Belgian Malinois Breed - Dog & Puppy - Information & Characteristics

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois, also known as the Malwa dog, is one of the four Belgian herding breeds. Mals are medium-to-large-sized muscular dogs that are smart and incredibly intelligent. This high-energy dog breed needs a strenuous amount of physical activity every day along with some mental stimulation. Otherwise, Belgian Malinois are low-maintenance dogs that are known for their strong work ethics and wit. While they are the perfect pick for police and military K-9 units, Mals’ playful and loyal personality makes them a great family pet too. 

These dogs are also perfect for pet parents looking to bring home a furry companion that they can train with at high energy levels. Belgian Malinois love mental stimulation and thrive on structured activities. Keep reading to know more about this breed. 

Key specifications of a Belgian Malinois

Keep these factors in mind before you bring a Belgian Malinois home:


18 to 36 kg 


22 to 26 inches


14 to 16 years 


Double coat 

Note: The weight and height mentioned on the table is of a full-grown Mal and not of a Belgian Malinois puppy.

Physical appearance of Belgian Malinois

A Belgian Malinios’ alert gaze and strong stance are enough to let anyone know that it is ready for action. Mals sport a short and dense double coat that is found in two colours: fawn and mahogany. If you find a brindle-coloured Belgian Malinois puppy, you are one of the few to bring home a Mal with the rarest coat colour. 

The Belgian Malinois dog breed is often confused with the German Shepherd dog breed because of their build, similar personality traits, and characteristics. If you want to be sure that you are bringing a purebred Belgian Malinois home, look out for these physical characteristics: 

  • Triangular erect ears that sit high on the head 
  • Oval-shaped brown or dark brown eyes 
  • Pointed muzzle and a fluffy black nose

If you are still unable to differentiate between the two, check out our article on Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd.

Belgian Malinois personality traits

Belgian Malinois thrive on physical activity. Malwa dogs are extremely active and make for perfect pets for parents who love to be spontaneous and are always on the go. They respond to human commands instantly and are incredibly obedient. Many Belgian Malinois puppies grow up to join the military or the police academy and help in search and rescue missions. 

Belgian Malinois make for the ultimate guard dogs but it's highly recommended that you supervise your children around them. If you wish to raise Malwa dogs around kids in your home, be well aware that their compatibility depends on how early you start training and socialising your pups. Either way, this breed can chase anything that moves because of its high prey drive. Hence, it's best to keep an eye on your kids around them. 

Do Belgian Malinois need training?

Yes, Belgian Malinois puppies need to be trained and socialised. These dogs have bright minds and an extremely high prey drive. They can start chasing anything as soon as their instinct kicks in – cars, other dogs, toddlers, etc. Training them at a young age will help you control them and avoid any unwanted accidents. Malwa dogs are also surprisingly known to be very sensitive and pet parents must use a lot of physical reinforcements to train them. Praises, dog treats, and toys go a long way with these beasts. 

Start with basic obedience training and once your Belgian Malinois has learned how to walk on a leash, start socialising it. 

How to care for Belgian Malinois?

Here’s how you can care for your Belgian Malinois dog: 

  • Health issues 

Fortunately, Malwa dogs are healthy dogs that have an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years. Just like every breed, these dogs are susceptible to common health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease, and cancer. 

  • Grooming 

Luckily, a Belgian Malinois doesn’t need a lot of attention when it comes to grooming. Use a soft bristle brush or mitts to comb its coat and remove any dead hair. They shed during spring and fall, which is when you will have to pay extra attention to grooming. Other than that, bathe and trim your dog’s nails as and when required. Brush its teeth at least a few times a week if not daily. 

  • Physical activity 

Belgian Malinois dogs thrive on strenuous physical activity. These dogs like to run a lot and would love it if you partake in these activity sessions. If you have an outdoor space, like a lawn or a backyard, your Malwa dog will thoroughly enjoy its life. This dog needs at least 2 30-minute-long sessions of excessive physical activity. 

  • Nutritional requirements

Since Belgian Malinois indulge in heavy work out, their food needs to be rich in nutrients. Hence, it is recommended to opt for a dog food that is formulated for your Mal’s age and breed size. Reach out to a vet to create the ideal meal plan for your floof.

A brief history of Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois originate from the city of Malines in Belgium and are very closely linked to other herding dogs. Mals were highly appreciated as star herders of livestock in Belgium and established themselves as the ultimate herding canines. At present, these dogs are appointed as search and rescue mission service dogs by the police and military.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Belgian Malinois a good family dog?

Yes, Belgian Malinois make for good family dogs provided they are trained and socialised at a young age. 

How much exercise does a Belgian Malinois need?

Are Belgian Malinois easy to train?

What are common health issues in Belgian Malinois?

Are Belgian Malinois good with other pets?

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