Basic care

Caring for a Malinois Dog

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. October 16, 2016
Caring for a Malinois Dog

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The Malinois dog is an excellent choice for a pet, both because of its remarkable intelligence and its beautiful and dignified figure. The Malinois dog has many similar characteristics to Belgian Shepherds, and some people consider it a variety of that breed.

Other Belgian Shepherds include the Laekenois, the Tervuren and the Groenendael. The Malinois it is completely different in its overall appearance and fur, but it has been shown that the differences between these varieties - genetically speaking -are negligible. The puppies in a Belgian Shepherd litter can look completely different to their parents' variety and more similar to another due to recessive genes.

Keep reading this AnimalWised article and you'll learn all about caring for a Malinois dog, including its unique temperament and the best ways to look after this wonderful breed.

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  1. Veterinary control
  2. The importance of exercise
  3. The Malinois as a service dog
  4. The importance of proper training
  5. How to feed a Malinois dog
  6. Caring for the Malinois's coat

Veterinary control

It's imperative that the vet sees your newly adopted dog. The immunization schedule, chip and a thorough physical examination are absolutely essential.

The vet will also lay out the dietary guidelines to follow, and run through the possibility of giving your Malinois dog vitamin supplements. This is a very active breed, and on occasions they develop nutritional deficiencies as a result of excess exercise.

Caring for a Malinois Dog - Veterinary control

The importance of exercise

It is crucial for your Malinois dog to do regular exercise. We're not talking about simply stretching its legs - quite the opposite! This breed needs to exercise as if it was preparing for the Olympics. Walks will be very important: a Malinois dog needs at least 90 minutes of walking daily, split between 2 and 3 walks per day.

The Malinois is a very athletic dog. As such - you were probably already thinking this - a flat is not the best of habitats for a dog of such phenomenal physical characteristics. A dog as competent as a Malinois is best suited to spending its days at a farm or manor house.

Caring for a Malinois Dog - The importance of exercise

The Malinois as a service dog

The Malinois is not a lapdog; for many years, it has gone from shepherding to being a working dog. In fact, this breed needs and requires a job, function or mission to fulfill. The Malinois dog will be at its happiest when it feels stimulated and useful at home. Playing at intelligence games is a very appropriate option.

This is an all-round dog; this breed is not only powerful physically speaking, but also bright and intelligent. Malinois dogs need to learn, be trained and practice what they have learned, which can range from practicing Agility and searching for truffles to rounding up sheep. You might want to consider Schutzhund dog training.

Caring for a Malinois Dog - The Malinois as a service dog

The importance of proper training

The difference between the Malinois and the other varieties of Belgian Shepherds lies in its puppy mentality, which lasts long into adulthood.

This unusual immature or adolescent behavior can last until it is three years old, and even until age five in particular cases. For this reason, the Malinois dog requires proper training. It needs experts who are very familiar with this problem, who know the breed and who can teach the dog mostly everything - except speaking English and typing on a keyboard, although we would believe it if it happened.

It is very dangerous to keep a Malinois dog without training it properly. If the dog is not allocated a particular job, or if it is left to itself too much, your dog can give itself a job to fulfill such as guarding the house.

The problem is that, if this happens, the dog will be relentless. It will launch itself at any intruders that step onto the property, whether a thief or a child that jumps the fence to collect a lost ball. It is advisable to take out a good public liability insurance.

To avoid these problems it will be very important to educate the Malinois puppy from the beginning. Ensuring a proper socialization process and giving them strong basic obedience training will be hugely helpful. Besides being happy with you, it will help its mental development.

How to feed a Malinois dog

The diet of the Malinois dog should be high in protein, as it must meet the basic requirements to make up for its grueling physical exercise.

If, for whatever reason, you can't give your dog the required amount and intensity of exercise to keep your dog mentally and physically healthy, you should try going for a ride in your bike while the dog runs by your side - on a leash - and thus gets the proper exercise. This will make it truly happy.

Obviously, you need to choose the appropriate type of dog food for each age or circumstance: puppy, adult, senior or neutered. As all dogs, the Malinois needs a good amount of fresh water, replenished on a daily basis.

Caring for a Malinois Dog - How to feed a Malinois dog

Caring for the Malinois's coat

The Malinois's fur is so short that brushing it once a week will be sufficient, except from when it is molting; in that case, it will need to be brushed daily.

From time to time you should wipe its eyes with a physiological saline solution or warm chamomile infusion. Clean its ears with a cotton swab or sterile gauze, and its teeth with a brush or dental chews.

When you bathe your Malinois dog - which you should do once every one or two months - use high quality shampoos. Don't forget to check its epidermis and properly protect it against parasites during the summer.

Caring for a Malinois Dog - Caring for the Malinois's coat

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for a Malinois Dog, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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Mary Jo Harrison
I must make a comment. I adopted a pup from local animal shelter who what 6 wks old. He was listed as a retriever mix. I took him to my vet the next day. I was told that he definitely had Akita and something else. That something else became rapidly apparent to be a Malinois. His energy level is a 12 out of 10. As article says and I discovered he needs walking as if he is preparing for the Olympics. At my age (60+) he's got me walking like we're going on a 5K run any day. Thanks to him I lost 50+ pounds in his first 18 months. Now at 20 months, I'm having to increase my walk speed and distance. He's being trained for a service dog and is doing well with that. He loves to learn. I introduce and rotate 'brain games' weekly. If my mixed breed is like this I have to be in awe of the full blood! I am strongly considering getting a full blood. So I'm reading everything and from various views about Malinois.
I rescued one and she has received no training or socialisation at all and is terrified of all strangers. Although she has a lovely nature with the family she would be too scared to have training. She is 5 and still a puppy. I will keep her as she couldn't go to anyone else and I have the time and space to exercise her, I worry about the future.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Carol,

While it may seem like they are too scared for training, this is unlikely. They may just need a lot more patience and persistence than other dogs. Gradually training them with positive reinforcement is the best approach, but it is by no means always easy. Perhaps you might want to consider contacting a canine ethologist or dog trainer.
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Caring for a Malinois Dog