The Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois can be the most wonderful dog, but it truly is not a dog for everyone.

A Malinois should never be acquired as a pure pet, in the same sense that you could keep for instance a Labrador as a pet. Yes Malinois make wonderful pets, but they cannot ever be ONLY a pet. This is a dog that needs to be kept active, and it needs a lot of training and above all a LOT of socialisation whilst a young pup. I would not recommend this dog for a novice dog owner, it is best suited for those that already have experience of training active dogs. The ideal home for a Malinois is with somebody who has a lot of interest in training dogs, and ideally want to take part in any form of work with their dog, such as agility, obedience, flyball, working trials, etc. I would say this is a must for anyone considering a working line Malinois. A show bred Malinois can still work, but will not be quite as over the top (hence the police and MOD these days prefer working lines, even though the original Malinois police and army dogs in the UK were all from show lines), and a show bred dog you can keep as a pet -as long as it is kept active. Plenty of training and walks, and really all Malinois should attend some form of training class, at least when young ( from 10 weeks to 2 years minimum). Even if you are experienced in training dogs, the socialisation with other dogs and people is vital.

If you are not prepared for all the work that a Malinois entails, then both you and your dog will end up being unhappy. A bored Malinois is a very destructive dog, noisy as well, and an under socialised Malinois will end up with both fear and aggression issues.


A few important points to consider:

* The Malinois needs an experienced owner who has plenty of time for training and exercise

* A Malinois puppy needs to be socialised a LOT in all sorts of different situations (see separate article) or you WILL end up with a dog with serious issues.

* The Malinois is not happy being left on its own for long periods of time -they love to be with their people. If you work full time, this is probably not the dog for you, unless you can make suitable arrangements. You can kennel a Malinois but it WILL bark a fair bit and so if you have neighbours, this can be a problem. And if kept kennelled all day, you need to spend as much time as only possible with the dog before and after work, exercising and training.

* The Malinois is usually very destructive as a youngster (up until the age of around 2 years), and if bored will chew everything in sight. They can tear furniture to pieces, and pups love nothing more than emptying water bowls all over the floor. They are extremely intelligent and will easily learn to open doors, cupboards and even your fridge. A bored Malinois is not a dog to simply shut in a crate to stop it from chewing, it is a dog you need to spend time with to stop it from being bored.

* The Malinos typically does bark a lot, as they are a guarding breed. The dog needs to be trained not to bark at all times.

* The Malinois does guard, and certainly won't accept just anyone into your home, not unless you are there to tell the dog the visitor IS welcome. This can of course be either good or bad, depending on how you see it!

* The Malinois is an extremely loyal dog who would do anything for their owners once you have earned their trust. They will typically attach themselves to one person the most, but will be equally loving to everyone within the immediate family. Despite their size, they are the type of dog that loves nothing more than sitting on your lap for a cuddle.

* You can train a Malinois to do almost anything, but you have to convince the dog it is a good idea to do what you are asking of them -a Malinois will question everything and will typically work for what is in it for him. Food, toys etc -you cannot force a Malinois to do anything. Once he has learnt something however, he will never forget. And that goes for both good AND bad habits!

* The Malinos might be a bit smaller than a German Shepherd, but it is VERY fast and VERY strong!

* The Malinois is typically a healthy variety with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. Some have even lived to be 18. They often don't start to slow down or show signs of aging (other than greying of the face) until 11 or 12 years of age. An 8 year old Malinois is still in its prime.

* The Malinois is short coated but will moult twice a year. If you have never experienced a Malinois moult before, you will not believe the amount of fur that will come off them. You will be able to fill several carrier bags of fur.

* The Malinois is a prey driven dog, and as such may not always get on with smaller animals such as cats. Often it is possible to teach a Malinois to get along with cats IF they have lived alongside cats since they were young puppies. If it has not had cats or other small animals around since a very young age, do NOT trust a Malinois with smaller animals. They will kill smaller animals. You also have to be careful with farm animals, as there are many a Malinois that has chased and killed sheep -plus of course chickens.

Have a look at the photos below!

4 month old Malinois pup got bored when she was home alone

Second couch got chewed as well
I decided to do some baking. Cupboard doors were easy to open.

Who, me? I'm innocent!
Lap dog

Vinyl flooring, no match for a Malinois. Neither was the wooden table.

Malinois can jump high!

Look, I managed to remove parts of the couch!

I chewed the walls

Why should we not be on the windowsill? There might be burglars about! Or birds.

Emptied the water bowls and washed the bedding

The counter top makes a good bed