The Belgian Malinois was relatively unknown to the majority of everyday dog owners until the 2nd of May 2011.
That was the day, when Cairo, a serving member of SEAL Team Six took part in the covert mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Like the rest of his squad, Cairo became a decorated veteran in the immediate aftermath of the operation, and Belgian Malinois became famous the world over.
Collectively, along with the four other varieties that are part of the same genetic group, known as a Belgian Shepherd, the Malinois is a medium-sized dog who, like its more famous “cousin” the German Shepherd, was originally bred to herd sheep, cattle, and goats.
Built for endurance and strength, the Malinois is the short-haired member of the Belgian Shepherd family and is usually brown and black.
Picture a slightly smaller, leaner German Shepherd in your mind’s eye and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what a Malinois looks like.
Let’s Talk Belgian Malinois Temperament
The chances are, if you’re reading this you’re thinking about adding a Belgian Malinois to your family, and if you do, it will be one of the best decisions that you’ll ever make.
They’re intelligent, alert, and bright dogs that have a strong guardian instinct and will protect the members of their “pack”, which in this case means your family, from anything or anyone that they perceive to be a threat or danger.
Malinois are sensitive, friendly dogs who are good with children, and make better family pets than the Groenendael and Tervuren varieties of Belgian Shepherd who can be quite snappy, and the Laekenois variety, who while being an ideal companion for humans of all ages, doesn’t get on well with other dogs.
In other words, the Malinois is the go-to, all-purpose member of the Belgian Shepherd family.
Are They Healthy Dogs?
The American Kennel Club regards the Malinois as a robust, healthy dog and its average lifespan of twelve to fourteen years reflects this.
Malinois do have some inherent health issues that the breed is prone to suffering, such as hip dysplasia, skin and eye problems. Like German Shepherds, they have a higher statistical probability than other breeds of developing epilepsy.
As long as you’re aware of the possible problems that you might face at some point, and ensure that your dog is insured, you’ll be ready and prepared to face any possible ailments that rear their ugly and unwanted heads.
Is It Easy To Train A Belgian Malinois?
Let’s take a step back for a minute and consider an incredibly important and salient point that should answer your question in less time than it takes your family hound to figure out which pocket you’re keeping his treats in.
There was a Belgian Malinois on the covert, incredibly secret mission that the Navy SEALS went on to capture and kill the world’s most wanted terrorist.
A team of highly trained special forces soldiers took a dog with them into openly hostile territory, knowing how easily gunfire, explosions, and all manner of unexpected and violent surprises could startle it and make it react unexpectedly, which would give its position away and ruin the mission.
They took Cairo with them, because like the rest of his Team, he was highly trained, and because he was a Malinois. And like all Malinois, he was incredibly easy to train.
Why Is It Easy To Train A Malinois?
Anyone who has ever had any experience training a working dog, especially a German Shepherd, will find it easy to train a Belgian Malinois as they share a lot of the same characteristics as their German counterparts do.
They are highly, and intrinsically motivated to learn, and constantly want to please their owners and handlers.
The breed is also naturally clever and is ranked as the twenty-eighth most intelligent dog in the world, which means that they can, and will learn anything that you teach them to do in a relatively short time.
As they’re strong, energetic dogs they also benefit from agility training and enjoy physical exercise, and because of their high degree of intelligence also need to be enrolled in obedience classes, which they almost always excel in.
How To Successfully Train A Belgian Malinois
The key to successfully training a Malinois is to start as early as possible, and the breed benefits from being taught what you expect from it at a very young age, with most puppies responding to training from the time they’re ten weeks old.
It’s important to enroll your Malinois in socialization classes as soon as you can, as even though they’re not known to be aggressive toward other dogs, the more time that they spend around them in your company, the less likely they are to respond badly to any other dogs that they encounter while you’re out and about with them.
The reason you need to attend the socialization classes with your Malinois is so that he learns that even when he’s surrounded by other dogs, you should always be the center of his attention.
And Then Boredom Set In
Like every other intelligent dog breed, the Belgian Malinois can easily become bored and lose its focus if you don’t give it something to do to occupy it.
In the Malinois’ case, that boredom can sometimes turn to aggression and they have been known to nip their owners, which has earned them the nickname “Maligators”.
However, as long as you are as motivated as your Malinois is, and ensure that he always has something to do and his attention is occupied, as they’re not overly aggressive dogs the nipping shouldn’t be a problem that you’ll ever have to deal with.
They are time and labor-intensive dogs and as long as you’re willing to invest both in training your Malinois, you’ll have a steadfast, loyal and loving companion for life.
Training A Belgian Malinois – The Final Word
Are Belgian Malinois easy to train? Compared to the majority of dogs, they’re a walk in the park to train.
But you have to remember that in order to train your boy properly, you will have to be as committed to the training process as he is.