Should You Get A Belgian Malinois As a Family Dog?

Belgain Malinois

Should You Get A Belgian Malinois As a Family Dog?

The movie Max is coming out and I can just see it now, everyone rushing out to get that type of dog.  The Belgian Malinois is not your typical family dog.  They will need lots and patience.  They are beautiful dogs and very, very smart, however, they are not your typical family dog. Famous for protecting livestock, the Belgian Malinois is now known for protecting man. They are great dogs. But with high work ethic, they need the perfect combination of stimulation, physical activity, and socialization. They do not work well for the average pet family.

Get the full book on the breed here Belgian Malinois 

The Breed

This breed is very active and will thrive on lots of regular and varied physical exercise and mental stimulation. Problems can arise when this smart, people-oriented dog is underemployed and neglected. Exercise, and plenty of it, preferably side by side with their adored owner. Intelligent and trainable, the Belgian Malinois possesses a strong desire to work and is happiest with regular activity and a job to do.

Advice From The Dog Trainer

A dog trainer friend of mine Chivon Winter from C3K9 training has this breed and she wrote the below information to get the word out to anyone thinking of getting the Belgian Malinois.  Read below what she has to say….

 

Belgian Malinois This is our own Belgian Malinois, Opie. He is from world champion Ot Vitosha lines. We wanted to make this public announcement out of experience and respect for this amazing breed due to the upcoming release of the movie Max.

This movie is based on a Malinois accompanying a young boy. Many MANY people are going to want to buy one because he is a “cool” dog. Little do they know, these dogs were designed to have extremely high energy levels and a bigger prey drive which leads them to want to bite. A lot. And hard.

These dogs are not going to be suited for a typical family or typical dog owner. Even as puppies, they will bite (yes even the kids), tear up and chew up various items, and become so restless and frustrated due to not having a job to do, that they’ll be sold on craigslist or dumped back in the shelter just to die. FOR A GREAT CHEW TOY FOR THIS BREED CLICK HERE 

Although we don’t want any dog in a shelter, the problem lies with the genetics of this breed having the same fate as the Dalmatian with aggression and blindness (101 dalmations), the German Shepherd (severe over breeding and hip dysplasia), Cocker Spaniels (lady and the tramp with what we call “cocker rage”) and the list goes on. The bigger issue is that those breeds just listed could have made great family pets before over breeding became a problem. The Malinois? Not so much. They will, in a typical home, bite you and your children, and destroy your belongings.

Please don’t rush out to get this breed because of some movie showing how cool they are. There are plenty of excellent pet candidates that look cool in shelters and rescues that will die because everyone wants a purebred bad ass dog.

EDITED: Apparently, we need to make it perfectly clear that all dogs can and will bite if their stress threshold is reached; not just the Belgian Malinois. However, these dogs bite out of FUN. They have a reputation for being police/military/protection dogs which consists of breeding and developing their bites and bite grips. Go to Youtube and watch how a litter of Belgian Malinois puppies “play” and interact. Now picture a young child with one of those dogs that don’t know any better with a home that was expecting a walk-in-the-park kind of dog. We are NOT trying to paint these dogs in a bad light…we LOVE working with them, bringing out their true potential….and that is why we don’t want them to have the same fate as other popularized dogs from movies and television.

WATCH THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO TO  LEARN MORE……

 

A petition asking Warner brothers to include the “saving max” clip before the film. Many of our pet-related business friends have made posts about this film and although we are glad that it has reached over 200,000 people, our post was not the first post on the matter. We honestly were just reaching out to our little community.  Top tier k9 created an amazing video that also spreads awareness about the Malinois breed and a petition is started to ask Warner Brothers to include it as a precursor to their film.

Great Product Links below

Another great blog post if you are looking for a good breed of dog for a family pet  click here

If you are looking for a great leash for this type of dog a recommend a gentle lead.  Click here to purchase 

Amazon book on Everything Belgian Malinois click here 

U.s. Military Working Dog Training Handbook Click here

Navy SEAL Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat click here click here

AFFILIATE LINK

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39 Comments

  1. Val Silver

    Thank you for sharing this info and the petition (which I just signed). People should be educated about the types of dogs they are committing to for life, not just the next shiny object to come along.

    Reply
    • Phillip Wilcocks

      I know have one off these dogs . I have grown up with Germany shepherd s . I am 52. My son picked this lady . We were under the impression we were getting a her.an
      My vet was the first person to say what she was . I don’t think I would have liked this bred .
      But know we have her I will not let go.
      My god she is so inteligent.
      I am still ever day learning as .much as I can . In the wrong hands this tipe off dog should not be . . I am a beginner with her . I have to learn so much . But the fun were have with a 16 week old is remarcable.
      Sorry for my bad spell g .
      May be she would teach me .

      Reply
      • Maureen McCarthy

        Thank you for your post. I am happy you both found each other and hope you have many happy years together. Dog can teach a lot to us so I totally get what you say. Enjoy eachother!!

        Reply
        • Janet Begley

          I have appreciated finding this website so much! I have a 10 week old Belgium, have had her for two weeks. I had a German Shepherd for 14 years and have been without a dog for the last two. I adopted this little girl because she was a litter from my nephews dog. He told me she was a shepherd. Ibviously, easily cinfused. I gave already noticed, she is very keen and seems to lock on a person. If you try to correct her, by telling her no, she becomes even more aggressive and growls if in attack mode, like instinctively. It’s almost scary. She has done this twice in the two weeks we have had her. Is this her nature and is it corrective? Or are some more aggressive than others? Thank you for taking my questions.

          Reply
          • Maureen McCarthy

            No, this should not be her response to you correcting her. I would advise you to seek help from a professional dog trainer. The sooner the better. This should be handled as soon as possible.

    • Paige Hawkins

      I agree. I’m a pro trainer and I train field trial,gun dogs and K9, attack/police/military/protection dogs. These dogs are “NOT” a lick your face to death lab. They have a high food drive, meaning that while feeding,,, unless you are the alpha,and touch,caress,hug these dogs as young as pups, they WILL bite you. Of course with the correct comeback to this behavior,you can put it toward the bottom of the totem pole. Not only that problem but many more. These dogs are a committment and you must follow through. Now for what I train them for, they are never really totally family dogs at all. Period…. Again,,,, these dogs will bite unless you are the male/female alpha and the correct lifestyle demanded, they “WILL NOT BE A SOCIAL FAMILY DOG” that most are accustomed to.

      Reply
  2. Amy Shojai, CABC

    What a great post, and yes, I’ve also had concerns about the repercussions of the the movie. Thanks for this.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      You are very welcome! Thank you for your comment

      Reply
  3. Cathy Armato

    Excellent post and great video. I’m glad to see pet industry professionals being pro-active with breed facts in advance of a movie that highlights a breed and makes the public fall in love with it. I can relate, I have a Husky and people constantly come over and say “I want a Husky!!” I always suggest they research the breed and highlight that they are super high energy, not easy to train, and are not for everyone. I can’t wait to see the movie Max, I know I’ll love it!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
  4. Kristen–well minded

    Thank you for sharing this information. It is so important that people do thorough research before bringing any pet into the family, and this is an excellent example of that.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      Yes it really is. This way other dogs will not be given up for adoption hopefully.

      Reply
  5. Robbi Hess

    This is a great overview and I think that more people should really do their research before they decide which kind of pet to have. I knew that a poodle was what I wanted when I got Henrietta because I researched and didn’t make a snap decision.

    Reply
  6. Robin

    This is a really important topic! People do succumb to fads easily. These seem like really wonderful dogs that have a particular set of needs that must be met. I can see how this breed could have a lot of problems in a typical family home where they are left alone from 9-5 everyday.

    Reply
  7. Talent Hounds

    Great reminder to always do research. We saw Puppy Mills pumping out chihuahuas after several movies and people giving them into rescues. We will be sharing similar information and warnings when we promote the film on Monday. Can’t wait to see it.

    Reply
  8. Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner

    I had never head of a Belgian Malinois until a few months ago. A woman in my Dachshund group decided to get a second dog. She wanted to get a Belgian Malinois because her family raised them when she was growing up. I met her puppy for the first time last week. I was fluffier than the one in these pictures but I think I remember her saying that there were different coat types.

    It’s unfortunate how many people get a dog without knowing or researching the breed first. I love Dachshunds but they aren’t for everyone. They are stubborn, tenacious, and have a high prey drive. Many end up in shelters because people didn’t know what they were getting into.

    Reply
  9. Rascal and Rocco

    Thanks for including the petition at the end. So important to understand each dog and not expect them to all act a certain way.

    Reply
  10. Jen Gabbard

    I do hope there isn’t a huge rise in their popularity after the movie release. They are magnificent dogs but definitely not right for most families. They’re so driven it’d be hard to keep up – and keep them out of trouble. Hopefully people will do their research before getting their next dog.

    Reply
  11. Dalene Nalley

    We were given a Belgian Malnois/German Shepherd mix who just turned 2. Her name is Inara. She is a very a loving, wanna be lapdog who sheds a lot. She loves attention, is obedient, and cries when someone leaves the house without taking her along. She does shy away from small children. She does not chew furniture or shoes. Inara will pick up slippers or socks left on the floor and take them outside. She doesn’t chew on them. Once she gets them outside she loses interest. We have not seen any signs of aggression. When a visitor comes in she is friendly. She gets along with our other dogs and even treats one of the little ones like he’s her pup. As an adopted dog, she is a welcome addition to our family.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      That is GREAT to hear. Glad she made it into a wonderful family that loves her. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
    • Genine

      I also have Belgian Malinois/ German Shepherd she will be 2 in October I love every minute of the day with her . I wasn’t working when we first got her I stayed home to raise her like I did with my kids but I am thinking of going back to work but hesitant of leaving her for 4/5 hrs 3 days a week .

      Reply
      • Maureen McCarthy

        She should be fine, however you could always hire a pet sitter to come and take her for nice long walk or hang out in your yard if you have a fenced in yard to play with her… but 4-5 hours she should be just fine alone.

        Reply
  12. Cat

    I have a rescue Malinios. I got him at 3.5 months. He is a great family dog and yes … he loves to chew but he is amazingly intelligent and it took no time to train that out of him. He does not bite my boys, age 9 and 11, hard he is very mouthy but does not break skin or bruise. If he gets too excited we say no chew and he immediately stops. He is almost 1.5 years now. If you are thinking about this dog know that they must have at least one long walk a day. We run him off leash for an hour and then take him for a walk at night. They must be continually trained (tricks) to stimulate them or they get bored and in trouble. They “hug” with paws on shoulders and head wrapped around your neck, extremely loving and sensitive. Long periods of time alone is horrible for them they need you. Positive reinforcement works best for them. I adore this breed and new nothing about them before the rescue. Did I say they are beautiful…

    Reply
  13. Joseph

    They will not bite and bite hard. Way off the topic in this write up. My female malinois Mia did play a lot with her mouth and at age 3 months she used my hands to play with. She would increase the intensity and pressure at times but would tell her like you tell a young child easy….. Hey easssyyy girl. And I literally trained her to play and use her mouth easy. They are the smartest dog. If you are smart enough

    Reply
  14. Jun

    Wonderful post! I bought a 2 month Belgian Malinois. Had major chewing and aggression issues when I got him, so I dedicated myself to training him to be more soft when biting and be nicer to people and other dogs. He is now 9 months old, loves to play with smaller dogs, and does not jump on people during walks. Before him, we had a rescued Pitbull from the fighting rings, and through training and dedication, he also became a wonderful family pet that would shower visitors with kisses and tail wagging. So before people buy larger, and potentially more dangerous dogs, it pays to do research, as well as dedicate the extra time in training your pooch.

    Reply
  15. Vicky

    Could not disagree with this article more. Yes they are a very high energy dog. But as with anyone considering getting a dog they need to research the breed. We also have a mini jack Russell and he needs lots of exercise too or he becomes destructive from boredom. We have a husky cross and she needs equally as much exercise as the Malinois.

    Our girl does not bite, she is a rescue and she used to nip and put our arm in her mouth when we got her, but we quickly taught her not to bite. This can be done by a sharp “no” or you can make a cry like a dog would if they were play fighting and it went to far.

    She is one of the friendliest dogs we have ever had, with people, kids, other dogs. She loves everyone and has never shown any aggression at all. She does rough play with the husky but they are well able for each other.

    In my opinion they make an amazing family pet, she loves sleeping on our bed, curing up on the floor by the fire, watching tv. She needs exercise during the day, but at night she will happily be calm and sleeps for hours on end. She is only 2, so still a young dog.

    They are very smart dogs, who would benefit from puppy training and dog agility. You can even set up some tunnels and cones in the garden for them to play with.

    Reply
  16. Greg

    Hi, I also own a Belgium Malinois, and even though a lot of what your post says is true, The term “Bite” is used in the wrong context here, what you are referring to is mouthing, or nipping, which young dogs and puppies do a lot as part of playing and growing, A Malinois will do this, but its never intended to brake skin or hurt people or children I suppose my point here is a dog that bites, bites out Aggression, a dog that nips or mouths is something that dogs do when playing and easily grow out of this,,,,All dogs are unpredictable not just this breed. However the only thing I would would recommend for people thinking about getting this breed of Dog, is to have lots of space for them to run around and play, not a dog for an apartment, this is a Dog that needs lots of space to work or run all day, couldn’t highly recommend this breed, so smart, so gentle and pleasure to have as part of my family

    Reply
  17. star

    I live in an apartment complex and two weeks ago a Belgian Malinois attacked my 11 week old cockapoo completely unprovoked. He almost died. The guy literally tackled his malinois to get him to let go of my puppy and it got loose and re-attacked my little guy. I have been researching the malinois since and it appears a one bedroom apartment is not a good idea for this type of dog! Today we went to court and he told the judge my dog (7 pounds, 11 weeks old) provoked the attack!!

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      Ohh my I am so sorry to hear this. You are correct that a Belgian Malinois should definitely not be living in a one bedroom apartment. They need a lot more interaction and room to roam. Hope you little guy is OK. So sorry that happened to him.

      Reply
  18. Jeanne Schroeder

    I am getting an 8 month old Malinois/Shepard mix form a couple that “don’t have time for him”. I don’t work. I am 56 and have 2 toy poodles (4 years of age) and a shi-tzu (11 years of age). I have a fenced in yard and can take him on a walk and play fetch… After reading this I am worried that he may hurt my little fur babies.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      Training is the best thing you can do for him. Also, read up on the breed, they do need lots of exercise. They are the type of dog that needs a job to do. Do your research!

      Reply
  19. Ken

    I am on Mal 3 and 4. 20 years ago, when I got my first, nobody knew what they were. Unfortunately, training is not always the answer. Some cannot be trained, they are just not right for the task. The personality and demenor is just not there. But I don’t mean the dog. A good trainer spends 10% of their time training the dog. 90% is spent training the handler/ owner. And some people, not dogs, just can’t or refuse to be trained. That is the root cause, not the breed.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      Absolutely!!!

      Reply
  20. Lillian

    I have several dogs in my pack. 3 poms all around10 years old, 1 german shepard 4, and 2 mals , brother and sister 1.5 years. Got the mals from shelter at 4 mons old. I admit under estimating the breed. I have raised shepards and dobermans as well as other breeds. NONE of them have been even close to my mals in a challenge. Shepards are smart but mals are smart , clever, and ADHD . I am home all day, my two kids living at home are 20 and older. So dogs are never alone. They all have doggie door to 2/3 acre fenced yard. The mals play, play, play ,play ROUGH,with each other but respect the shepard. Theydo bully the poms but NEVER hurt them. My problem is the chewing. Tables , chairs,deck, patio furn, remotes, keyboards, couch, 18 foot pool, the license plate off hubbys truck,( not kidding), can openers, dishes, silverware, all my planters , plants, a lamp and whatever i have forgotten.. we pick up the yard several times a day. I give them bully sticks , bones, rawhide, toys etc. when we catch them in the act they are scolded and totally know they are in trouble. All i can say is you well be dealing with a toddler and MUST keep an eye on them. Remember, they manage to do all these things when only being left alone for no more then an hour. I absolutely LOVE them. My vet told me this breed is basically a puppy until about 3 or 4 years old.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      Thank you so much for sharing. I agree with your vet about the puppy stage being longer. And yes they LOVE to chew!!!

      Reply
  21. William Wallace

    One of my friends has a Belgian Malinois. Its a pretty cool dog.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      I am sure he is. Most are wonderful pets with the right training.

      Reply
  22. sheila

    My son had once bought a two month old male puppy from her schoolmate. At first, I thought it’s just an ordinary dog and an ugly one, with a black color below his eyes down to his nose and ears like that of a rabbit. But his color is very beautiful – a fawn color. I only learned that it was a belgian malinois when I started taking him for a walk in our subdivision where I reside when a passer-by asked me if my puppy is a K9 dog and I told him that I do not know. But he said that it is a K9 dog and a with belgian malinois breed. What I observed at that time with our puppy is that he was super intelligent and very observant. He knows how to behave when I am angry and very playful to me when I am in a good mood. One time I told him not to go inside our bedroom since the only place I allowed him to roam is in the sala, if not in the terrace. What he did, after looking at me in the eyes, he lied down in the floor on the sala then moved his head inside the bedroom floor. When he noticed that I am not making any reaction he moved his whole body while in a lying down position inside our bedroom, and he lied there until I told him to get out. When I took him for a walk, all the passers-by were amazed of him because he always walk side by side with me without a leash but he is very fond of biting my pants or shoes while walking. He was able to open our refrigerator and ate some of the organic eggs and oreo biscuits of my son when he was left alone in the house with only dog food to eat. I was also amazed by his intelligence because he knows how to get something that he liked, even if it was placed on top of the table, kitchen or refrigerator. I was wondering then why that puppy doesn’t like to eat dog food and he prefers to eat table foods. That is why at 4 months old he can be mistaken to be an adult dog already as he grew too fast. Unfortunately, he died when he was four month old last year and I was really very broken- hearted by it. As of this time, I am still hoping to find and buy a belgian malinois pup with a feature and characteristics like that of our dead puppy.

    Reply
  23. Charlie

    Sometimes when I hear from so-called Malinois experts I shake my head. I think that there may be a narcissistic view from some trainers and breeders that only they are able to handle the dreaded Malinois. Most of the issues posted come down to two things. An educated owner and a responsible breeder. I got my first Malinois to run, hike and perform in either obedience and agility. Sad to say I did not get that far. When i picked the puppy up after educating myself on the breed and knowing that I had the time and the resources available to train the dog, I should have run away. I say this because all of the adult dogs at that kennel wanted to jump through the fencing and kill me if they could. My emotions after a long wait for the puppy got the best of me. Strike two was that the breeder allowed ME to pick the puppy. Strike three was that she insisted that at age 7 weeks i needed to start training and forever handle him with a prong collar. All was well. Socialized with dogs and other people. At least 300-400 people over his first four months. His personality though did not change much. He was unpredictable in the sense that he may take a treat with his teeth, or try to snap it from stranger’s hands. He was very rough with others, aggressive with other dogs, and little bite inhibition during training time with treats. The pup at about 9 months started showing very limited instances of crate aggression. Then for reasons unknown to us the pup attacked my wife when he was 11 months old. After behaviorists, vets and many agonizing days the dog was put down. Mind you this was my best friend. To top it off the breeder would not willingly take the dog back with no requirement of compensation to me. Fast forward one year later and I have a new pup, yes, a Malinois. 11 weeks old. Perfect bite inhibition for his age. Cannot meet a person he does not like from 1 year old to 86. And has yet to meet a dog I know that he does not play with like a Lab. Oh and I must add that he only takes treats or food with his tongue. The difference? I was educated enough to find the right breeder. After learning my history and asking for my goals with the dog my current breeder did not have a puppy for me until one came along from one of his litters that matched me. Number two was after telling him about the other breeders dogs he invited me to meet his dogs. I was able to greet them, pet them, and play ball with them. The most fascinating part was that when playing with his adult dogs and balls, the dogs would immediately let you have the ball if your fingers even grazed their teeth. 100% bite inhibition! I now have an 11 week old sweetheart Male Malinois that is so easily trainable and friendly with everyone. Before and potential criticism, I trained myself for almost a year prior to getting my first pup. Michael Ellis and Tyler Mutto online courses from Leerburg. Reading books by Dr. Ian Dunbar, and many others. So please do not think that I did not go into this unprepared. Thanks and good luck to all. My current male puppy’s name is “G’ Sacha Ot Vitosha” and personally picked out by Mr. Ivan Balabanov.

    Reply
    • Maureen McCarthy

      That is what this is all about. Doing your homework BEFORE you get this breed. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Reply

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