Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: Belgium
Average Size: 55-65 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 25-35 kg
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: High


The Belgian Shepherd is a large breed of dog originating in Belgium. There are four types of Belgian Shepherds, one of which is the Malinois. The Malinois was the first to establish a type and it was bred specifically as a working dog. It is capable of herding, guard work, police work, search and rescue, military assistance and agility exercises.

It is most often mistaken for a German Shepherd, though it has a lighter build. Its coat is also shorter, which makes it more capable of working in varying weather, though it does have a preference for cool temperatures. It is highly prized for its persistence and dedication to work.

The Malinois is most often seen in a working role, though it also makes a wonderful pet so long as it is challenged both mentally and physically. The end result is an intensely loyal pet.

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Dog


The Malinois is a large dog that has a square build. Its height is typically between 55 and 65 cm with an average weight of 25-35 kg. It has dark brown eyes and a long, thick tail that is carried low.

The double coat of the Malinois is short in length and fawn or tan in colour with black markings on its head. It is an average shedder and requires frequent brushing. Its large, triangular ears are outlined in black and stand upward in a manner that suggests it is always focused. The dog’s colouring is usually lighter on its chest and belly than on its body and head.

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Dog most popular color


The Malinois is a very athletic, confident and high-energy breed, excelling in all areas of physical activity. It has a great deal of energy and intelligence and it must feel challenged in order to discourage negative behaviour or neuroses. While they enjoy familiar tasks such as walking, running or playing catch, the Malinois loves to engage in new activities so that it can remain mentally and physically satisfied.

When the Malinois is not working, it thoroughly enjoys spending time with its loved ones. It is very loyal to and protective of its family and may be shy with strangers. It is always watchful and will not hesitate to defend its loved ones. Frequent socialisation will help this breed become comfortable around people and animals. Obedience training and firm, but respectful leadership will also help the Malinois to socialise well with others. Without proper training, this breed may attempt to behave dominantly towards other dogs, using herding and aggression in the process.

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Dog jumping training


The Belgian Shepherd Malinois is a hardy and healthy breed, though it may develop epilepsy, vision problems such as cataracts or retinal atrophy, hip or elbow dysplasia or thyroid problems.

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Dog fresh air for health

This breed lives an average of 12-14 years.

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Organisations in the UK
American Kennel Club – Belgian Malinois

Malinois (or Mechelen) Belgian Shepherd Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Belgian Malinois
Belgian Shepherd Rescue – BSDA of GB

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