The Malinois is one of the four Belgian shepherds. This breed is the most common within the military and police force, as well as guards/watchmen/custodians (whichever word is used) and other tougher tasks that a dog can perform. In previous videos we’ve established that this is not a dog for everyone, and today, we’ll dive into these amazing dogs temperament and explain more about why this is a dog who shouldn’t be with just any family.
The Malinois has a background as a herding and guarding dog. This makes him extremely alert on what’s going on around him, and equally extremely quick to react. Now, there’s a difference between herding a flock of livestock or sheep and walking the streets in any big city. What are amazing traits on the countryside can be less so in any other circumstances. Consequences of this can be a Malinois nipping at someone’s heels, wanting to chase bikes, rollerblades, cars, small children running and playing, not to mention smaller animals like cats and rabbits. Not a very charming side with the Malinois, especially if you don’t know how to deal with it.
A Malinois is very protective. He’ll protect you, your family and your property until the end. Unfortunately, this can mean that he’ll also protect his own toys, chewing bones and sticks. He needs serious training to let go of what he considers his.
Like most breeds, the Malinois is quite contradictory. On the one hand, they are a very serious breed with their protective and guarding skills. On the other hand, they are very playful – but they do play roughly and brusque. Therefore, keeping a Malinois in your house if you have young kids or toddlers may not be the best idea. They are also extremely loving and loyal to their family, but can be reserved to strangers.
The Malinois is not a dangerous breed. No dog is dangerous by nature. Some of them, however, like the Malinois, were bred for tasks that needs traits that make them more or less suitable for certain circumstances. The Malinois is best suited for the person or family who is active, athletic and knowledgeable about dogs, dog behaviour and dog training – preferably on elite levels. This is needed, especially since these amazing dogs are so quick between thought and action. You need to be at least as fast as your dog when it comes to training, because otherwise he’ll always be ahead of you in his mind. And if he’s ahead of you, his ideas of what should be done may not be in line with yours.
In some circles it’s being said that the show lines are more dangerous than the working lines. Why? Because they are more prone to fear-based aggression than aggression based on dominance. The working line Malinois is very self-confident, brave and have a very low survival instinct. This means that he’ll do whatever you ask of him, no matter if there’s danger and risk for his life. A good advice is not to abuse this in your dog, if you don’t know what you’re doing and can support him all the way.
As if all this wasn’t enough, a Malinois has a never ending energy. Where most other dogs like to sleep, your Malinois will want to be active all day. He wants to stay busy, preferably every second, or he’ll get bored. A bored Malinois has a tendency to chew and bite, so be prepared for a destroyed home unless you keep your dog physically and mentally challenged for large portions of the day. If he doesn’t have a job, he’ll make sure to find one, and you may not agree with his choice. It’s easy to say that the Malinois is one of the, if not THE most restless dog on the planet when it comes to the need to work. As an adolescent, you’ll need to teach him how to be calm and relax, since that’s a period in his life where he’ll be extra much of everything.
If you never had a Malinois before and am thinking of getting one, a good tip is to consider a female before a male. The females are said to be softer and easier to handle than the males who can be more messy and difficult during their adolescence. A male’ll want to measure up to other dogs, their own family members including the children and other animals, other people… not to mention the Malinois male has an extreme sex drive. This needs to be curbed, or you’ll end up with a dog whose nose is buried in the ground and who’s peeing everywhere just to let everyone know he’s been there.
The Malinois is an amazing dog. But he’ll only be amazing if you, his human companion, knows how to bring it out of him. It does take a certain personality to be able to stand these bundles of energy, not to mention know how to bring out the best in them. There’s a certain mental resistance in a working dog, especially of this caliber. A meek, more timid person is not the right human for these glorious dogs. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know yourself well enough to know if you’re the right human for this breed, or not.