Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)

Overview
The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) (icon) is a breed of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog
Belgian Shepherd Dog
The Belgian Shepherd is a breed of medium-to-large-sized herding dog. It originated in Belgium and is similar to other sheep herding dogs from that region, including the Dutch Shepherd Dog, the German Shepherd Dog, the Briard and others...

 rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 either Mechelse herdershond (shepherd dog from Mechelen
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

) or Mechelaar (one from Mechelen
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)'
Start a new discussion about 'Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) (icon) is a breed of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog
Belgian Shepherd Dog
The Belgian Shepherd is a breed of medium-to-large-sized herding dog. It originated in Belgium and is similar to other sheep herding dogs from that region, including the Dutch Shepherd Dog, the German Shepherd Dog, the Briard and others...

 rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 either Mechelse herdershond (shepherd dog from Mechelen
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

) or Mechelaar (one from Mechelen
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

). These dogs are popular in use of police departments, as are German Shepherds.

Appearance


Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized and square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog
Herding dog
A herding dog, also known as a stock dog or working dog, is a type of pastoral dog that either has been trained in herding or belongs to breeds developed for herding...

 family. The Malinois has a short mahogany coat with black overlay. It has black erect ears and a black muzzle. It has a square build in comparison to the German Shepherd.

Coat and color


Due to its history as a working dog (i.e., being bred for function over form), the Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color fawn to mahogany with a black mask
Melanistic mask
A melanistic mask is a dog coat pattern that gives the appearance of a mask on the dog's face. The hairs on the muzzle, and sometimes entire face or ears, are colored by eumelanin instead of pheomelanin pigment. Eumelanin is typically black, but may instead be brown, dark gray, or light gray-brown...

 and black ears with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog's underside, breeching, and inner leg. Dogs with grey and black shorthairs used to meet the Malinois standard, but are no longer considered to do so.

The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coats and colors: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois but has long hair, the wire-coated Laekenois is fawn and lacks the black mask and ears, and the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black. There are (occasionally and historically) solid black, black-and-tan (as with Dobermans and German Shepherd
German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog , also known as an Alsatian or just the German Shepherd, is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog, with its origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, the German Shepherd is a working dog...

s), or other colored short-haired Belgian Shepherds, but these are not technically Malinois.

If a dog represented as a Malinois is brindle (clear stripes of different colored hair) it is probably a Dutch Shepherd Dog
Dutch Shepherd Dog
The Dutch Shepherd Dog is a breed of dog. The breed is an old herding breed of Dutch origin. In the old days shepherds and farmers needed a versatile dog, a jack-of-all-trades, with few demands and adapted to the harsh and meager existence of that time....

 or a mixed breed, although the possibility exists that it is a throwback, this is a common misconception with the appearance of the breed.

Size


Malinois dogs are about 24–26 in (61–66 cm), while Females are about 22–24 in (56–61 cm) at the withers
Withers
The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades of a four-legged animal. In many species it is the tallest point of the body, and in horses and dogs it is the standard place to measure the animal's height .-Horses:The withers in horses are formed by the dorsal spinal processes of roughly the...

. Female Malinois are said to average 25–30 kg (55–65 lb), while sires are heavier at 29–34 kg (65–75 lb). They are squarely built.

Working dog


In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well as in the United States, Canada and Australia, the Malinois is bred primarily as a working dog
Working dog
A working dog refers to a canine working animal, i.e., a type of dog that is not merely a pet but learns and performs tasks to assist and/or entertain its human companions, or a breed of such origin...

 for personal protection, detection
Detection dog
A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to and works at using its senses to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, or blood. Hunting dogs that search for game and search dogs that search for missing humans are generally not considered detection dogs...

, police work
Police dog
A police dog, often referred to as a "K-9 dog" in some areas , is a dog that is trained specifically to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel in their work...

, search and rescue
Search and rescue dog
The use of dogs in search and rescue is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. Dedicated handlers and well-trained dogs are required for the use of dogs to be effective in search efforts...

, and sport work (Belgian Ring
Belgian Ring
The Belgian Ring/Ring sport is a Protection- or "Police"-dogsport, organized by the "NVBK" , "KKUSH" as well as the "KCB"...

, Schutzhund
Schutzhund
Schutzhund is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog...

, French Ring, Mondio Ring
Mondio Ring
Mondio Ring is a type of dog sport. It is a protection sport that tests the ability of the dog to protect both themselves and their handlers, even through extreme distractions. The sport trials are similar to the work performed by police dogs...

). The United States Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 and Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 use the breed exclusively. In the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

, Malinois (along with German Shepherd
German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog , also known as an Alsatian or just the German Shepherd, is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog, with its origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, the German Shepherd is a working dog...

s) are preferred breeds for use as working dogs.

The dog is also used extensively by Unit Oketz
Unit Oketz
The Oketz Unit , is the independent canine special forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded in 1939 as part of Haganah. The unit specializes in training and handling dogs for military applications. Originally, Oketz trained dogs to attack kidnappers, but training has since become...

 of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. Oketz favors the slighter build of the Malinois over that of the German Shepherd and Rottweiler
Rottweiler
The Rottweiler is a medium to large size breed of domestic dog that originated in Rottweil, Germany. The dogs were known as "Rottweil butchers' dogs" because they were used to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat and other products to market...

 which were employed formerly. Malinois are the perfect size to be picked up by their handlers, while still being able to attack their enemies and for their shorter coats and fair and neutral colors making them less prone to heatstroke, all these are advantages over the previously used dog breeds.

United States Navy SEALs
United States Navy SEALs
The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

 used a Belgian Malinois war dog
Dogs in warfare
Dogs in warfare have a long history starting in ancient times. From 'war dogs' trained in combat to their use as scouts, sentries and trackers, their uses have been varied and some continue to exist in modern military usage.-History:...

 named Cairo in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden
Death of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit....

 was killed.

Temperament


Well-raised and trained Malinois are usually active, friendly, protective and hard-working. Many have excessively high prey drive
Prey drive
Prey drive is the instinctive inclination of a carnivore to pursue and capture prey.In dog training, prey drive can be used as an advantage because dogs with strong prey drive are also willing to pursue moving objects such as toys, which can then be used to encourage certain kinds of behavior, such...

. Some may be excessively exuberant or playful, especially when young. They can be destructive or develop neurotic behaviors if not provided enough stimulation and exercise. These are large, strong dogs that require consistent obedience training, and enjoy being challenged with new tasks. They are known as being very easy to obedience train, due to their high drive for rewards.

Activities


Malinois can compete in dog agility
Dog agility
Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles...

 trials, obedience
Obedience training
Obedience training usually refers to the training of a dog and the term is most commonly used in that context. Obedience training ranges from very basic training, such as teaching the dog to reliably respond to basic commands such as "sit", "down", "come", and "stay", to high level competition...

, showmanship
Dog showmanship
Dog showmanship is a set of skills and etiquette used by handlers of dogs in a dog competition. Dog showmanship is not a competition in itself but a qualification of the handler to present a dog to its best advantage. Skills are technical as well as artistic...

, flyball
Flyball
Flyball is a dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball.Flyball is run in teams of four...

, tracking
Tracking (dog)
Tracking is a technique in which dogs are trained to locate certain objects, such as a downed bird, using the object's scent. Many bird and rabbit hunters train their dogs in tracking. The scent hounds are generally regarded as having the best tracking abilities among all dog breeds.In dog sports,...

, and herding
Herding
Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group , maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those. While the layperson uses the term "herding", most individuals involved in the process term it mustering, "working stock" or...

 events, and are one of the most popular breeds used in protection sports such as schutzhund
Schutzhund
Schutzhund is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog...

, French Ring, and Mondio Ring
Mondio Ring
Mondio Ring is a type of dog sport. It is a protection sport that tests the ability of the dog to protect both themselves and their handlers, even through extreme distractions. The sport trials are similar to the work performed by police dogs...

. In America, herding
Herding
Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group , maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those. While the layperson uses the term "herding", most individuals involved in the process term it mustering, "working stock" or...

 instincts can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Belgian Shepherds exhibiting basic herding instincts can then be trained to compete in herding trials.

Health


The average lifespan of the Belgian Malinois is 10–12 years, and there are a number of health problems and disorders that are associated with the breed, though the breed's health is generally considered better than that of the German Shepherd. Notable health problems prevalent to the Malinois includes cataracts, epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

, thyroid disease
Thyroid disease
-Hyper- and hypofunction:Imbalance in production of thyroid hormones arises from dysfunction of the thyroid gland itself, the pituitary gland, which produces thyroid-stimulating hormone , or the hypothalamus, which regulates the pituitary gland via thyrotropin-releasing hormone . Concentrations of...

, progressive retinal atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy is a group of genetic diseases seen in certain breeds of dogs and, more rarely, cats. Similar to retinitis pigmentosa in humans, it is characterized by the bilateral degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness...

 (PRA), hip dysplasia, and pannus
Pannus
Pannus is a medical term for an abnormal layer of fibrovascular tissue or granulation tissue. Common sites for pannus formation include over the cornea, over a joint surface , or on a prosthetic heart valve...

, although these problems have been minimized through selective breeding
Selective breeding
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

.

See also

  • Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)
    Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)
    The Belgian Shepherd Dog is recognized by all major kennel clubs. In the United States it is recognized under the name Belgian Sheepdog....

  • Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)
    Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)
    The Belgian Shepherd Dog is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. Laekenois is pronouned as ""Lak-in-wah". This breed is not fully recognized in the United States...

  • Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)

Further reading

  • Belgian Malinois (Comprehensive Owner's Guide) (Comprehensive Owner's Guide Kennel Club), written by Robert Pollet, published by Kennel Club Books; Limited edition (November 30, 2005), 160 pages, ISBN 1593786506
  • The Malinois (Paperback), written by Jan Kaldenbach, published by Detselig Enterprises; 1st edition (June 15, 1997) 94 pages, ISBN 1550591517
  • Belgian Malinois Champions, 1996–2002, written by Jan Linzy, published by Camino E E & Book Co. (October 2003), 121 pages, ISBN 1558931260

External links