belgian malinois german shepherd mix

Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix: Meet the German Malinois

The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix is one of many newer crossbred or hybrid dog breeds that are in development today.

The concept of hybrid or crossbred dog breeding is not a new one. In fact, nearly all purebred dog breeds today are the product of these types of strategic breeding programs.

But whenever you combine the gene pool for two different purebred dogs together, there is no way to predict with certainty how each puppy in a litter will turn out. This makes it important to learn about both parent dog breeds.

In this article, learn about the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog history, personality, coat, training, exercise needs, and health issues. Use this information to decide if the German Malinois dog might be the perfect next dog for you.

Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix

The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog has one purebred Belgian Malinois parent dog and one German Shepherd parent dog.

What makes this hybrid dog breed so unstoppable is that the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd are arguably the two top protection K-9s in the world.

Read on to learn what to expect if you decide to add a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog to your family. Also, learn what to do to make sure you choose a healthy puppy.

Meet a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix

In this YouTube video, you get to meet a young K-9 trainee named Max. Max is a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix.

Even though Max is only five months old, he is clearly capable to learn, recall and execute all the basic training commands perfectly. This video demonstrates how smart, people-centric and athletic the German Malinois dog is.

The History of the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix

Until relatively recently, the Belgian Malinois dog breed was perhaps best known for its confusing resemblance to the German Shepherd.

But then 2011 happened. That was the year Seal Team 6 raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound. Seal Team 6 had a very special Seal in their team – a K-9 Belgian Malinois named Cairo.

As 3 Million Dogs reports, Cairo caught Bin Laden and made international news headlines. Suddenly everyone wanted a Belgian Malinois.

German Shepherds haven’t needed any special press to maintain their popularity. As the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains, the German Shepherd is the second most popular companion canine in America.

German Shepherds are also well known for their talents as protection, military, police, and security K-9s, making these dogs a top pick for families who want a watchdog in the home.

Both the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd dog breeds are now known for their K-9 abilities, but both breeds got their start as working livestock herding and guarding dogs.

As the American Belgian Malinois Club (ABMC) explains, the Belgian Malinois actually belongs to a group of four different Belgian herding dogs which look very much alike except for hair type and color.

After many years serving as a talented herding and livestock guarding dog, the Belgian Malinois later became one of the first dog breeds to work with human police officers in the New York City K-9 corps.

The German Shepherd got their breed start in Germany under the guidance of a retired cavalry officer named Captain Max von Stephanitz.

Stephanitz didn’t foresee a future for his new breed in the military. Rather, he dreamed of creating the perfect working and herding dog. The German Shepherd became that dog.

As the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) highlights, these dogs served first in the German Army and later in the American police and military forces.

But in between, movies featuring German Shepherd stars like Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin made the German Shepherd dog a household name and a family favorite.

Today, the Belgian Malinois is now the 43rd most popular purebred dog breed (out of 197 breeds registered through the American Kennel Club). The German Shepherd maintains a firm grasp on the number two spot on that same list.

Personality and Temperament of a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix

One interesting thing about the personality and temperament of the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix is that these crossbred puppies will inherit very complementary temperaments from each parent dog’s genes.

This is not always the case when a new hybrid dog breed is being developed. But as you now know from reading through the history of each parent dog breed, both the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd have a similar breed development and background.

Both dogs have similar job descriptions and both are well known for their bravery and athleticism in military, police, and personal protection situations.

But what does that mean for you if you want to own a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd as a family pet? Let’s take a look at each parent dog breed’s personality and temperament here.

Belgian Malinois

The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the “Mal,” as fans of this breed sometimes nickname their dogs, as a confident, hardworking, intelligent dog breed.

These dogs are extremely intelligent. Science Alert ranks the Belgian Malinois as 22nd out of 79 purebred dog breeds in terms of overall intelligence.

What this basically means is that the Malinois can learn a new command in between five and 15 tries and recall it 85 percent of the time.

The reason Mal does not rank higher is that these dogs are also bred and trained to think independently which can make them stubborn. But this independence is a trait you want in a breed that has to guard and protect you in uncertain circumstances.

Some owners describe the Belgian Malinois like a “German Shepherd on steroids.” This gives you a great idea of how active, energetic, and intense a Belgian Malinois can be.

These dogs have a very high chase/prey drive, as you would expect with a herding dog breed that is a top-notch protection dog.

German Shepherd

Science Alert ranks the German Shepherd dog as the 3rd most intelligent of all dog breeds (out of 79 purebred dog breeds).

Dogs that rank in the top 10 are said to be able to learn a new command in less than five tries and recall it perfectly 95 percent of the time.

German Shepherds are very intense and intelligent working dogs with a high energy level and a keen desire to stay active or work at a job.

Like the Belgian Malinois, the German Shepherd has a very high prey drive and chase instinct due to their livestock herding and guarding dog background.

What is most important to know about the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd dog is that both parent dogs are intensely people-focused. These dogs live to be with their people and will be very unhappy if left alone or in the company of another dog too frequently.

How Much Coat Care Does a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix Need?

With the advent of modern hybrid or crossbred dog breeding programs, more and more dog owners want to own a dog with a hypoallergenic coat. While this is understandable, especially for people with pet allergies, unfortunately, there is no such dog.

All dogs can cause allergies. This is because the protein allergen is not in the hair but rather in the saliva, skin, and urine of the dog.

But when it comes to the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix, this is a non-issue since both parent dog breeds shed heavily year-round and seasonally. Let’s take a closer look at each parent dog’s coat type and shedding pattern.

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois has a short coat with two layers. The under layer near the skin is very thick, soft, warm, and insulating. The outer layer is slightly longer, coarser, and naturally water repellant.

Belgian Malinois dogs don’t usually smell (unless they roll in something) and don’t need to be bathed too often. Too-frequent bathing can destroy the protective natural oils on the outer layer of the coat.

Belgian Malinois coats are fairly self-maintaining and only need weekly brushing to stay looking neat and healthy.

The Belgian Malinois will shed year-round. When the seasons change, these dogs go through something called a “coat blow” which helps replenish the coat’s protective properties. The coat will shed out in chunks for several weeks.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd dog has a medium-length double layer coat. Like the Belgian Malinois, this double layer coat serves two purposes: protection and insulation.

And like the Mal, the German shepherd will go through a seasonal coat blow that helps the dog adjust to changing temperatures and replenish the coat. But other than regular brushing and the occasional bath, the GSD coat is fairly self-maintaining.

So now you can see that now matter which parent dog has the most genetic influence on a puppy, your Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog will grow up to have a double layer shedding coat that requires only very basic care.

Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix Adult Size

The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog is going to be a large dog breed. But just how large will your crossbred puppy grow up to be, you might be wondering?

The Belgian Malinois typically weighs between 40 and 80 pounds and stands 22 to 26 inches tall (measured from the base of paw pads to tops of shoulders).

The German Shepherd typically weighs between 50 and 90 pounds and stands 22 to 26 inches tall.

Taking an average of these vital statistics, you can guesstimate your puppy will grow up to weigh around 65 pounds and stand about 24 inches tall.

However, both the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd dogs vary quite a bit in weight and height based on gender. So you can subtract 10 to 15 pounds and two inches from that guesstimate if your puppy is a female.

If you need a more exact estimate, the very best way to plan for your crossbred puppy’s adult size, weight, and height are to learn the vital statistics of each parent dog.

Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix Exercise and Training

The most challenging part of choosing a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog is going to be training your dog and providing sufficient daily exercise and activity.

From reading the breed history of each parent dog in an earlier section here, you now know that both of the parent dog breeds are considered to be working dogs, with the typical high energy and activity levels of herding dog breeds.

Both dogs are highly intelligent, well able to learn new skills quite quickly, and very keen to have some kind of job or activity to do.

Because of this unique mix of traits, and because your Belgian Malinois German Shepherd will be a large and powerful dog, you want to be sure you start puppy socialization and training right away – ideally from your first day at home together.

You will need to enroll your dog in training classes and do plenty of socialization with strange people and strange dogs so your puppy learns the difference between a neutral situation and a true threat situation.

As PetMD points out, you will need to wait until your Belgian Malinois German Shepherd puppy has finished growing before doing any strenuous training or exercise.

You will need to ask your veterinarian to do X-rays of the long leg bones. This is to confirm that the soft growth plates have closed and hardened, which indicates your dog has reached its full adult height.

If you let your dog exercise too vigorously or for too many hours a day before they are finished growing, you can cause lifelong lameness and injury to the bones, tissues, and ligaments.

Once your Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix has finished growing, you can let your dog run and plan and exercise as much as they want to every day safely. This is a great time to enroll your dog in K-9 training or in canine athletics.

Meet a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Health and Life Expectancy

One of the biggest drivers for modern crossbreeding programs is to improve the genetic diversity of many purebred dog breeds.

The Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd dog breed lines both have some serious genetic (heritable) health issues that have arisen because of too-focused breeding to appearance or show standards.

So you always want to make sure that any breeder you work with has done all required and recommended pre-breeding health tests on the parent dogs.

Here are the health issues your breeder should test for in German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois dogs, according to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC):

  • Dysplasia (hip, elbow).
  • Temperament.
  • Eye issues.
  • Cardiac issues.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Degenerative myelopathy.

When you are choosing a new companion canine, you always want to know how long you and your new dog can plan to be together.

The Belgian Malinois has a surprisingly long life expectancy for a large dog breed. The Mal typically lives between 14 and 16 years.

The German Shepherd typically lives between 12 and 14 years.

Here, choosing a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd means you may have more time with your dog than if you chose a purebred German Shepherd. The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd can live on average 14 years.

Will a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix Be Good With Kids?

The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog is a true working dog breed. These dogs have an instinctual desire to run and chase fast-moving objects. They have a very strong prey drive and herding drive.

This herding instinct may cause your dog to nip at the heels of younger family members, which can be scary for little kids to experience. The prey instinct may cause your dog to chase other family pets or even little kids.

In the same way, Belgian Malinois German Shepherd puppies may not be as tolerant of rough handling from children who are too young to be trained how to interact with a dog.

Proceed with caution and plan to supervise your dog with your children if you want to get a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd dog.

Is the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix Your Next Dog?

Choosing a new companion canine is a big decision. You and your new dog will be together for many years to come and you want to be sure you have the time, energy, budget, and resources to properly care for your new dog.

The Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix dog is a perfect choice for an active individual or family who wants to make their dog the center of family life.

If you love to exercise and be outdoors and want a dog you can share your active lifestyle with, the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd might be your perfect next pet!

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