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Dogs developed in Belgium for sheepherding were initially referred to as Chien de Berger Belge. In the late 1800s, one strain was developed near the Belgian town of Tervuren and was noted for being fawn colored with black tipped hairs on its back, neck and head. (See Belgian Tervuren) Another strain, an entirely black-coated dog, was bred by the owner of Chateau Groenendael and became known as the Groenendael or Belgian Sheepdog. (See Belgian Sheepdog). Both are merely color phases of the same basic stock so have similar characteristics. A third strain, Belgian Malinois, named for the area of Malines, is structurally the same as both of the above, except that it is shorthaired and has the coat color of the Tervuren. It is also structurally similar to the German Shepherd. These three strains of Belgian Shepherds were recognized in the United States by the AKC as separate breeds in 1959.
The Belgian Malinois is intelligent, courageous, and alert with unwavering devotion to their master. They are used today for herding, therapy dogs, search and rescue, obedience, among other things. They move in a single track with a lively, graceful stride covering maximum ground without effort.
The Malinois' head is long with the skull and muzzle being of equal length. His eyes are almond shaped and dark brown in color. His jaws are strong and powerful with black lip lines and a scissors bite. His ears are equilateral triangles and stand erect on the head. His tail is carried low when he is at rest but raised in a curl when he is at work. The Malinois' coat is short, straight, and abundant. The colors range from fawn to mahogany with a black masking and black ears. It is a double coat with the inner coat being dense. The outer coat is short, straight, and hard enough to be weather resistant. It is somewhat longer around the neck, on the tail and backs of the thighs. He is adaptable to extremes of climate. Malinois should be between 22 and 26 inches in height while weight is about 60 pounds.
email@example.com of Florence, AL writes:
Best dog ever for us.
My husband and I brought our Malinois from Germany. We did not know what we had gotten into and learned the hard way how headstrong these dogs are. After we went through obedience training and learned from each other, he was the best friend and protector. The breed is not for everybody who is just looking for a dog. A lot of strength (on your part) is needed (mentally and physically). Mals love to travel and spend a lot of time with the family, because they think they own each and everyone. The breed loves children, but outsiders must be introduced slowly and accepted by the dog. Mals never forget (if you are naughty or nice) and they problem-solve. My huband and I had our dog for nine years before he passed away and we both learned to love the breed. Our two-year-old daughter lost her best protector and first best friend. There is a lot to say about the breed, but we learned that it is not the dog's fault how they turn out but how they are taught or treated by us humans. Because of our Mal we became better companions to our other animals.
Name withheld by request of Bakersfield, California writes:
The breed for me!
I have been training and showing German Shepherd Dogs and Shelties for the last 23 years in obedience. I have owned Malinois for the last seven years. I switched to Mals because of the problems that I was having with bad hips and elbows on my Shepherds. I had seen Malinois at police K-9 trials, and since I love a high-energy dog for training, I decided to try one. I had never been around a Mal before and took a chance and called a breeder and wound up having a four-month-old puppy shipped to me. I must admit that when I brought her home and let her loose in my living room I asked myself, "What have I done?!" She was flying over and around my furniture at warp speed. She has turned out to be the smartest dog that I have ever owned. She is currently in training for her UD and is starting agility training also. She has had very limited training and catches on to anything I show her amazingly fast. I now have four Malinois and love everyone of them.
I would not recommend a Malinois for anyone who does not have the time to spend with their dogs as Mals are super active and need to be exercised every day. If you do not provide them with something to do they will find something to do that could be quite destructive. Toys usually do not last very long and are usually shredded in a few minutes. They make super competition dogs if you take the time to train them correctly. They can out-think the average person. They are super fast and trying to slow them down in agility can be a problem.
I love the breed and hope that if you are thinking about one that you do a lot of searching and find some good breeders to talk to. I would also highly recommend getting a puppy into a GOOD socialization class run by your local kennel club. They need to be around other people and dogs at an early age. Go see breeders and see their dogs and puppies. I recommend searching, looking at, be prepared for an active dog, but if given a good, loving home you will have fun and enjoy your Mal as much as I do. Good luck!
Name withheld by request of Wisconsin writes:
For experienced handlers.
I have been a dog handler most of my life and have owned and trained Dobermans, German Shepherds and Collies. I have also owned Belgian Malinois. Just a precautionary statement. These dogs are bred for extreme prey drive. What does that mean? They are predators. They live to prey on something. This is great for Schutzhund training. However, do not mistake this breed for an animal you leave alone with children or pets. They will attack and kill cats and other small animals and will also attack other dog breeds. They are a beautiful and functional dog. But their function is best served with an experienced handler such as a police officer. They are very hyper and too destructive for the average home. They are loyal animals and very good guard dogs. Just do not own a Belgian Malinois without a lot of experience and I strongly recommend they are not in a home with small animals or children.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Italy writes on 9/3/01:
A sport champion, and a great companion.
I have three Belgian Malinois from working lines. They look quite different from "show" Malinois, and also their temperament is different. They are medium sized, but really powerfull, very "physical", they love to play rough, they are fearless and with a great desire to please. They are one-man dogs, this mean they don't care about strangers, not that they are aggressive. They love to play, to run, to jump, and are really easy to train. I feel they are like iron and fire, as their coat is. Almost male can also be very kind, gentle, show a great attachment to their human friends. One problem with Malinois can be their fearless attitude: they would jump into hell to catch the ball, and can seriosly get hurt if you push them too far. I've rated them just 4 stars becouse it isn't always easy to live with such a dog: you need to keep always an eye on your Malinois! They are super healthy. They need to exercise not only their body, but also their mind: a great dog for competition, of any kind! My Malinois are trained for RCI3, Mondioring3, Agility and Obedience. PS, I'm a young woman!
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