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HISTORICAL DIFFERENCES A guardian breed by design, the Doberman is named after its creator, the German tax collector Karl Dobermann. The taxman needed an effective and obedient protection dog to take along on his rounds. A dog whose high intimidation factor would naturally discourage any attack to Mr. Dobermann’s person. But none of the breeds available in Germany around that time quite fit the bill. So, in 1890, the taxman decided to take matters into his own hands. To get the dog he needed, he crossed Rottweilers and German Pinschers with Great Danes, English Greyhounds and probably a few other breeds.  His efforts were a huge success, and Mr. Dobermann created a strong, intimidating and yet deeply loyal personal protector who rapidly gained recognition all over the world.  The Malinois has a very different history: Developed in the late 1800s by professional Shepherd Adrien Janssens, the breed was tasked with herding flocks of sheep. It was only towards the end of the 19th century that these dogs were given the chance to prove themselves outside of their original line of work: As the sheep population in Belgium declined, the Malinois participated in dressage trials that tested the dog's intelligence, obedience, and agility. Quickly, the Malinois’ extreme talent and versatility became obvious, and it was the first breed to join the Belgian police force. The rest is history and today, the Malinois has overtaken the Doberman and even the German Shepherd as service dog for the Armed Forces, as Search and Rescue dog, as high-level sports dog and as Therapy dog. DIFFERENCES IN LOOKS Both breeds are large, light-footed, and elegant dogs. They have short coats and athletic, well-proportioned bodies. In colour, Dobies are almost exclusively black – or chocolate - with clearly distinguished tan, rust, or mahogany markings. Their height at the wither ranges from 26 - 28 ins in male and from 24 - 27 ins in female individuals. That is about 66 – 72 cm for males and 61 – 68 cm for females. Their heads are narrow and elongated with no marked stop and long muzzles. Traditionally, the Dobie used to have cropped ears and docked tails, but the practise of cropping and docking has become illegal in many countries.  Contrary to the Dobie, the shape of the Malinois’ heads, tails and entire bodies is typical for the Shepherd breeds, and they bear a strong resemblance to working line German Shepherds. The ears are erect and the tails slightly bushy and of medium length.  Belgian Malinois come in the colours Tan, Mahogany and Black-tipped Fawn. In size, the ideal for adult males is between 61 and 66 cm and between 56 and 61 cms for females. (That is between 24 and 26 inches for males and between 22 and 24 inches for females.)   INTELLIGENCE & TRAINABILITY DIFFERENCES Even more than Dobies, Malis are ever ready to work, which makes them extremely easy to train. Both dogs thrive when provided the opportunity to perform. Highly intelligent dogs, they love nothing more than flexing their physical and mental muscles. Which is why lots of mental stimulation should be provided for both breeds.  One possibility to keep them sharp mentally is working them in the fields of obedience, tracking, guarding or canine sports. But also, regular walks in areas with lots of different smells, sights and sounds are excellent ways to provide both physical and mental stimulation for your Dobie or Malinois. Both breeds are exceptionally smart canine athletes who can be trained to extremely high levels of obedience, guarding, and tracking, to name only a few examples. These dogs are top-performers and utterly amazing to train. Whilst neither of them is stubborn, the Dobie is far more sensitive and therefore needs an experienced hand to reach similarly high levels of performance as the Malinois.  TEMPERAMENT DIFFERENCES In their temperament, these breeds are quite similar – active, keen, and alert outside and when working. Whilst Dobermans are naturally calm and composed in a home environment, Malis are not, unless specifically trained to behave well indoors: They are not the best choice for a house dog, simply because of their extremely high energy levels.  Dobies, on the other hand, are so calm and settled indoors that they even make good apartment dogs. Just like the Mali, they are also natural guardians who can and will protect you and your home. Both dogs can get along great with children, but the Malinois has the tendency to be very boisterous in its play and can accidentally injure a child.  Both breeds are perfect for active owners who love to take their dogs on outings.Dobermans in particular are very people-oriented dogs who should be allowed to live with their family. When it comes to their behaviour towards strangers, both Malis and Dobies are reserved and aloof towards people they do not know.   EXERCISE AND GROOMING DIFFERENCES The beautiful double-coats of the Belgian Malinois require quite a bit more work on the grooming front than the Dobies’ short single coats. Therefore, Malis should be brushed daily to minimize shedding – and multiple times a day in shedding season. Dobies do fine with one or two brushes a week with a soft bristle brush. In terms of exercise – both breeds need lots and lots of it! Without sufficient, vigorous daily exercise, these high energy dogs can become disturbingly vocal and destructive. Especially when left to their own devices. Daily runs off-leash are a must, and these can be further intensified by bringing a throwing-toy along for the walk (like a ball, frisbee or Kong). Apart from playing fetch, you can tire your dogs out by engaging them with flirt-pole or by letting the dog run next to your bicycle. Both the Doberman and the Malinois love to play with all kinds of biting toys as well as balls, Kong toys, frisbees and flirt-poles.  And this brings us to the end of our discussion of these incredible guardian breeds - the beautiful Belgian Malinois and the elegant Doberman. Both dogs are extremely intelligent and loyal. They get along well with people and other dogs, provided they have been socialised and trained properly.

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