Belgian Malinois Intelligence: How Smart Are They?

Belgian Malinois Intelligence

The Belgian Malinois is a naturally intelligent dog. The dog is smart enough to learn and get trained. That intelligence covers both its cognitive abilities as well as its emotional scope. When it looks at your face, it can read your emotions and understand whether you’re sad, mad, or feeling fine.

So how smart is the Belgian Malinois really? Can it do maths puzzles and help you with the crosswords? Of course not. Their intelligence is more on the practical side. It’s the kind of intelligence that makes them go through their daily life without making a big mess or get into trouble.

How Do Belgian Malinois Rank in Intelligence?

In Stanley Coren’s ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’, which evaluates breed intelligence, the Belgian Malinois is ranked 22nd in obedience and working intelligence out of 138 breeds.

How Smart Are Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois is an extremely intelligent and clever working dog. Typically, a Belgian Malinois needs only 5 to 15 repetitions to grasp a new instruction. Additionally, the Belgian Malinois is known for its notable obedience, often obeying the first command 85% of the time or more.

Instinctive Intelligence

The Belgian Malinois has strong natural instincts ingrained in the breed. Their main instincts include:

  • In herding, their natural drive to control movement and bark has made them excellent sheepherders.
  • With protection instincts, they are territorial and quickly alert to anything unusual, fueling their ability to guard and protect.
  • Hunting – their desire to chase moving objects helps Belgian Malinois excel at tasks like detecting scents.

These natural instincts provide an intelligent foundation that Belgian Malinois can apply to various types of work.

Obedience Intelligence

  • Laser-sharp focus and concentration on tasks
  • Ability to detect subtle cues and signals from handlers
  • Quick information processing speed
  • Strong work ethic and aim to please owners

These traits enable Belgian Malinois to learn commands, routines, and skills remarkably faster than many other breeds.

Problem-Solving Ability

Besides instinct and obedience, Belgian Malinois also exhibit strong adaptive intelligence.

Signs of their problem-solving ability include:

  • Evaluating situations quickly
  • Identifying the most efficient solutions
  • Adjusting approaches as needed
  • Thinking independently when required

Their mental flexibility and adaptability enable Belgian Malinois to effectively handle new tasks and situations.

The Best Belgian Malinois Intelligence Features

The Belgian Malinois has such a good temperament and is distinguished with its high focus, alertness and friendliness. These are all signs of how smart the dog really is. The focus allows the dog to learn things faster and doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

This means you need only to point things out once to the Belgian Malinois. It has a good memory and since it doesn’t like to get into trouble, it will usually follow instructions. The Belgian Malinois doesn’t forget a face and it remembers a kind gesture or a good deed. These are all signs of its intelligence.

Can Belgian Malinois Intelligence Be Improved?

Once in a while, you’ll have a pup that doesn’t act as smartly as you’d expect it to do. It’s either slow or just doesn’t pay attention. It can be clumsy, hard to train, or just loses focus a lot. It has a short attention span and keeps making the same mistakes over and over.

Obviously that’s not what you expected or hoped for when you got this small Belgian Malinois. So what can you do? Resign to your fate and accept the dog as is? No, you can help the dog improve its mental capabilities. It’s all about training the dog so that it gets better and becomes more responsive. 

How to Develop Your Belgian Malinois Puppy Intelligence?

Training is the key to helping the pup become smarter and catch up with the other smarter animals in the house. You can start with simple instructions such as train it to sit, stand, and play fetch. These are simple exercises that give the dog a good workout both physically and mentally.

By following instructions, the dog’s brain becomes more active. Then you can move on to more complicated exercises that train the dog’s coordination and connecting elements. All of this helps it understand the relationship between actions and consequences.

How Smart Can You Expect Your Belgian Malinois to Be?

Moderately smart at best. The more you train the dog, the better it gets. But it will never be the genius you hope it will become. In the end, the dog’s brain is limited in size and capability. It can process simple instructions, but it will not be able to deal with complex situations and it will certainly not learn anything beyond its capabilities.

Belgian Malinois Intelligence in Comparison with Pomeranians, Shiba Inus, Akitas ,Alaskan Malamutes ,Golden Retrievers and Samoyed

As we have seen the Belgian Malinois has an excellent intelligence. It will need practice and training to get better but it has a limit to its intelligence and it will not go further than that.

Pomeranians on the other hand are much smarter than the Belgian Malinois. This has to do with the demanding tasks that these dogs had to perform. The dog was trained to use its brain a lot more than its physical powers.

Shiba Inus are not the sharpest tool in the shed. That doesn’t mean that they’re dumb. They still manage to go through the day without destroying things around the place. But they would take longer than other dogs to grasp a simple command or master a simple trick. Practice and training both do wonders to this breed.

Akitas are noble dogs that have got it all. Looks and brains. They have been part of the workforce in their native Japan for centuries and that close proximity and constant interaction with humans have improved their cognitive abilities and made them the smart dogs we see today.

Alaskan Malamutes are similar to Akitas. Although they were mainly used to pull sleds, the complexity of this endeavor and the need to pick the best trails in the harsh snowy terrains has also improved their mental functions and made them quite smart.

Golden Retrievers are goofy and loveable dogs. They get by on their looks alone. By far, they’re the most intelligent dogs on this list. But that doesn’t make them less cute or adorable.

Samoyeds are somewhere in the middle on this list. They have certain tasks and they perform them to the best of their abilities. But outside of that, they don’t show great signs of intelligence. 

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