The Belgian Malinois (also simply called the “Mal”) is a working dog. They are commonly used for detective and police work, search and rescue efforts, and protection, as they are extremely intelligent, dedicated, confident, and hard working. This breed has the ability to sniff out explosive devices and locate missing persons, hence the reason why they are so often used for the above-mentioned jobs.
This breed has a great deal of energy and requires training, lots of activity, and attention. They are extremely loyal to their owners and will do anything they can to protect them. If they aren’t provided with the right amount of stimulation, however, they can become troublesome. With the proper training, a Belgian Malinois make great family companions and can get along with other animals, and people of all ages.
To learn more about caring for a Belgian Malinois, including feeding, health, and grooming, keep on reading for valuable information.
Belgian Malinois Food and Health
Like all dog breeds, the Belgian Malinois requires a diet that is made up of quality animal proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber. They aren’t particularly picky about the type of meat they eat, so they will do well with duck, chicken, fish, and turkey. To ensure your dog is getting the nutrition he requires, feeding him a premium-quality commercial dog food is recommended. Make sure that the food you choose has natural meat as the first ingredient, and avoid meat by-products and fillers, as they can cause health issues. Some options include Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice, Diamond Naturals Real Meat, and Taste of the Wild Grain Free Dog Food.
It’s recommended that a Mal eats between 2 and 3 cups of food a day, split into two separate meals. Of course, the age, size, and lifestyle of your dog will determine the amount you should feed him. For example, puppies and highly active dogs should eat more, while older dogs that are more sedentary should eat less. If you aren’t sure how much to feed your dog, speak with your veterinarian.
In regard to a Belgian Malinois’ health, this breed is considered relatively healthy; however, they are genetically predisposed to certain conditions. Health concerns include elbow and hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. Some Mals have sensitivities to allergens. Since they are such high-energy and active dogs, a Mal can also be prone to injuries. To offset the cost of vet care, consider investing in quality pet insurance coverage. There are many reputable companies that offer affordable coverage, including Allstate, State Farm, and Geico. Also, check with local insurance providers, as you may be able to find more affordable policies in your area. For example, Trupanion offers great coverage in Washington State, and PetFirst provides policies in New York.
Leashes and Collars for your Belgian Malinois
A collar and leash are musts for any type of dog, including the Belgian Malinois. A collar provides a way to display your pup’s identification and vaccination information, and also serves as a tool for training and to keep him safe while walking.
When selecting a collar for your Mal, fit is extremely important. Make sure that you can fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. Also, the material, as well as the closure should be considered. A durable material, such as leather or paracord, will prevent the collar from being damaged by the dog’s strength, and a snap closure offers will prevent the chances of the collar being pulled off.
A harness can be used with a Mal for walking and training, if you prefer. Harnesses distribute weight evenly and prevent neck injuries. Just like a collar, the size and construction of the harness is important. For instance, a collar made of nylon that features a padded interior will offer comfort and support.
For a leash, choose something that is functional and comfortable to handle. For example, if you are training a puppy, a shorter lead will prevent him from walking too far and ignoring commands, while a longer lead offers more freedom for a well-trained adult dog. Strong materials, such as paracord, nylon, and chain, are recommended, as they will withstand the strength of this dog.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Belgian Malinois
You are definitely going to want to invest in a crate for a Belgian Malinois. Not only are they great training tools (and this breed absolutely requires training), but they also offer the security of a den, which this breed enjoys.
When selecting a crate, size matters. Choose one that will allow your dog to stand and turn around comfortably. Measure the size of your dog from his nose to the tip of his tail, and from his head to the floor, and add 4 inches to each measurement to determine what size crate you’ll need. Also, keep in mind that if you have a puppy, you’ll need to adjust the size as he grows. A cost-effective option is a crate that features a divider that can be used to change the amount of room inside the crate.
For a bed, opt for a pillow or bolster, such as this Pillow Dog Bed or the JOYELF Dog Bed. Mals like to spread out while they sleep, and this type of bed will allow your dog to do so. Also, the material should be durable, especially for puppies, as they like to chew and dig.
For dogs that spend a lot of time outside, a dog house will provide necessary shelter. Again, consider the size of your dog when selecting a dog house, as well as the climate of your region. In hot locations, a house that features operable windows will offer ventilation, while in wet, cold areas, a raised house will keep your dog up and off of the ground.
Belgian Malinois Toys
You’ll want to offer your Belgian Malinois a lot of different toys to choose from. As mentioned, this breed is very intelligent and requires a lot of activity, and toys provide them with both mental and physical stimulation.
There are several different options in the toy department that will work well for this type of dog. For example, balls made of rope or rubber are durable and great for fetch, while rope toys can be used to play tug-o-war, as well as fetch.
Toys that are designed to assist with training are also great for this breed. Interactive toys, such as puzzle toys, encourage your dog to search use his smarts and sense of smell to search for and reveal a treat. Treat mazes also work well for training, as do sticks with ropes attached to them.
Some great toy options for a Belgian Malinois include:
A Mal’s coat is made of short, straight, and dense hair. Their coats are made to protect them from the weather and they shed all year long; though shedding is more heavy in the spring and fall seasons.
To maintain his coat and remove any dead hair, brush your Mal twice a week. Doing so will also promote the health of his skin and remove the buildup of dirt and debris. For bathing, only do so when necessary. Excessive bathing can strip the dog of his natural oils that are meant to shield him from the weather. Use a hypo-allergenic, perfume-free shampoo and towel dry as much as possible.
You’ll also want to pay attention to flea and tick control. Since these dogs have such dense fur, they are particularly susceptible to pests. There are several control options available, including collars, baths, dips, topical applications, and pills. Some great flea and tick control products include SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula, Frontline Plus Flea and Tick, and Flea and Tick Squeeze-On. However, if you aren’t sure what type of product you should use with your Mal, speak to your veterinarian, who will offer the best advice for your unique dog.
Belgian Malinois Accessories
Dog accessories can be practical or they can be just that; accessories that are intended for superficial purposes (think hair clips and bows). For a Belgian Malinois, you’ll want to stick to practical accessories.
For example, a padded cooling vest can keep your dog cool while he is working on hot days, and an insulated vest will keep him warm while he’s outside or training on cold days. Training accessories can also be beneficial with this breed. The type of training tools you use should be based on the goals of training; for example, if you are trying to teach him agility, tunnels and jump bars are great, while e-collars are excellent options for teaching him commands that he will need to know if he is going to be used as a working dog.
With the right care, a Belgian Malinois will be a very loyal, playful, friendly, and confident dog that will offer you and your family a long life with your four-legged family member.
To learn more about other large breeds like the Belgian Malinois, check out our breed hub page!