The Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a medium-size shepherd dog that was originally developed in Malines, Belgium in the late 1800s. The Belgian Malinois is one of the varieties of the Belgian shepherd. All these Belgian shepherd dogs were named after Belgian villages: Groenendael, Laekenois, Mechelar (Malinois) and Tervuren. The Belgian Malinois was used as a peerless livestock herder, guard dog and draught dog. This dog was the first dog to be used by the Belgian police. Many of them were used by the military in the World War I for a number of jobs, including carrying messages and assisting the Red Cross.
FUN FACT: The Belgian Malinois is well known for detecting explosives, accelerants and narcotics.
Male Belgian Malinois is 24-26 inches tall and weigh 60-80 pounds (25 to 34 kilograms). Females are 22 to 24 inches tall and weigh 40 to 60 pounds (18 to 27 kilograms). Malinois are shorthaired, fawn to mahogany-colored dogs with a black mask. As these dogs were bred to work outdoors in all conditions, their coat is weather resistant. Malinois dogs prefer colder climates, but do well in warm environments too. Their short, smooth coat is easy to groom. Malinois shed moderately all year long (more heavily in the spring and fall), so regular brushing is required. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, and dog should be bathed as needed.
Malinois have a lot of energy. These dogs love to work, are very active and need heavy exercise. You, as an owner, should make sure you have a lot of time to spend exercising with your Malinois. They need regular mental and physical stimulation. Daily walks are not enough. Malinois make great hiking, biking and running companions. They excel at agility, tracking, search and rescue, herding, obedience, etc.
FUN FACT: Because of their herding heritage, Malinois will often run around in large circles.
The Belgian Malinois is an intense, confident, intelligent and loyal breed. These dogs are very smart. They also have strong protecting and territorial instincts. Because of their characteristics, Malinois can be demanding and are recommended for experienced owners. Early socialization and intense training are crucial! Poorly socialized Malinois can be aggressive. Well-socialized Malinois are good with children, especially if they are raised with them, but keep an eye on the dog while he is near children because Malinois sometimes have tendency to nip children and try to herd them when playing. They can be aggressive toward other dogs and cats if not socialized to other animals. Keep in mind that these dogs don't respond well to harsh training methods. Be firm, fair, and consistent, but use only positive reinforcement! Malinois love to learn new things and are eager to do whatever their people ask of them.
Malinois love to be included in all of the family activities and enjoy the attention of their owners. These dogs form a quick bond with their owner, and will do everything they can to protect him, and everybody around him. They make excellent watchdogs.
FUN FACT: Hollywood actress Eva Mendes had a stalker back in 2011, and her Belgian Malinois named Hugo was there to protect her and make her feel safe.
FUN FACT: The Belgian Malinois Cairo was used by Seal Team Six to hunt and capture Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
FUN FACT: Belgian Malinois are favored over German Shepherds for many military operations because Malinois are better skydivers. They are lighter than German Shepherds and thus easier for military parachutists to do tandem jumps with their dogs strapped to them.
The Belgian Malinois is one of the healthiest dog breeds in existence with a lifespan of 14 to 16 years. Some health problems that have been seen in the Belgian Malinois include hip and elbow dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), progressive retinal atrophy (a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness), cataracts, anesthesia sensitivity (because of their muscle to fat ratio), pannus, and epilepsy.
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