Dog Breed Spotlight: The Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a sleek dog breed built for work and endurance. They became popular in the U.S. in the 1990’s taking the number one spot for law enforcement away from the German Shepherd.
The Malinois is used all over the world with law enforcement and the military. They are a medium sized, square framed dog that was originally used in Europe as a sheepdog.
A well bred and trained Malinois will be very intelligent, protective and a very hard worker. Their energy level is actually the highest of any of the working dog breeds. They can make an excellent and loyal companion dog and can be very well behaved with children and the family if properly socialized at a young age.
Usually males are about 65-75 lbs. and females are usually in the 55 – 65 lbs. range. The preferred height for a male is 24-28 at the withers and for a female is 22-24. The color will vary from mahogany to even a bright reddish color and they have a black mask.
Malinois can live from 12 – 14 years of age and may be prone to suffer from hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and thyroid disease.
The Malinois has become a very highly respected dog in various dog sports such as Schutzhund where obedience, protection and using it’s nose for tracking is put to the test.
They have a very high energy level so it is not the right dog for a low activity owner. Malinois require vigorous exercise to prevent boredom. They are a strong minded dog that requires a very confident owner that has proven to be in charge at all times. Because of the fact that they were originally bred to be a herder, they may even herd the kids around the yard.
If you are looking for the ultimate working dog a Malinois would be an excellent choice. If you are unable to provide enough mental and physical activity to challenge a Malinois, a less active breed would be a better choice.