Belgian Malinois – Introducing an Excellent Working Dog

Hi Dog Folks!

Belgian_Malinois_portraitWhen it comes to the Belgian Shepherd dogs, people mostly think to the Tervueren only. Yet, that name is actually an umbrella term, since it covers four different versions. The short-haired Belgian Malinois is a member of this foursome team. The other tree versions are: the lush mane Tervueren, the midnight-black Groenendael and the curly-haired Lakenois. Today, we take a closer look at the Malinois version such as; history and appearance. Let’s start.

Developing History of the Belgian Malinois

As you would guess, the breed got its name after the town Mechelen (popularly says: Malines). This town is located between Brussel and Antwerp, in Belgium. It’s a clever, intelligent, and proud fellow in the Herding Group, having a background dates back to the early 1800s.

At that time in Belgium, there were a large number of similar-looking herding dogs, but people did not breed them consciously. These dogs have similar properties, but were mediocre, wild and sometimes aggressive canines.

People called the Belgian Sheepdog herding types lived then as Chiens de Berger Belge. Those were put to use as all-function service canines, primarily to protect livestock. Of course, people bred those dogs for working ability; appearance was negligible aspect.

Naming Complications

Meanwhile – because of existing various kinds of Belgian working dogs then – it was difficult to differentiate them within the group. It follows from that in-coordination, that a team of the Cureghem Veterinary Institute came on the scene.

They classified those canines into one class, which are most fit to the sheepdog category. Then, starting from this first sorting, and after a series of carefully crossing, they determined the Belgian Shepherd’s properties.

Professor Adolphe Reul researched those native canines in 1891 and announced the result. It showed that the particular, short-coated version is originated from Malines. These animals turned called as Belgian Malinois (pronunciation: Ma-Lin-Wah) and recognized as a breed.

In the Early 20th Century

In the early 1900s, the Groenendael and Malinois were the preferred types to export to different countries. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Netherlands, Switzerland and USA were the main importers.

The First World War brought new tasks for Belgian Shepherd dogs in military applications. Armies used them as Red Cross canines, messenger dogs, cart dogs for ambulance and machine-gun.

Belgian_Malinois_puppy

After WW I, the AKC registrations of Belgian Shepherd dogs grew significantly. Namely, the soldiers returning home from Europe brought Malinois as well as other types along with them.

1924 was the year of shaping the primary Belgian Sheepdog Club of America. And, the American Kennel Club accepted that as their member shortly afterwards. This has led to that the Malinois and Groenendael became fifth in the popularity list by 1924.

Around the Great Depression

Throughout the Great Depression, the canine breeding was a privilege the majority lacked. Due to that, their popularity reduced dramatically. Even the primary Belgian Sheepdog Club of America discontinued its operations.

So, the American Kennel Club registered only a few Malinois – due to dripped import – in the nineteen thirties. And, on the dog shows held in the 1930s & ’40s, they appeared in the Miscellaneous Class only.

However, this downward trend began to break in 1949. Namely, the second Belgian Sheepdog Club of America came into live. Moreover, several people also started to breed Malinois, followed the Netherlair kennel based John Cowley’s import.

The Malinois Breed Today

The AKC officially acknowledged the Belgian Malinois in 1959. So, increasing number of individuals dealt with breeding and exhibiting Malinois by the nineteen sixties. Consequently, the breed obtained the parent club status of AKC in 1992.

Since then, this breed has obtained plenty of interest in the job they perform. Just name a few: drug detection tasks, military, police and search and rescue operations worldwide.

Did you know that at present, the breed is ranked 59th on the popularity list of the AKC from ca. 160 breeds?

Appearance

The Malinois stands in a state of readiness to protect and defend its family members and territory always. They have a square proportioned, harmonic physique to meet that task. You can see a muscular; however, stylish dog, showing slender energy.


The Belgian Malinois is equipped with sturdy forequarters and straight front legs. Their fore feet are round-shaped, well-padded; the black nails are strong. You also can observe their muscular thighs on the back legs which have similar feet than in front.

Their ears held erect and are triangular-shaped, proportional with the head. The muzzle is somewhat pointed, it features a black nose and supplemented by robust jaws. The teeth are closing scissor or level bite.

The sharply-outlined head has almond-shaped, brown-colored eyes. You may discover their alert, curious and intelligent facial expression as well. The Malinois holds its head proudly on the rounded neck, it also tapers properly to their body.

Gait and Coat

Their tail is powerful, and usually held vertical with a curve while the dog is moving. Apropos, the movement is also part of any dog’s appearance. Their gait may describe most appropriately as free, straightforward and smooth.

Their short coat contains two layers; the outer is straight and water resistant. The under-layer is tick. On the head, the outside part of ears and lower part of limbs the hair is very short.

Across the neck, behind the thighs, plus on the tail, the hair is longer. On the top of the thighs, the coat is lightly flagged. The coat is slightly longer on the neck portion and the tail.

The Belgian Malinois is reddish brown (from fawn to mahogany) in color and wears a black mask on his head.

Dimensions

Males are 24 to 26 inches (62 – 66 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 80 pounds (27 – 36 kilograms). Females are 22 to 24 inches high (56 – 62 centimeters) and weigh 40 to 60 pounds (18 – 27 kilograms).

Care

The short fur of the Belgian Shepherd of Mechelen requires little care, if you don’t take it into show ring. You’ll bathe it when necessary.

And you only brush it with a solid bristle brush weekly, to remove dead hair. Please, remember, the Malinois is a molting type dog, s/he shed more heavily in fall and spring.

It’s recommended to keep the nails short, so, if it not wore down naturally, then you should trim them. That’s beneficial partly for the health of the legs of your canine, on the other hand, your clothing remains free from scratching.

Trimming time has arrived when you hear the nails of your Belgian Malinois clicking on the flooring.

Temperament, training, upkeep and health aspects are coming next time,

Alex Sparrow

* Sources: dog shows, breeders, experience, forums, owners.

Alex Sparrow

Alex Sparrow

Alex Sparrow is a nature enthusiastic for more than six decades. He was writing nearly 400 articles, reports so far about how to live with your dogs harmoniously.
Alex Sparrow