Canine Agility: A Breed Guide to the Belgian Malinois

Category_Breeds Category_Breeds_Belgian_Malinois Writer_Carrie_Pallardy

 Carrie Pallardy
The Belgian Malinois (MAL-in-wah) breed might not be a household name, but action flick fans will probably recognize these graceful, athletic dogs from the third John Wick film. Actress Halle Berry spent hours helping to train a pair of Belgian Malinois for a couple of show-stealing scenes in the movie. Of course there is more to this breed than what you see on screen. Get to know a little bit about the history of these beautiful dogs and what it is like to own one.

Belgian Shepherds

The Belgian Malinois can be mistaken for a German shepherd. The breeds have similar coats and body structures, but they are distinct from one another. Rather than having German roots, the Belgian Malinois is one of a handful of Belgian herding dogs, according to The Spruce Pets.  The Belgian Malinois is closely related to, and sometimes grouped together with, the Tervuren, Laekenois, and Groenendael breeds.
The breed emerged in Belgium in the late 1800s and spent years excelling at herding. Mals (a common nickname for the breed) arrived in the U.S. in the early 1900s, according to the Spruce Pets. Since then, they have branched out into quite a few different professions, working as police dogs, military dogs, and as a part of search and rescue teams.

Physical Prowess

The Belgian Malinois is a known for its athleticism. Powerful muscles propel these dogs through any physical challenge they face. Male Mals weigh 60 to 80 pounds, while feels of the breed weigh 40 to 60 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The breed has a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.

Coat and Care

Mals can come in a couple of different shades, including fawn and mahogany. Their intelligent faces typically come with a black mask and black ears. Their coats are short but water-resistant. The breed will go through shedding periods twice a year, but their coats are relatively low maintenance, according to the AKC. Like any other breed of dog, regular nail trimming and vet visits are an important part of keeping your Mal healthy.

A Working Breed

Mals are antithetical to the couch potato lifestyle. These dogs are of so often used as workers because they crave close companionship with their human counterparts and need an outlet for their seemingly boundless energy. While some people may choose a dog breed based on looks alone, lifestyle fit is much more important. Anyone who wants to own a Mal must be prepared to commit to plenty of training and quality time together. Even if you have no intention of using a Mal as a working dog, activities like herding and agility training may still be a good way to let your Mal show off her skills.
The American Belgian Malinois Rescue is based in Wisconsin and has coordinators located throughout the country. There are also a number of breeders located in the U.S. Whether you want to adopt or buy a Mal, do your research before deciding to commit to this high-energy, devoted breed.


Thank you for your time and we hope that you found some value in the article.
If you are a Belgian Malinois lover, you might like what we have for you!
We designed a cool tee and mug for all the Belgian Malinois lovers out there! Let us know what you think! If you like it feel free to share! 10% of Proceeds gets donated to the ASPCA! 
10% of Proceeds gets donated to the ASPCA!
10% of Proceeds gets donated to the ASPCA!

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published