Belgian Malinois: 8 Interesting Characteristics and Facts

Belgian Malinois: 8 Interesting Characteristics and Facts

You may know Belgian Malinois as a classic police dog breed. You may also associate it with the German Shepherds (both are unbelievably cute – we know!). But, do you know more than this?

Let’s go over some sun Belgian Malinois interesting characteristics and facts!

1. The origin of Belgian Malinois

If you thought that German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois must have something in common, you were right! Both come from a family of shepherd dogs. But, as the name clearly indicates Belgian Malinois are native of Belgium. To be more exact, this breed originates from Malines -m that is where the Malinois part of the name comes from.

As for how it became so popular in America? They came to America in the early 1900s – some were even military dogs. And, the American Kennel Club recognized them in 1959.

2. Belgian Malinois is a working dog

Belgian Malinois can skydive!

Like German Shepherds (we imagine you can sense the pattern here), this breed was envisioned as a herding dog. This is where their natural instinct to steer even their owners and children comes from. A Belgian Malinois will even try to keep your child still! Which is why, sadly, it is not ideal for first dog owners with kids.

Nowadays, you will see Mals as police and military dogs – helping their colleagues detect bombs, gas, in search and rescue missions, etc.

Here is one more fun fact for you on this note: Belgian Malinois are actually more popular when it comes to choosing a breed for the military! 

The reason?

They can skydive! Yes, you read that right. Belgian Malinois do not carry as much weight as other breeds, which makes it easier for military parachutists to jump with their dogs strapped to them. Even more surprising is the fact that they can be trained to make the jump on their own. Crazy, right? 

3. Belgian Malinois need firm training

Belgian Malinois are very intelligent, and want to please their owner in every way possible. But, in order for your puppy to be obedient, you need to begin with firm training as soon as the puppy is ready. These dogs don’t always get along perfectly with other dogs, which is why it is essential to socialize them with other dogs, and humans from the start. As we mentioned, if you are a first dog owner, then this breed might be quite a challenge for you – especially if you have children. Every puppy is different of course, and they can be trained to be well-behaved among children as well. 

Something they do not need training on is definitely protection! That comes naturally to them.

4. Belgian Malinois are loving

Yes, we may have warned you that Mals need firm training, and that they are not perfect with children. But, the fact of the matter is that they really do form quite strong bonds with their owners. And, while monitoring and attention is advised while your Mal is around the children – they do form those same profound bonds with children with whom they are from day one. 

5. Belgian Malinois are a very active breed

Belgian Malinois have a lot of excess energy.

Again something they have in common with German Shepherds! Belgian Malinois have a lot of excess energy. They really do need vigorous exercise and mental stimulation. They love almost all sports, and adore running and playing. There is even data which suggest they are the most active breed in America. So, if you plan to keep your Mal in an apartment be sure to allow them at least two hours of vigorous exercise – you know, apart from the usual walkies. 

6. Belgian Malinois need a bit more grooming

Of course, any dog needs to be groomed. However, your Belgian Malinois has a double coat. Not only that, but the coat is also water resistant, and the undercoat dense. So, you’ll see you will need to brush them at least once a week. Also, be careful when it comes to their nails. Sometimes, exercise and activities outside will keep the nails at an appropriate length. But, if not – then you need to make sure they are clipped to that length. 

And, one more hot tip: it is best that you brush your Mal’s teeth daily.

7. Cairo the famous Belgian Malinois

We told you that the military and the police adore them, so it is only natural that there are many famous Mals who served on these forces. Their whole career as military and police dogs began as early as World War I, when they served as messengers and assistants to the Red Cross.  One of the perhaps most famous Mals out there is Cairo!

Cairo was a canine SEAL, who took part in the top-secret mission to kill or capture Osama bin Laden in 2011. Cairo had been trained to perform many roles. His first task was to guard the compound and alert the soldiers if anyone approached it. Of course, he was also able to track down bin Laden by scent, chase him down, and take him down if needed! 

How so? Well, the Mal was trained to sniff bombs and traps; he could run twice as fast as a human, and has a bite pressure of seven hundred pounds per square inch.

8. Belgian Malinois was almost New York’s state dog

You’ll see you will need to brush your Mal at least once a week

See, once upon a time (2016) New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a legislation that should have made Belgian Malinois the official state dog. Why? Well, because of its services with the New York police department – the breed often patrolled with the state police. They do indeed serve the people of New York, don’t they? 

There you have it – our most interesting Belgian Malinois characteristics and facts. Everyone might mistake them or associate them with the German Shepherds, but they truly do have a personality, and elegance, of their own! Hope you enjoyed our facts as much as we did.


Are you a dog facts junkie? If so, you’ll love some of our other dog fact articles:

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