Do Belgian Malinoises Like Water?

Some dogs will throw themselves into water with great enthusiasm whereas others would prefer to avoid even stepping in a small puddle. Different breeds have different tendencies towards liking water and some breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands are well known for their water-loving traits. But what about the Belgian Malinois? Let’s find out whether Belgian Malinoises like water.

Can Belgian Malinoises swim?

This athletic breed has lots of stamina, which makes them ideal swimmers.

Belgian Malinoises are a breed that is well designed for swimming. Although they do not have the webbed feet of some other water-loving breeds, they are an athletic breed and have lots of stamina, making them ideal swimmers. They are intelligent and can learn quickly, so even if swimming is new to them, they can often be taught to swim without too much difficulty.

Do Belgian Malinoises like water?

Belgian Malinoises are an energetic breed and so usually enjoy anything active and that includes swimming. They are a naturally confident breed and so are more likely than some breeds to willingly accept a new experience such as getting wet. Once they discover a love of swimming, many Belgian Malinoises will eagerly bound into water sources such as lakes and pools. Swimming is a great way for them to burn off energy while keeping cool. 

Bear in mind though, that just like any breed, all dogs have individual likes and dislikes and some Belgian Malinoises may not be so keen to get those paws wet. This might be because of a previous negative experience with water, or a naturally more anxious personality. Either way, never force your Malinois into water as this will only make them more worried.

How can I encourage my Belgian Malinois to like water?

Start off by gently paddling in the water with your dog, or have a fun game at the water’s edge such as fetch.

If your Belgian Malinois seems unsure about water or is reluctant to swim, there are several things you can do to help.

  • Take it slowly – start off by gently paddling in the water with your dog, or have a fun game at the water’s edge such as fetch.
  • Take lots of treats with you and reward your dog at each stage, even if at first this is a single paw in the water!
  • As your Belgian Malinois becomes more confident around water, be prepared to get in the water with him and get wet!
  • Remember that it might take several sessions before your dog feels confident enough to move deeper into the water.
  • Be willing to accept that some dogs will never like water or swimming, no matter how much effort you put into training. There are plenty of other fun activities out there for them to enjoy!

What are the benefits of swimming for my Belgian Malinois?

Swimming has loads of benefits for dogs, just as it does for humans! Here are just a few of them:

  1. It provides a full-body workout. Swimming exercises muscles that your dog might not otherwise use much on a daily basis.
  2. It’s a low-impact form of exercise. This makes it much kinder on your dog’s joints than other sports such as running. Swimming can be a great form of exercise for older dogs especially. Belgian Malinoises are a large breed of dog and so can be more prone to joint disease and arthritis than some other breeds. So, teaching them to swim when they’re young is good preparation for when they’re older.
  3. It’s a great way for them to cool off, or get some exercise on days when it’s too hot for a walk or run.
  4. Swimming provides some mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise, meaning your dog will sleep well that night! Belgian Malinoises are an intelligent breed and require more daily mental stimulation than some other dog breeds.
  5. Swimming is relaxing and can help promote calm behavior in your Belgian Malinois.
  6. Swimming can be used as rehabilitation after surgery. Hydrotherapy is often used when regular exercise is too much for a dog post-surgery, particularly after orthopedic procedures. It can also be used to build strength in specific muscles to help with healing and recovery after an operation.

Drinking too much water whilst they’re playing in it or swimming can cause an upset stomach and sometimes vomiting.

What are the drawbacks of swimming for my Belgian Malinois?

There are a few downsides to swimming when it comes to dogs:

  1. Ear infections. Dogs that swim regularly are more prone to developing ear infections as the warm wet ear canal provides an ideal environment in which bacteria can multiply. You can help prevent them by making sure you gently but thoroughly dry your dog’s ears and head after swimming.
  2. Drinking too much water. Some dogs will end up drinking too much water whilst they’re playing in it or swimming. This can cause an upset stomach and sometimes vomiting. If your dog does this then try to limit the time they spend in the water and keep swimming sessions short.
  3. Getting overtired, especially in deep water. Dogs sometimes don’t know when they’ve had too much of a good thing! It’s easy for dogs to become over-tired from swimming as their adrenaline will often keep them going for longer than they should. Be sure to invest in a life jacket for your dog if they swim in deep water, and try and end the session before they get too exhausted.
  4. That wet dog smell! Be sure to thoroughly dry your Belgian Malinois when they leave the water. They have a thick double coat which helps to keep them warm but can make bathing and drying a Belgian Malinois quite a workout!


As a general rule, most Belgian Malinoises will like water and enjoy swimming if they are given the opportunity. If they don’t, their intelligence means they can usually be easily trained to enjoy water and to swim. Never force your dog into water and if your Belgian Malinois is still reluctant to get their paws wet, even after lots of encouragement, be prepared to accept that swimming is not the sport for them. If, however, you have a Belgian Malinois that loves the water, enjoy watching their swimming sessions and maybe even join them! Even if you don’t get in, be prepared to get wet when they get out and shake all over you!


How long can a Belgian Malinois be left alone?

Belgian Malinoises are a highly intelligent breed that requires a lot of mental stimulation and physical exercise. This means that they shouldn’t be left alone for more than a couple of hours on a regular basis.

Can Belgian Malinoises handle the cold?

Belgian Malinoises were bred with a double coat which acts to insulate them against the cold. They should never be left outside in extreme cold and if they are to sleep outdoors then they should always have somewhere that provides them with shelter and insulation from the elements.

How much water does a Belgian Malinois need?

As an approximate rule, most dogs need 25-50ml per kg of body weight over 24 hours. This can vary based on whether it’s a hot day, how much wet food your dog gets, and whether your dog is lactating and feeding puppies. If your dog is regularly drinking more than this, it can be a sign of an underlying health problem and you should take him to the vet.

Do Belgian Malinoises attach to one person?

Belgian Malinoises are instinctively protective of their owners and without proper socialization can become wary of strangers. It is important to teach them to be accepting of strangers whilst they are young. This will also help to prevent any separation anxiety if they need to be away from their owners.