great match! Dogs encourage children to stay active while helping to develop the social skills of both dog and child alike. To help you ensure you find the best match, we've created this guide to the best dog breeds for families.
Dog with red collar sitting next to the owner
Finding a pet
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a purebred puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Finding the right breeder is crucial to make sure that your pup has received the best start to grow into a happy and healthy dog. Find out what to look for in a puppy breeder with this guide.
Dog with red collar
Finding a pet
Welcoming your dog home
While you're waiting for the big day you may need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort our before you welcome your new arrival.
Dog with red collar lying
It's incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organisation. It often means offering them a second chance at life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family and their forever home, but what can you expect from the process?
Dog with red collar looking out the window
Puppy advice
Everything you need to know
Getting a new puppy is incredibly exciting for all the family, but it can be quite scary for your new pup. Find out how to deal with everything from behaviour to health questions with our expert puppy advice.
Owner checking dogs collar
Finding a pet
Benefits of having a dog
It's known far and wide that dogs are man's best friend, but did you know that there's actually numerous benefits of having a dog? From helping you to get fit to meeting new people, your puppy can actually help to improve your health and social life. Keep reading to discover the benefits of dogs!