The Belgian Malinois is a highly intelligent, active dog who loves to be busy and live an active family lifestyle. They bond highly to one person or owner and can become very loyal, which is a bonus when training them. They were originally bred for herding cattle on the hills of Belgium, but due to their many strong traits and characteristics have been used for other lines of work through the decades such as in the police force and military as working dogs. They are highly successful in competitive fields if trained well and have a reputation for being difficult to train and destructive if not actively engaged in work or play.
Your Belgian Malinois will continue to grow from birth until around two years old. It is a continuous phase and sudden growth spurts are common.
Your puppy is growing rapidly, and usually still with mum for the first six to eight weeks of life. During this time, eyes start to open and deciduous teeth start to grow. They learn how to behave in a litter and interact with their brothers and sisters. The litter size for a Belgian Malinois is usually around six to ten puppies, so they will have lots of friends to play with at this time.
When you pick your puppy up from the breeder and take them home, this is where your puppy learns to be independent of the litter and integrate into your family. They are learning about their environment and you. It’s the ideal time to start exposing your puppy to as many new sounds, sights, and smells from a distance as possible. Everything that they will see during this period of their life they consider to be normal and so it greatly aids in their training further down the track.
At 12 weeks old, they should weigh approximately 7-10kg and stand around 30cm tall at the shoulder.
A Belgian Malinois of this age will grow rapidly, and you may find they look a little uncoordinated with big feet or floppy ears. This is normal and more growth is to be expected.
At around 6 months old, your Belgian Malinois should weigh around 12-17kg and stand around 40cm to the shoulder.
It is essential during this time, that training is started either with a trainer or one on one. Belgian Malinois are highly intelligent and if left to their own means, can turn destructive, barking, and even becoming aggressive. The more time you spend on varied training programs now, the better socialized your dog will be.
It’s important that your puppy gets their 16-week booster vaccines and continues monthly flea and worm treatment during this life stage to remain at a healthy weight.
Adult dentition starts to come through at this age. Be prepared with lots of toys to help this process. Their teeth will increase in number from 28 deciduous teeth to 42 permanent teeth. This is the age to start introducing tooth brushing and oral care.
At 6 months, your Belgian Malinois should weigh around 12-17kg and stand approximately 40-45cm to the shoulder.
Your Female Belgian Malinois may have her first heat in this age range, although sometimes this can be later on between one and two years old. A female Belgian Malinois will have around two heats a year. If you do not wish to breed from your Malinois, desexing is recommended around 12-18 months old.
At twelve months, your Belgian Malinois will weigh around 19-28kg depending on sex- males tend to be on the upper end of this scale and stand around 50-55cm to the shoulder.
Your Belgian Malinois has mostly stopped growing in height but will fill out in the body and increase in muscle mass with time and exercise. They will continue to enjoy training and socialization, and you will have noticed their personality and quirks are well defined.
Nutrition plays a huge factor in the growth and development of healthy bones, muscles, and tissues. Always feed premium puppy food until at least one year of age, and feed for a medium to large breed dog. Belgian Malinois can suffer bone abnormalities if they are not fed a good quality diet with the correct ratio of phosphorus and calcium.
You must also feed the correct amount for their weight and increase the food ratio as your puppy’s weight increases. If you have any questions about the amount of food to feed, ask your veterinarian who will be happy to help you.
The size of the parents largely affects the size of the puppies. You can expect your Belgian Malinois to be roughly the same size as their male or female parent depending on their gender.
Some issues such as hypothyroidism can affect growth rates in the Malinois. Dogs fed poor nutrition, or those who are not given adequate worming cover can also have reduced body condition compared to other dogs. Overexercising dogs at a young age can affect their bone growth, stunting the height that they will ultimately reach when fully grown.
Belgian Malinois grow rapidly in their first year of life. They also develop mentally and emotionally a lot during this time. They will look to you as their owner to provide for their needs and teach them how to adapt and fit into your world. A Belgian Malinois is happiest when in an active home with plenty of space or has a job to do, so always consider this before taking one into your home. Being prepared and researching the breed thoroughly will help you to raise the perfectly trained, social, and well-conditioned dog.
If you are concerned your Belgian Malinois isn’t growing at the rate you would expect or is putting on too much weight during their puppy months, talk to a veterinarian for advice as there may be an underlying medical condition affecting your puppy’s growth.
A Malinois is a slow-growing breed, so will reach its full size somewhere between one and two years of age.
The Belgian Malinois is classed as a medium-breed dog.
The average life expectancy for a Belgian Malinois is approximately 10-14 years, which is considered a long life for a dog.