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Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch either 'Mechelse' (from Mechelen) or 'Mechelaar' (one from Mechelen).

Appearance
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois is recognized by its short brownish yellow coat and its black ears that stick straight up, cheeks, and muzzle.

Coat and color
Due to their history as a working dog (i.e. being bred for function over form) Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color of grey to fawn to mahogany with a black mask and ears, and with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog's underside, breeching, and inside the legs.

The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coat & color: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois with long hair, the Laekenois is the same color, only it may lack the black mask & ears, and has wirehair, the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black. There are (occasionally and historically) solid black, black-and-tan (as in a Doberman or as in a German Shepherd Dog), or other colored short-haired Belgian Shepherds, but these are not technically Malinois.

If a dog represented as a Malinios is brindle (clear stripes of different colored hair) it is probably a Dutch Shepherd Dog or a mixed breed, although the possibility exists that it is a "throwback" to a common continental shepherd ancestor.

 

Belgian MalinoisOther names: Belgian Malinois, Chien de Berger Belge, Mechelaar, Mechelse Herder (Mechelse Scheper), Pastor Belga Malinois
Country of origin: Belgium

Size
Male Malinois are about 24-26 in. (61-66 cm), while females are about 22-24 in. (56-61 cm) at the withers. Female Malinois are said to average 25-30 kg (55-65 lb), while males are heavier at 29-34 kg (65-75 lb). Malinois can range from stocky to slender, but are always squarely built.

Working Dog
In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well as in the US, the Malinois is bred primarily as a working dog for personal protection, detection, police work, search and rescue, and sport work (Belgian Ring, Schutzhund, French Ring, Mondio Ring). The United States Secret Service exclusively uses the breed.

The dog is also used extensively by Unit Oketz of the Israel Defense Forces. Oketz favors the more slight build of the Malinois to the German Shepherd and Rottweiler, which were employed formerly.

Health
The lifespan of the Belgian Malinois is 10-14 years, and there are a number of health problems and disorders that are associated with the breed. This includes cataracts, epilepsy, thyroid problems, PRA, HD, and pannus.