dc11b146 57ca 4829 b23b 26178bf5d3e8 Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois

Friendly / Intelligent / Devoted

Often mistaken for a German Shepherd dog, the Belgian Malinois is an active, affectionate dog that takes pride in doing a good job and pleasing their owner. If you are looking for a loyal, hardworking, and energetic pup to bring into your family, the Belgian Malinois might be just right for you.

dc11b146 57ca 4829 b23b 26178bf5d3e8 Belgian Malinois


Learn More


Learn More

Lifetime Care

Learn More

What are the other types of Belgian Shepherds?

Although we will be focusing on the Belgian Malinois today, there are other Belgian Shepherd dogs that are closely related to the Malinois. Each dog has their own distinctive features, but they have similar faces and builds.

As we mentioned earlier, the Malinois has the shortest coat of their Belgian brethren, so they resemble a German Shepherd a bit more than the others do. They can also weigh a little more than the other Belgian Shepherd breeds.

The first Belgian breed we will look at is the Belgian Laekenois, named for Laeken, a town in Belgium in the Brussels area. These adorable dogs have a medium coat that is curly and wiry, so they look a little bit like a ragamuffin. They’re usually reddish or gray colors, and they may have black markings.

There’s also the Belgian Tervuren, a long-haired breed with a thick coat. They have straight fur, and they usually come in varying shades of tan and some black markings.

The final relative of the Belgian Malinois that we’ll be looking at is the Belgian Sheepdog. These beautiful black dogs are called the Belgian Sheepdog in the United States, but they are called the Groenendael in other parts of the world. They have the same long coats as the Tervuren, but it’s always black.

These dogs look like siblings, but they can easily be told apart if you know what to look for.

One of the many Belgian Shepherd breeds, the Belgian Malinois comes from the city of Malines in Belgium. They have shorter hair than their other Belgian relatives. Although they look like German Shepherds, they are lighter-boned and more graceful than their German cousins.

The Belgian Malinois isn’t very well known in the United States, but they make wonderful companions. They are also good working dogs. These medium-sized pups have frequently been used as police dogs, guard dogs, and, of course, herders.

Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we’re looking out for your happiness and the happiness of the pets that live in our world. It’s important that dog owners and their pups fit together well, so they can live long lives together.

By providing people with information about the pets they want to adopt, we can help them understand their pets and become the best pet parents they can be, whether old or new.

If you’re looking for a dog to help you watch over your home or join you in your active and adventurous life, the Belgian Malinois, sometimes simply known as the mal, might be the dog for you.

Breed Profile


breed height icon
  • Male: 24-26 inches
  • Female: 22-24 inches


breed weight icon
  • Male: 60-80 pounds
  • 40-60 pounds


breed lifespan icon
  • 14-16 years

Health Risk

breed health icon

Elbow Dysplasia

What is it?
Dysplasia occurs when a joint becomes malformed. In dogs, it usually happens in the hip or elbow joints. Elbow dysplasia, therefore, is when your dog’s elbow joint becomes malformed, usually because the three bones in the elbow joint don’t fit together properly.

It’s a genetically inherited condition, but it can be made worse if your pup is overweight, runs up and down the stairs too much, or often jumps up onto the couch. One of the primary issues with elbow dysplasia (and the similar hip dysplasia) is that your dog’s weight isn’t properly distributed.

% Dogs affected:

Clinical signs:

  • Hesitant to exercise
  • Stiff joints
  • Limping
  • Front legs rotate inwards, while the elbows rotate out


  • Joint fluid modifiers
  • Surgery
  • Restricted exercise
  • Joint supplements
  • Weight loss
  • Therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

Health Risk:

Average Vet Bill


Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

90% = $1800

80% = $1600

70% = $1400

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

What is it?
If your pup has Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), there isn’t much you can do. It’s a genetic fault where your pup’s eyes will eventually lose their ability to see. Fortunately, it isn’t a painful process, so all you really need to do is help your pup adjust to having no vision.

% Dogs affected:
No available information

Clinical signs:

  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Dilated pupils
  • Genetic testing


Health Risk:

Average Vet Bill


Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

90% = $1800

80% = $1600

70% = $1400

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.


What is it?
Pannus is an eye disorder caused by your pup’s immune system. It typically affects the cornea of your dog’s eye. If untreated, it leads to blindness since it spreads and covers the eye. High altitudes, smoke, and ultraviolet light can make the condition worse.

% Dogs affected:

Clinical signs:

  • Pink mass on the cornea
  • Third eyelid looks inflamed
  • Spreading lesion with darker color begins to cover cornea
  • Mucousy discharge
  • Visual impairment


  • Corticosteroids (usually topical, but sometimes injected)
  • Antibiotics
  • Doggy sunglasses
  • Treatment is lifelong

Health Risk:

  • Infection
  • Blindness

Average Vet Bill


Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

90% = $1080

80% = $960

70% = $840

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.


breed personality icon
  1. How does a Belgian Malinois interact with their families?

A Belgian Malinois is loyal and ready to protect any member of their family group. Their love language, so to speak, is quality time. If they could spend all day with you, they would.

Their goal is to be active and to spend time with you. Although this herding breed may not be affectionate in the normal doggy way, they show it by their joy when you get home from an errand or work.

It’s best not to leave them alone for too long, though. If you don’t give them enough attention, they might cause problems around the house.

  1. Does a Belgian Malinois like to have fun?

Malinoises have a very high energy level, so they like having things to do. Even something that we would think of as work, they would enjoy doing. They also wouldn’t mind playing a game or going on a trip.

  1. Is a Belgian Malinois good with kids?

Although a Malinois will protect the members of their family and love to play, they are somewhat large dogs, so they may not be a very good playmate for a small child. They may not be the best with children, but they do care about their families and will protect them.

  1. How is a Belgian Malinois around other dogs?

If you are already an experienced pet parent and are interested in adopting a Malinois into your home, you need to know if a Malinois will interact well with your current pup. Or maybe you’re just wondering if they can behave themselves at a dog park.

With the proper socialization from an early age, your Belgian Malinois will be able to interact pretty well with other dogs. They can sometimes react to a new dog with aggression, but they should be able to keep their cool with proper training.

Even so, taking them to the dog park might not be the best idea. They would prefer to play with you anyways.

  1. Are they okay with strangers?

If your pup is well-socialized, they won’t be too bothered by meeting new people, but they are more reserved dogs, so you can’t expect them to greet people outside their family with joy.

It is possible that they may become aggressive if they perceive someone as a threat, but if you’ve trained them, you can keep the situation under control.

  1. Is the Belgian Malinois smart?

Since they were bred to be herding dogs, Malinois needed to be one step ahead of their herds to make sure they didn’t take a wrong turn. They are pretty smart, so it’s important to channel that mental energy well.

They need to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. You can teach them new tricks, train them to herd or hunt, or see if you can find a puzzle toy to help with mental stimulation.

  1. Are they easy to train?

Since they are intelligent dogs that love to make you happy, Belgian Malinois can learn pretty quickly, so you need to keep up with them by providing them with a new trick whenever they’ve mastered an old one.

Their easy trainability makes your job a lot easier, and it’s a large part of the reason they’re often used for police work and search and rescue missions. Once a pup has learned a command, it sticks, so you don’t have to continue re-teaching them. They respond well to positive reinforcement, so ensure you incorporate that tactic during training.

Lifetime Care

breed care icon


They have smooth, short coats. The combination of a dense undercoat and a stiffer topcoat helps make their fur more weather resistant. They are average shedders, although their double coat will shed more than usual twice a year.

Potential coat colors

The colors accepted by the AKC are:

Red Sable
Fawn Sable

Some of the above colors may feature black tips on the hair, causing a multi-colored effect. There are many other possible colors, like gray or black. They often have a black mask on their face as well.





Daily brushing, occasional bath, regular nail trims


Easy to train.

Life Time Care Cost:


Is the Belgian Malinois hypoallergenic? 

No, the Belgian Malinois is not hypoallergenic.

What does grooming look like for a Belgian Malinois? 

They should be brushed at least once every two weeks, but when they reach shedding season, you may want to brush them daily. They will also need their teeth cleaned and their nails clipped regularly, and you may need to check and/or clean their ears fairly regularly too.

What is the lifetime care cost of a Belgian Malinois?

The lifetime care cost of one of these dogs is $15,795-$114,370.

How to be the best pet parent for a Belgian Malinois?

Every pet deserves the very best care you can give them. Some pups might do better in your home than in others.

A Belgian Malinois needs a pet parent that can keep up with them and give them the time and attention they need. A bored and ignored Malinois can get into trouble, and most dogs are very good at expressing their boredom at the expense of your furniture.

If you have the time and the money to give the Malinois what they need, and you don’t mind having an energetic working dog around, they may be the right dog for you.

How much does a dog or puppy cost?

Adoption fee: $300-$2,000

Food: $540-$660, $540-$660

Water/food bowls: $10, N/A

Collar and ID: $20, N/A

Leashes: $15, $0-$15

Dog bed and crate: $60-$80, N/A

Toys: $30, $0-30

Vaccines, medications, and routine care: $420-$6,500, $420-$6,300

Total: $1,095-$7,295, $960-$7,005

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your dog

  1. All dogs should learn basic commands like sit, come, stay, and heel. Obedience training is the foundation of a pup’s good behavior.
  2. To teach your Belgian Malinois puppy how to behave at the vet, you need to “examine” them by checking their paws, mouths, and ears periodically while they’re young.
  3. You need to direct their prey drive, so they don’t chase after things they aren’t supposed to. It might be helpful to give them a job to do, like herding or tracking, or you could get a ball throwing machine.
  4. It’s best to keep them fenced in or on a leash when they are outside, even if they are very obedient and well-behaved.

What type of foods should a Belgian Malinois never eat?

Just like there are berries and plants that we can’t eat, there are also foods that our dogs can’t eat.

Some foods that are toxic to dogs are:

There are many more foods that your dog can’t eat, and there are also some they shouldn’t eat, like sugar and butter.

If your pup eats something they shouldn’t, Spot plans can cover eligible visits to licensed vets, and we also offer a 24/7 telehealth service powered by whiskerDocs for our members to use.

Exercising tips to keep your dog to stay fit and healthy

Belgian Malinoises are active and energetic dogs. Their three favorite things to do are to exercise, work, and spend time with you, preferably all at the same time. You can grant them their wish by taking them with you for a long walk or jog.

You could also play catch with them or train them to do an agility course. You can bring this dog on a hike or bicycle ride or even teach them tracking or herding.

There are many ways for you to spend time with your pup and give them the daily exercise they need, but it does mean that you need to spend a lot of time with them. They aren’t dogs who like being alone. They want to be with you all the time.

Belgian Malinois life stages

Puppy: 3-8 months. Cute, energetic, and friendly, puppies tend to have a stubbier nose than their older selves. They sleep a lot to help themselves grow, but they are still bundles of energy.

Adult: 8 months to 9 years. A fully grown adult is going to need a lot of time and attention, even though they aren’t a puppy anymore. Their goal will be to hang out with you all the time and get you to exercise with them.

Senior: 9 years to end of life. Senior Malinoises are finally starting to slow down, but they’ll still be loyal as ever. They’ll follow you around the house as much as they can.