Fun Facts About Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is one of the most widely used working dogs in America. They are used for about every job a dog can have and excel at challenging working positions.

Many unique qualities qualify them for this work and traits that relate directly to the jobs they have. So, you may be asking yourself what makes the breed so special. Well, there are plenty of ways the Belgian

Malinois stands out above the other types of dogs out there.

Here are just a few of their talents and some interesting facts about this type of dog in particular:

Why is Belgian Malinois the new favorite breed for police and military work?

There are a few reasons why these dogs make excellent professional working dogs. The first reason in their incredible physical agility. The second is that the breed is known for having exceedingly high energy and remarkable endurance.

Next, the trainability of the dog makes them perfect for dogs who need to know how to manage a variety of tasks.

Another reason for Malinois being the perfect police dog is that they have an unrivaled work ethic. Also, this breed of dog is known everywhere for their level of intelligence and self-control.

Finally, they have great health, especially when it comes to common hereditary conditions. So, let us take a closer look at each of these five traits.

The physical agility of the Malinois

This specific lineage of canine is well known for its incredible physical agility. They have proven that they are capable of anything. Which makes them far surpass the previous police dog favorite, the German Shepard.

While the Shepard is nothing to scoff at and can perform some great physical feats, they simply cannot perform on the same level as the Malinois.

The latter is much more compact and weighs in at about 60-70% of the average Shepard’s weight. They can run faster, jump higher, and do much more for longer periods.

The Belgian Malinois has managed to perform some amazing feats in competition settings. From being able to walk a slackline or tight rope, to be able to climb over very tall walls or even into large trees. They are just all-around one of the most physically agile breeds in existence.

The unmatched energy level of the Malinois

This breed is widely known for its energy levels. While this is great for dogs who need to work for 12 hours or longer shifts, it is not the best for a family dog for a busy and distracted family. If they do not get the proper amount of exercise time every single day, they may become neurotic or destructive.

When it comes to doing the job of a police or military dog, however, they can handle the most strenuous working conditions. From chasing suspect after suspect during a police officer’s shift to staying in stride with a military unit as they are out on a mission, these dogs can keep up and often even set the pace.

The breed is one that was created by only breeding specific handpicked pairs. These couples combined just for passing along certain traits. These characteristics eventually would make them the most suitable breed available for a wide variety of working conditions.

One of these traits bred into the lineage of the Malinois was a high energy level and stamina. Those specimens which displayed an excessive amount of energy and elevated level of endurance, have often made the best choices for breeding pairs.

These types of dogs and have passed this trait on to further generations. Now, after many generations of this being a specifically sought-after trait, they have the highest energy levels of any dog.

Also, because of this highly selective breeding, the breed is capable of enduring through years in many different – and very difficult – jobs.

The trainability of the breed is a trait they have received vast amounts of praise for

The level of training that is possible with these dogs is incredible. This is partly because of their unmatched ball/toy drive. They quickly and happily will perform any task to receive the reward of a few minutes with their favorite toy.

With the properly experienced trainer in charge of their education, these dogs can be trained in every task that they might face during a workday. For police work, this could include everything from sniffing out narcotics or explosives to tracking down and capturing a fugitive.

The same dog that knows how to manage those tasks might also know how to find someone lost in the woods and bring help back to that position. It all boils down to the affinity of the dog to want their reward, i.e., their ball or another favorite toy.

The Malinois breed, as a rule, have a remarkably high drive to get that all-important toy. This means that they possess a drive to do anything necessary to please their handler to get it.

Combine that attribute with a few other traits they have, and you end up with one of the most highly trainable breeds around. These dogs excel at both police or military work and also at various canine competitions.

They take part in and often dominate – competitions ranging from obstacle courses to dock diving and everything in between. This is all made possible by a combination of their agility and their trainability.

The Malinois has an unparalleled work ethic

With the need to perform task after task required to hold the job of police or military canine, a breed must have an exceedingly high work ethic. The Belgian Malinois is almost unmatched in the work ethic they are endowed with.

These dogs always want to work and are always ready to go. They want to go every single day and perform the jobs they know how to do. Their willingness to work makes them the perfect dog for police.

They are perfect for officers who need to go out every day and do their job regardless of any external conditions. Rain, wind, snow, or sun, they want to go out there and perform their duties day in and day out without ever wanting to take a vacation.

Occasionally, certain people may feel sorry for the dogs which fulfill working positions. These people think the dogs are forced into doing them. This could not be further from the truth. A Malinois, if not allowed to do their job consistently, would quickly turn into a neurotic mess or may become depressed.

They want nothing more than to complete a minimum number of tasks every single day. Trainers often abide by the 100 commands rule when working with Malinois pups. This means that they have to give the dog an absolute minimum of 100 commands per day.

Without this outlet, they do not keep their same happy demeanor and peppy disposition. They not only want to work, they actually need to work.

Excellent pets for the right owner

Which is another reason they would only do well in a non-working position as a family dog with just the right family? It would have to be a busy family, but busy in ways that include the dog in their daily activities. These are not the types of dogs who want to lounge all day in the backyard or on the couch.

Nor should they be left at home while their owners go to work all day five days a week. If placed into this type of role, then they would feel unfulfilled and would begin to act out. So, these dogs are best suited to working positions such a police K9 or as an addition to a busy military unit.

The intelligence level of the Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is not only extremely intelligent, but they also know when to hold their place.

They can be let loose on a suspect in a police chase with the confidence that their handler can get them to stop with a single word. Or, they can hold a suspect in place with their ferocious bark from a few feet away while never biting or attacking.

This is quality is different than the German Shepard and other past police dog breeds.

The past breeds were trained to be aggressive, hard to handle, and unpredictable. Instead, while using the Malinois, police have been able to have a dog trained in catching and attacking while still being able to take them into a classroom.

The amount of self-control these dogs possess is shockingly high

These tough working dogs can be trusted to do only what they are told and have the level of intelligence to know and respond to their commands thoroughly. They will only act when told to do so and will only do what they are asked to do and nothing else or more.

This attribute has been one of the many reasons the breed is quickly sweeping the industries of police and military K9s. Plus, they have been able to overtake the private defensive dog industry as watchdogs and for personal security positions.

The reason for this is because they can be trained on specifically what they need to do for a certain position. Once trained, they will maintain the self-control not to get distracted from their job. Also, they will hold their position until told to break from it, which for police and military personnel is a must.

If a dog is told to watch over and protect a certain area or suspect, then they can be trusted to maintain their guard duties without fail.

This is extremely important in real-world situations when soldiers or officers need a dog watching their backs. Which makes their intelligence and self-control just more traits that make this breed excel in these official types of positions.

The Malinois is a healthier breed than their predecessors

The Belgian Malinois breed has fewer problems with hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia than the German Shepard. This fact sets them apart for a working position because their careers last longer on average.

The reason for this is the Shepard was commonly bred for its appearance and other show qualities. Instead of a function, many breeders of German Shepards were focused on their form.

The Malinois, on the other hand, was bred for a long time for assisting farmers and shepherds with their daily work. Only dogs who had lasted through a long and tough working life were picked to breed. So, this means that only proven dogs were chosen to make the next generation of workers once they retired.

Which is the reason the health problems that plague many other breeds were bred out of the Malinois? This could only happen after generations of this type of only allowing proven workers to breed.

The Belgians who cared for, trained, and raised these dogs were looking for the healthiest, most agile, and intelligent dogs they could make. This search led to the ultra-healthy, intelligent, and capable Belgian Malinois breed.

With the amount of money invested in training each police dog, departments wanted the biggest returns on their investments. This equated to having police dogs who would be able to maintain working health for as many years as possible.

The German Shepard only lasted 2-3 years working as an officer. After completing their extensive training, Malinois, on the other hand, commonly reached careers of 3-5 years. This made them an economical choice for police departments and military units all over.

Their healthy genetics and less predisposition to ailments have led to their explosion in the working dog market.

A quick final synopsis of the breed, and a couple of stray facts

The Belgian Malinois was named after a town near which they originated. The town of Malines is a French translation of that town and how the breed came to be known as the Malinois.

They have three similar sibling breeds that are only differentiated by their fur. These other breeds are also all named after the town in Brussel near which they originated. The Belgian Tervuren is the long-haired version that is named after the town of Tervuren.

Then there is the black long-haired Groenendael, who is named after the town of Groenendael. Finally, there is the curly-haired Laekenois breed that is named after the town of Laeken. All were created, bred, and raised to be shepherds for the farmers in the areas near those towns.

They were each bred for slightly different climates, which explains the different coats across the sibling breeds.

These others have slowly been making an appearance here in America. Although, none of the others have reached the coveted position that the Malinois has. This stand-out breed has established itself as the ultimate working dog. So, it is possible that someday we will see the others at our local police stations.

Until then, Malinois will continue to dominate the police and military dog market. They will remain in the lead of the working dogs’ industry as the ultimate working dogs.

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