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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is growing in popularity, but new owners might want to spend a little extra time reading up on this breed before diving right into a new puppy or rescue. While certainly one of the most versatile breeds, the Malinois can be a lot of dog to handle. Whether you’re looking for basic information or some interesting facts, check out this list!

#1 – They Only Have Short Coats

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Left to right: Belgian Malinois, Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Groenendael.

The vast majority of Belgian Malinois enthusiasts focus on the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) breed standard for the Malinois. Their home country of Belgium recognizes four variations of the Belgian Shepherd. The short coated variety is a Belgian Malinois, the long coated a Tervuren, a long coated black dog is a Groenendael and the curly coated is the Laekenois. What this means is that if two short coated Belgian Malinois produce a long-coated puppy, that puppy will be considered the breed Belgian Tervuren. This way of separating the breeds gives far more opportunity to open up the breeding pool and produce healthier, better performing dogs.

#2 – The Breed That Caught Osama Bin Laden

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Photo by Andrew Campbell via Flickr.

The Belgian Malinois has been one of the most widely used working dogs for hundreds of years, but it recently came to spotlight when Seal Team Six used a Malinois to hunt and capture Osama Bin Laden. This spotlight is both beneficial and detrimental. In one sense, it shows the true ability of the breed to be an outstanding and reliable working dog. However, because they are such working dogs, they are not always suitable for pet homes and their popularity might find them there.

#3 – Excels At Almost All Types of Work

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Photo by Jorge Arcas via Flickr.

The Belgian Malinois has been used in and excelled at almost all variations of work, including police and military suspect apprehension, explosives and narcotic detection, search and rescue and service dogs. They also make incredible feats in many dog sports, including Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring, Mondioring, agility, obedience, Rally, dock diving, field and retrieving trials, lure coursing and more. 

#4 – One of the Healthiest Breeds

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Because the breed is primarily a working dog, it has some of the most extensive health testing of any breed. While veterinary tests and diagnostics can rule out genetic disorders, being able to working demanding jobs like police and military work requires that a dog be both physically and mentally sound for many, many years. Because unfit dogs cannot be used for work, they do not get bred, making the Malinois one of the healthiest dog breeds in existence. 

#5 – Different Bloodlines Mean Different Dogs

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All breeds of dogs have various bloodlines, or they would lose potential mates and create unhealthy animals. But none of the breeds vary quite as differently in their temperament as the Malinois bloodlines do. There are first show and working line dogs, meaning dogs that have generations bred for work or dogs with generations bred for comformation show rings. This creates a significant difference in the looks as well as the temperament of the dogs. Further, Belgian bred dogs are somewhat different than French or Dutch bred dogs. Learning more about the differences in bloodlines will greatly help you chose the right Malinois for you. 

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