Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois, as its name suggests, is originally from Belgium where it was bred for herding and guarding livestock. They are dogs characterized by their protective and loyal character, as well as being intelligent and affectionate with their owners. Their coat is short, elegant in appearance and tawny or mahogany in color.

General details

Dogs of the breed are of medium size and square in appearance. The weight ranges between 27 and 36 kilograms in males, while females weigh between 18 and 27 kilograms. Males measure between 61 and 66 centimeters, and females around 60 and 61 centimeters. They are long-lived dogs, with a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years. They are not recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Breed history in brief

The Belgian Malinois originated in the city of Mechelen in Belgium in the 19th century where it was developed for herding and protection of livestock. It is one of the four Belgian Shepherd dog breeds, along with Tervuren, Groenendael and Laekenois. During the First World War they acted as messenger dogs. Over the years, intelligence and trainability have been qualities that have enabled the Belgian Malinois to perform a variety of working roles, such as search and rescue, police and military work, and assisting people with special abilities. They are also popular as family pets.

Breed characteristics

Belgian Malinois has a body structure that appears deep and solid, but without being bulky. The head is carried high, moderately long and rectilinear, with medium-sized, slightly almond-shaped, obliquely positioned eyes. The ears are small, erect and triangular. The tail is strong, curved, and is raised in movement, but without forming a hook or deflection. The coat of the Belgian Malinois is short, smooth and harsh, with dense undercoat. The length of the coat is slightly longer on the neck area (forming a ruff), on the tail and the back of the thighs. The usual coloration ranges from deep fawn to mahogany, with black tips. The lower body, tail and thighs show a lighter fawn color. It also has a black mask and black ears. It is a dog that stands out for its vigilant and at the same time sensitive attitude. They may show indifference to strangers, but they are very loyal to their owners. Intelligence is another of their qualities, along with self-confidence and high vital energy. They are excellent watchdogs, always alert, showing neither fear nor aggression. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Common health problems

The Belgian Malinois, with optimal care and attention, can enjoy a long healthy life, although it is predisposed to certain health problems. Among the most common diseases or disorders are hip or elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and retinal dysplasia.

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