Malinois make excellent protection dogs and one of their breed standards is to be naturally protective of their owner and their property without being overly aggressive. They were originally used to herd and protect sheep. This breed is also highly intelligent. They’re quick to pick up on new commands and will do anything that is asked of them in return for some praise. They also form strong bonds with their handler and their families. This makes them ideal as protection dogs as long as you’re willing to put in the time. They need a lot of training from an incredibly young age. Obedience training for this breed should begin at eight weeks and they should have extensive training up until six months, but it needs to be ongoing even after that. These dogs need a lot of mental exercise to be truly happy. They’re great for canine sports such as agility trials, tracking, and herding.
These dogs are great if you live an active lifestyle and are looking for an exercise buddy. You’ll spend four to five hours a day outside with this breed. They require vigorous exercise and are not suited for those that don’t lead an active lifestyle. Physical activity is just as important for training with this breed. It takes both for them to be truly happy. Malinois will need a large yard to roam in, because they require so much time outdoors. These dogs will require a lot of time and attention from you. If you’re not home a lot or work long hours and can’t dedicate a large portion of your day to your canine companion, this breed is not for you. They’re prone to unwanted behaviors when left alone due to boredom or separation anxiety.
Coat care for Malinois is very easy. They have a short, double coat that doesn’t require professional grooming. You’ll easily be able to maintain their coat with biweekly brushing. Though, because of their double coat, they will shed a lot in the spring and autumn. They’ll need some extra brushing while shedding to help keep the amount of fur in your home under control. Their coat is also water and dirt resistant which reduces the amount of bathing you’ll need to do! Depending on the dog’s lifestyle, they can be bathed as much as weekly or as little as every six weeks. You also won’t need a lot of fancy combs and brushes to get the job done.
This breed is also relatively healthy, but prone to some of the same hereditary disorders as other purebreds.. Hip dysplasia is the most common bone disorder in purebred dogs and the Malinois is no exception. But, this can be warded off by good breeding even if it can’t be ruled out all together. Malinois are a large deep-chested breed which means they’re at risk for bloat. Bloat is caused when a dog gulps down a lot of air while eating. It is cause for a vet trip, because it is life threatening if left untreated, and can cause other problems, but it’s also relatively easy to avoid. Make sure your dog isn’t overfed and that they’re fed moderate meals twice a day. There are also slow feeding bowls on the market to help prevent dogs from eating too quickly. These bowls keep the dog from being able to take in large mouths of food quickly by using crevices or fingers that don’t allow the dog to dig their snout down into the bowl. Other conditions to look out for are: eye issues, sensitivity to anesthetics and some immunisations, and dermatitis.
So, to recap the pros for this breed, they are: good protection dogs, devoted to their families, great for active people, very intelligent, great for canine sports, very healthy, and their coat is easy to care for
The cons are that they: have a very high prey drive, aren’t suitable for small children and pets, not a good fit for inactive people or those who work a lot, require a lot of training, are prone to separation anxiety, and can be standoffish with other dogs.