The Belgian Malinois: One of the Most Intelligent Dog Breeds


Belgian Malinois is primarily bred for its usefulness as a sheepdog but is also very useful as a working dog due to its superb skills and intelligence.

Belgian Malinois, pronounced as “Ma-lin-way”, is the French word for Mechilinian which in Dutch is either ‘Mechelese hendershond’, meaning shepherd dog from Mechelen; or ‘Mechelaar’ meaning one from Mechelen.

The breed originated in a Belgian City in Malines, hence the name. Belgian Malinois is a brainchild of a group of Belgian trainers in the late 1800s to find the perfect sheepdog.

Today, the Belgian Malinois are renowned in the fields of personal security, police work, detection, and search and rescue in many different countries including the United States of America.

The breed is also known for its excellence in dog agility trials, obedience, and intelligence.

Traits and Behavior

The Belgian Malinois has a combination of the energy and stamina of a working dog, with loyalty, intelligence, and gentility; making it an ideal companion.

They are originally from a herding family making them more cheerful and active. They need a very active lifestyle as they are not the kind that sits around for long periods.

Training at an early age (8 weeks to 6 months) is necessary, especially in socialization, so that the fierce dog can become a good pet.


They also have a lot of energy together with intelligence so it is very important to have challenging activities with the dog for they will not be satisfied with repetitive activities like running around the yard and fetch.

This breed is not encouraged by people who work for long hours. They tend to be destructive if they are left unattended with nothing to do for long periods.

An owner who is dedicated to properly training the breed may find that the Belgian Malinois is quick to learn and eager to please. They like to belong in a family and they are good with kids.

Pet Care and Diseases

As a dog from a herding family and a working dog, they tend to have high energy.

They can live in many environments as long they have daily exercise to release their high energy.

They are an intelligent dog, challenging and non-repetitive activities may be required.


They are generally a healthy breed. The Belgian Malinois need less grooming but they shed. And as they get older, they might have eye problems.

They can also develop hip and elbow dysplasia, a crippling disease in their hips and elbows. These conditions are common to breeds that are categorized under the working dog.


Belgian Malnois differs from the Groenendael in both length and color, the Malinois variety is beautiful in its rite.  The Groenendael name is all Belgian Sheepdogs with long coats, of any variant in color, and the short-coated Belgian Sheepdog would be known as the Malinois.

Malinois is known not only for its short, smooth coat but also for its interesting color.  Their colors may range from fawn to reddish to mahogany and usually has an overlay appearance. Its coat has a unique characteristic and that often looks double-pigmented.

This means that the lighter colored coat will have blackening on the tips. 

And as the dog ages, the darkening of its coat may become more evident The Belgian Malinois has black pointed ears and a dark muzzle.


Under its muzzle is a set of strong scissor-like sharp teeth that is good in their current various occupations.

General Information

This breed has an estimated lifespan of 12-14 years. Average litter size is about 6-10 puppies. The breed is also known as Mechelaar, Mechelse Scheper, Chien de Berger Belge, Malinois, Mechelse Herder, Mechelse Scheper, and Pastor Belga Malinois.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Belgian Malinois. Click this link:

Featured Video

Watch this video: Dogs 101 – Belgian Malinois”

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