8 Facts About Belgian Malinois

3 belgian malinois puppies in the grass

The Belgian Malinois is a highly intelligent dog breed known for its protective instinct, trainability, and versatility. Although they are highly prized and well-known as working dogs, they can also make great family pets. Here are a few facts about Belgian Malinois:

1. They Were Originally Bred to be Farm Dogs

Although the Belgian Malinois is likely most well-known for working in military and police capacities, they were originally bred to be farm dogs. They popped up in Belgium during the late 1800s. They were prized for their athleticism and versatility as a livestock protector and herder.

In fact, the Belgian Malinois is part of a group of Belgian sheepdogs and is the most widely recognized of them. The other three Belgian sheepdogs are the Groenendael, Laekenois, and Belgian Tervuren. And, the American Kennel Club recognizes the Belgian Malinois as a member of the Herding Group.

2. Belgian Malinois Are Popular Military Dogs

The Belgian Malinois may be a herding breed, but you’re probably more familiar with them working as military or police dogs. They are a popular dog breed for working in these capacities and have been doing it for a long time.

Belgian Malinois have been shown to be used in a military capacity as far back as World War I. Soldiers returning to the United States with their military dogs are credited with bringing the Belgian Malinois into the U.S. and helping the breed gain popularity.

3. They Are Versatile Working Dogs

The versatility of this dog breed paired with their intelligence, athleticism, focus, and determination makes them a fantastic working dog across a variety of capacities. They tend to excel at almost any task put in front of them.

In addition to livestock herding and protection as well as military service, they can be found working as search dogs that identify explosives or find narcotics. They are also found working as service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and police dogs that help track or chase down fugitives.

4. The Belgian Malinois Has an Extended Puppyhood

Even though they are serious, focused, and determined when they are on the job, these dogs are also playful and high-energy. When it comes to the most active dog breeds, the Belgian Malinois always makes the list.

Much like the Labrador Retriever has an extended puppyhood until about two years old, the Belgian Malinois tends to retain a puppy-like demeanor, including plenty of playfulness and energy, until they are about three.

5. They Need a More Experienced Owner

Although Belgian Malinois are known for being highly trainable dogs that can learn to do just about anything, they also tend to need a more experienced owner. Yes, they are intelligent and pick up on things easily. However, they are also easily bored, have a ton of energy, have an independent nature, and can have a stubborn streak.

All of this can be difficult for a first-time dog owner to navigate on their own. Puppy training classes can help, but they may not be enough for a first-time dog owner who isn’t willing to put in the time and energy to work with their dog. A first-time dog owner can successfully train this breed, but they’re going to need some help from an expert and to put in the work at home to make sure this dog is properly trained and socialized.

6. Belgian Malinois Are a Popular Pick With Navy SEALS

Given their extensive work with the military and police, it’s not surprising this breed has also worked with the elite Navy SEALS. Belgian Malinois are highly valued and are one of the most popular breed choices. A Belgian Malinois named Cairo was even a part of the Navy SEAL team 6, which is known for their takedown of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

7. They Can Skydive

Belgian Malinois are no strangers to adventures and that includes skydiving! This breed is often used in military operations which can include skydiving. They are often picked over the heavier German Shepherd so they can do tandem jumps a bit easier. Belgian Malinois have even been trained to jump on their own, which is much safer if they are landing in water.

8. Eva Mendes has a Belgian Malinois

The famous actress had to take out a restraining order against a stalker in 2011. In order to feel safe in her home, she brought home a Belgian Malinois named Hugo to protect her. Belgian Malinois are excellent guard dogs and will be extremely protective of their owners.

These are just a few facts about Belgian Malinois. The Belgian Malinois is a good fit for experienced owners who can spend the time giving this dog the socialization, training, and exercise they need to be happy and healthy.

If you think this could be the right dog breed for you, learn more about them and check out the available Belgian Malinois puppies! You might just find your new best friend!