Belgian Malinois | Origin, Military Role, Appearance and Character


The Malinois evolved in the region of Malines, Belgium, where it became noted for exceptional strength and stamina.

Origin Of Belgian Malinois

Over the centuries, several types of working sheepdogs were developed in France and Belgium.

The breed was imported into the United States before World War I and shown in the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class until it was fully recognized in 1959.

Malinois have excelled as working military dogs, being used as messenger dogs, as ambulance dogs, and for other tasks.

Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois | Military Dog

General Description Of Belgian Malinois

  • Year of AKC Recognition: 1959 (registered as Belgian Sheepdog from 1911 until 1959)
  • Group: Herding
  • Size: Male(24-26 inches,60-80 pounds) female(22-24 inches, 40-60 pounds)
  • Coat: Short, hard, double coat
  • Color: Body color ranges from fawn to mahogany with black tripping, black mask, and black ears.
  • Life expectancy: 14-16 years
  • Activity Level: High. The Malinois is an agile dog that enjoys doing things with its owner, such as jogging, hiking and interactive play.
  • Grooming: The coat needs daily brushing during seasonal shedding in spring and fall. Weekly brushing will control shedding at other times.
  • Temperament: Malinois have a strong working drive. Along with regular physical activity, this highly intelligent breed thrives on mental challenges such as dog sports or advanced obedience training.


Loyal, devoted, and courageous, these dogs bond strongly to their owners and make excellent watchdogs.
However, they can become protective and territorial without ongoing socialization.

Personalities can range from aloof to bold. Malinois require confident owners who are mindful of the breed’s sensitive nature.

  • Parent club: American Belgian Malinois Club (;founded in 1978
  • Buyer’s advice from parent club: This breed is not recommended for novice owners. Owners should be prepared for the breed’s intense personality.
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Malinois require plenty of training, socialization and daily interaction with their families.

  • Rescue: American Belgian Malinois Club.

Appearance And Character

The Belgian Malinois is a sturdy, well-balanced, agile dog, ready for action. The breed is moderately heavy boned, stands squarely on its feet, and carries itself proudly.

Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois | Swimming Training

The topline is level, and the chest is deep, with a smooth, graceful curve from chest to abdomen.

The tail is long enough to reach the hock and is carried in a curve. The strong, clean-cut head; triangular, erect ears; and dark, almond-shaped eyes reveal the breeds thoughtfulness and intelligence.


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