Belgian Malinois Dog Breed

Country of Origin: Belgium 
Height: Males 23–26.5 inches; females 21–24.5 inches 
Weight: Males 55–66 pounds; females 44–55 pounds 
Coat: Short, straight, dense  
Colors: Rich fawn to mahogany; black mask; may have white markings 
Registries (With Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding) 

Origin and History 

The hardworking shepherds' dogs from Belgium have been widely admired since the Middle Ages. In those days, the type greatly varied, and breeding was based on herding ability.  

It wasn't until 1891 that Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian School of Veterinary Science cataloged and established standards for the various types of Belgian Sheepdogs (also known as the Belgian Shepherd). He found them remarkably similar in type, but they differed in color, length, and coat texture. Reul divided the dogs into four varieties that exist today: the Laekenois, the Tervuren, the Sheepdog (also known as the Groenendael), and finally, the Malinois. 

Originally bred primarily near the city of Malines in Belgium, the Belgian Malinois is the short-coated Belgian Shepherd variety. These dogs were exceptional sheepherders and praised for their work ethic. The military recognized the Malinois' abilities—particularly their tenacity and trainability—and the breed continues to be a popular police dog breed today! 

Personality Traits and Care 


The Belgian Malinois is smart, self-assured, and energetic. Loyal and protective, this breed likes to spend as much time as possible with family. As they were bred to be efficient herders, these canines thrive on hard work and adventures. They like to have a job and require regular engagement throughout the day—you won't catch them being a couch potato.   

Exercise and Activity Needs 

The Malinois needs to be actively engaged with their pet parents, both mentally and physically. Exercise is necessary for the breed's happiness, especially when the family is involved in fun activities. They make excellent running, hiking, and biking companions, and the breed thrives in the competitive sphere.   

Do Belgian Malinois Shed? 

Even with their short-haired coat, you may be wondering, "do Belgian Malinois shed?" While they have a weather-resistant outercoat and woolly undercoat, shedding is kept to a minimum. They shed their undercoat only twice a year, but with regular brushing and bathing, the fur is fairly easy to maintain.  

Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherd 

The Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd are commonly mixed up. While they were both bred for herding and are actively utilized in military and police work, there are a few key differences when comparing the Belgian Malinois vs. the German Shepherd.  

German Shepherds are approximately 10 percent larger than Malinois, with longer coats and more frequent shedding. Plus, the Malinois is a bit more active and energized; this breed won't be found sleeping the day away! The German Shepherd, on the other hand, enjoys a nap every now and then and are often considered one of the wisest breeds.  

How Long Do Belgian Malinois Live? 

Belgian Malinois live 10 to 14 years on average. 

Explore Other Dog Breeds  

There is so much to learn about the nearly 200 dog breeds in existence!  Check out our types of dog breeds guide for a quick and comprehensive overview, or browse our library of A-Z breed pages to learn about a specific breed.  


Instagram Facebook X TikTok YouTube LinkedIn