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Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Differences

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Differences

German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are popular dog breeds across the world. Both were bred to herd sheep and other livestock as well as work with the military and police force. Hence, these dog breeds are highly intelligent and trainable. Moreover, they share certain similarities, which makes it difficult for a lot of people to differentiate the two breeds. It is imperative to observe their physical attributes carefully to do the same successfully. So, let’s compare Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd to understand the similarities as well as differences in them.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: Highlighting key differences

The below table highlights the key differences between the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois:

 Belgian MalinoisGerman Shepherd
Lifespan14–16 years7–10 years
Coat TypeFlat and straight double coatDense and rough outer coat and soft undercoat
Coat ColourFawn or mahogany with black tipped hairsAlmost all colours including sable, black, gray, blue, etc.
BodyLeanMuscular
Tail StructureLong tail with a upward curvePoofy and fluffy tail
Ear ShapeBlack, triangular, and pointyErect and slightly triangular

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: Physical characteristics

As mentioned before, the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois look similar, yet they have multiple unique features. Let’s explore them in brief:

  • Coat

German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs have a double coat. However, what sets the two apart is its texture. German Shepherds have a dense coat that is generally medium to long in length. While the outer coat is thick, rough, and straight, the undercoat is soft. Belgian Malinois, on the other hand, are short-haired breeds with a thick undercoat with slightly longer fur around its neck.

  • Size

German Shepherds are larger in size as compared to Belgian Malinois. Check out the below table to understand the difference between an average German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois’ height and weight:

 Belgian MalinoisGerman Shepherd  
 MaleFemaleMaleFemale
Height24–26 inches22–24 inches24–26 inches22–24 inches
Weight27–36 kgs18–27 kgs29–41 kgs22–31 kgs

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: Personality traits

Since the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois were bred for herding, they can have similar personality traits. Let’s understand the difference between the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois’s temperament, trainability, and sociability.

  • Temperament

German Shepherds are popular for their protective and confident demeanour. Though they are extremely loyal to their pet parents, this dog breed can be a tad reserved around strangers. Belgian Malinois are known for their intense drive and focus, which makes them an ideal herding dog. Moreover, they too are protective and loyal towards their pet parents. However, when compared to German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois are more aloof and reserved towards strangers.

  • Trainability

German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois were bred to be working dogs; hence, both are highly intelligent and trainable. They excel at various tasks and are often used for military work. If your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois have already mastered basic training, you can easily prepare them for dog sports and events through advanced training. However, employ positive training methods to ensure that your pooch grows into a confident dog. Make use of PEDIGREE® dog treats as these four-legged angels are often motivated by love and food. Our range of dog treats can support you in training and bonding with your pet while also providing it with all the necessary nutrients.

  • Sociability

Though German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are loyal to their families, they tend to be guarding and territorial. Thus, these dog breeds can often seem a tad leery around strangers. However, if trained well from their puppyhood, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois will learn to socialise with other humans and dogs to a certain degree.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: Overall well-being

The German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are bred to be healthy dogs. However, they are still exposed to countless diseases. So, let’s take a look at their energy levels and health concerns in this section:

  • Energy level

Since German Shepherds have a high energy level, they require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Similarly, Belgian Malinois too are highly energetic, making them one of the most active dog breeds. If you are planning to adopt either of these dogs, ensure that you have the time to exercise and train with it to prevent boredom and any kind of destructive behaviour. Since these dogs require excessive workout, go for high-protein dog foods from the PEDIGREE® Pro range. Wondering why?

Certain exercises can cause your dog’s muscles to contract and stretch, leading to muscle tears. Amino acids present in protein will ensure muscle repair and growth. Hence, a protein-rich meal is mandatory for post-exercise recovery.

  • Health concerns

German Shepherds are prone to certain health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and digestive problems like bloat. They may also be susceptible to genetic disorders like von Willebrand's disease and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Belgian Malinois, on the other hand, are a healthier breed. However, they too are prone to diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and skin allergies.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: Which one should you adopt?

While both are extremely loyal dogs, there are certain differences that can make one of the two more appropriate for you and your family. As a to-be dog parent, you must consider factors like your availability, kids in the house, other pets, etc. German Shepherds are more child friendly as compared to Belgian Malinois. However, the latter is more independent than the former. Which means, German Shepherds are more likely to develop conditions like separation anxiety. So, if you have small kids in your house, German Shepherds are a more ideal option, whereas if your family’s lifestyle demands staying away from home for long hours, you must go for a Belgian Malinois.

Now that you know the subtle difference between these similar dog breeds, it will be easier for you to differentiate the two. Moreover, with the help of this guide, you can also pick the right dog breed for you and your family.

Interested in learning about all the different types of dog breeds? Our breeds category page has everything you need to know about them.

Frequently asked questions on Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

Which is stronger: Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd?

While both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are extremely strong, the former is stronger. It can even break bones with its teeth, making German Shepherds the best fit for military and police work.

Are Belgian Malinois more intelligent than German Shepherds?

Who is more aggressive: Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd?

Are German Shepherds more calm than Belgian Malinois?

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