Berger Belge Malinois|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Malinois // is a medium-to-large breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog rather than as a separate breed. The name "Malinois" is derived from Malines, the French name for the breed's Flemish city of origin, 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 humans for suspect apprehension in police work; and search and rescue missions. The U.S. Secret Service uses Belgian Malinois to guard the grounds of the White House.
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The Malinois is a medium-to-large 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. A Belgian malinois may have a longer and darker hair coat than the typical malinois, but may still be referred to as a Belgian malinois.
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. When the Malinois was first bred, the four breeds would usually be cross bred, this would result in Malinois with longer hair, or even a darker coats. Today the four breeds are considered different breeds.
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 three, 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.
Malinois dogs are used by the Oketz, the K-9 unit of the Israel Defense Forces. Malinois are a suitable size to be picked up by their handlers when required, while still being large enough to control human aggressors. Compared to previously used breeds (such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers), the shorter coats and fair and neutral colors of Malinois are better adapted to natural conditions and less prone to induce heatstroke.
Belgian Malinois have also been called a "game changer" in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa's Kruger National Park, where one dog, Killer, has been responsible for more than 100 arrests.
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.
- Billie, the four-year-old black Belgian Malinois partner of Detective Reed Mattox in the "Reed and Billie" series by Dustin Stevens.
- The American science fiction crime drama television series Person of Interest features a Malinois named Bear as a regular cast member.
- The military drama SEAL Team includes a Malinois named Dita the Hairmissile who plays 'Cerberus the detection dog'.
- The titular character of the 2015 feature film Max is a Malinois, returning from service with the US Marine Corps
- It was also used in Naaigal Jaakirathai (English: Beware of Dogs), a Tamil-language Indian film
- Three different Malinois played the role of "Tracker", the faithful but vicious companion of Sam, the merciless rifle-toting vigilante of Mexican film Desierto
- "Belgian Shepherd Dog" (PDF). FCI. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
- Contemporary English speakers refer to the city by its Dutch name, Mechelen. The city is located in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium. Belgium has three official languages.
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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- Kaldenbach, Jan (June 15, 1997). The Malinois (1st (paperback) ed.). Detselig Enterprises. ISBN 1-55059-151-7.
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- Pollet, Robert (September 1, 2005). Belgian Malinois. Kennel Club Books. ISBN 1-59378-650-6.
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