Malinois (Belgian Shepherd Dog)
A Belgian Malinois in the snow.
|Other names||(Chien de Berger Belge)
Pastor Belga Malinois
|Country of origin||Belgium|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Malinois // is a medium breed of dog, the short-haired version of the Belgian Shepherd. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which in Dutch is either Mechelse herder or Mechelaar (one from Mechelen). The breed is used as a working dog for tasks including detection of odors such as explosives, accelerants (for arson investigation), and narcotics; tracking of humans for suspect apprehension in police work; and search and rescue missions. The U.S. Secret Service uses the Malinois Dogs to guard the grounds of the White House.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2015)|
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized and square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois has a short mahogany coat with black markings. It has black erect ears and a black muzzle. It has a square build in comparison to the German Shepherd.
Coat and color
Due to its history as a working dog (i.e., being bred for function over form), the Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color fawn to mahogany and tan with a black mask and black ears with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog's underside, breeching, and inner leg. White markings are also allowed on the tips of the toes and the chest, as long as the white on the chest does not extend up to the neck.
The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coats and colors: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois but has long hair, the wire-coated Laekenois is fawn and lacks the black mask and ears, and the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black.
Male dogs are about 61–70 cm (24–28 in), while females are about 56–61 cm (22–24 in) at the withers. Female Malinois are said to average 25–30 kg (55–66 lb), while males are heavier at 29–34 kg (64–75 lb).
Well-raised and trained Malinois are usually active, intelligent, friendly, protective, alert and hard-working. Belgian Malinois exhibit energy levels that are among the highest of all dog breeds. A typical Malinois will have puppy-like energy until the age of 3, though it is not uncommon for them to exhibit this energy level until the age of five. Many have excessively high prey drive. Some may be excessively exuberant or playful, especially when young. They can be destructive or develop neurotic behaviors if not provided enough stimulation and exercise. This often causes problems for owners who are unfamiliar with the breed and are not prepared to provide the exercise they require or a job for them to do. They are medium-sized, strong dogs that require consistent obedience training, and enjoy being challenged with new tasks. They are known to be very easy to train, due to their high drive for rewards.
In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well as in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, the Malinois is bred primarily as a working dog for personal protection, detection, police work, search and rescue, and sport work like Schutzhund. The United States Secret Service and Royal Australian Air Force use the breed along with other working lines such as Dutch Shepherd, and also GSD. In the United States Armed Forces, German shepherds lead the way, but close behind follows the Belgian Malinois.
The dog is also used by Israel Defense Forces. Malinois are the perfect size to be picked up by their handlers, while still being able to attack their enemies, and their shorter coats and fair and neutral colors make them less prone to heatstroke.
Malinois are also the dog chosen by the Secret Service to protect the President and the White House.
United States Navy SEALs used a Belgian Malinois war dog named Cairo in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed. The breed is relied upon by the US Military in a number of roles. The dogs, using video cameras, will enter certain danger zones, allowing their handlers to see what’s ahead before humans follow. SEAL dogs are also trained parachutists, jumping either in tandem with their handlers or solo if the jump is into water. In 2010, a canine parachute instructor and his dog Cara set the world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment, jumping from more than 30,100 feet up — the cruising altitude of transoceanic passenger jets. Both the instructor and Cara were wearing oxygen masks and skin protectors for the jump.
Malinois can compete in dog agility trials and in flyball, herding, obedience, showmanship, and tracking events, and are one of the most popular breeds used in protection sports such as the Schutzhund. In America herding is a popular activity.
The average lifespan of the Belgian Malinois is 10–12 years. Notable health problems prevalent to the Malinois include cataracts, epilepsy, thyroid disease, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, and pannus, although these problems have been minimized through selective breeding.
In popular culture
- Kane, the co-star of James Rollins and Grant Blackwood's Tucker Wayne series, is a Belgian Malinois.
- The American science fiction crime drama television series Person of Interest features a Malinois named Bear as a regular cast member.
- The titular character of the 2015 feature film Max is a Malinois, returning from service with the US Marine Corps.
- Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)
- Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)
- Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)
- Schmidt, Michael S. (September 21, 2014). "White House May Check Tourists Blocks Away". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
At all times, there are several muzzled Belgian Malinois on the White House grounds, officials said.
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- Brammer, Jack; Steven Thomma (7 May 2011). "Obama thanks special forces for daring bin Laden raid". Seattle Times. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
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- Hartnagle-Taylor, Jeanne Joy & Taylor, Ty (2010). Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN 978-1-57779-106-5.
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- Pollet, Robert Pollet (September 1, 2005). Belgian Malinois (Comprehensive Owner's Guide) (Comprehensive Owner's Guide Kennel Club). Kennel Club Books. ISBN 1593786506.
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