Say what you like about the Belgian Malinois and its temperament, but that won’t change the fact that this specific breed has its die-hard fans who swear by it up and down. Just visit any pet forum online and you’ll see lots of gushing comments about the good qualities of the Belgian Malinois. So what are they like anyway?
To say that the temperament of the Belgian Malinois is a mixed bag is an understatement. Among its best qualities, the Belgian Malinois is known for being friendly, protective, hard-working, and confident. At the same time, the dog is notorious for its stubborn streak. It’s alert and watchful which means it is easy to train. But it’s also stubborn which can be a challenge when you’re trying to teach it new tricks.
But nobody is perfect and that applies to the Belgian Malinois. Since it has more good qualities than character flaws, we can be so bold as to say it’s a good dog for any household. But as usual, once we get into the nitty-gritty details, we’ll discover that not even stubbornness can be considered a bad thing. It’s part of the dog’s charm.
Belgian Malinois Temperament
So why do so many Belgian Malinois owners gush over the dog like it was heaven sent of something? Well, for one thing, the dog is exceptionally loyal, friendly, hard-working, and protective. Since it is a hyperactive dog that only sleeps a few hours a day, it is an excellent watch dog thanks to its alertness and hard-working nature.
The dog is also confident. It shows in the way he or she carries themselves. Their walk is graceful, their demeanor is elegant, and they know how to handle themselves in any situation. That’s the kind of dog you’d like to have by your side whether you’re at home or out on a hike.
As a hard-working dog, you know you can rely on the Belgian Malinois even in the most demanding jobs or tasks. It will guard your house, protect your family, and be there when you need it.
What’s It Like Owning a Belgian Malinois?
In other words, you can think of your Belgian Malinois is more than just another pet. This is a full-fledged member of the house who takes their responsibilities seriously. Whatever task you assign them, they’ll see it through. But that doesn’t mean that this is a serious dog that doesn’t like the fun side of things.
While it has a stubborn streak, the Belgian Malinois is also a fun dog to have. It’s friendly with people especially children and is down for a game of fetch any time of the day or night. It doesn’t take naps and only sleeps a few hours during the day. So it’s always ready for any activity or game you have in mind.
Temperament at Home
At home, the Belgian Malinois can be quiet as a mouse or it can be a hurricane of activity. It really depends on its mood. As long as it is comfortable, well-fed, and well rested, your Belgian Malinois will not make a fuss at home.
It gets well with other pets and children in the house. Just make sure the dog has enough exercise. It tends to get bored if it doesn’t spend time outside. Socializing is also important for the Belgian Malinois so don’t leave it alone for long hours since that can bring down its mood and make it restless.
Temperament for Training
The good qualities of the Belgian Malinois really shine when it’s time to train the dog or teach it some new tricks. As an alert and active breed, it picks up on what you want to teach it rather quickly. It has a good attention span and is smart enough to get it the first time.
But then you need to be wary of and watch out for its stubborn nature. Once the dog gets it in its head that it’s not interested in something, you can’t change its mind easily. Neither treats nor the promise of a walk to the park will say its resolve.
So don’t push it too far or scold it if it doesn’t get it right. Allow it time to rest and have a break. If the dog decides it doesn’t want to have any more training, respect that.
Getting Along With Other Pets and Children
All these good qualities that the Belgian Malinois enjoys make them a perfect match with so many pets in the house. It will get along with all pets including other dogs. It has a thick skin so it’s not easy to hurt this dog or get it offended. Even a mean cat won’t ruffle its proverbial feathers.
As for children, the dog is famously known for loving children and favoring them in games and other activities. It is kind enough to allow children to play with it and even when the play becomes rough the dog is gracious enough to accept it. It won’t harm the child although you need to be around when you have a toddler since the dog is not aware of the size discrepancy in its favor.
Personality Traits to Be Cautious About
The two main qualities that you need to watch out for are the stubborn streak and the sleeping habits of the dog. A stubborn Belgian Malinois will dig its heels and won’t budge no matter what you offer or promise him. Once its mind is set, that’s it. There’s no changing it. You can try but you won’t succeed. The best thing is to let it have its way.
The other trait is the sleeping habits of the dog. It only needs a few hours of sleep and no naps during the day. So if you keep it inside at night, make sure it gets plenty of food, toys, and space to stretch its restless legs. If that’s not available, then let it out at night weather permitting of course.
How to Manage Belgian Malinois Temperament?
The best way to deal with the Belgian Malinois is to treat it with respect. This is a proud dog that doesn’t like to be scolded or told what to do. Yes, it’s friendly enough to learn new habits and get trained, but if it senses that you don’t show it respect, it will get stubborn and refuse to listen to a word you say.
The other thing you should do is make sure the dog is comfortable and gets enough exercise. Even though it doesn’t sleep much, those few hours of sleep are really important for the temperament of the dog. It gets cranky if it doesn’t have enough sleep and can become restless if left alone for long hours during the day.
Are Belgian Malinois a Good Fit for You?
You have to know more about their habits and lifestyle then you can tell if they’re a good fit or not. This is an active dog that enjoys many hours of exercise and needs a lot of space even if it’s just a small pup.
It’s not the type of dog to sit on the couch, eat chips, and watch TV with you for long hours. It needs to be challenged physically and mentally. Games and exercise are the best way to keep the dog happy. So if that’s not who you are, then this is not the right dog for you. It doesn’t sleep much, so if you value your sleep, make sure it doesn’t disturb you.
Change in Behavior Could Signal Health Problems
With all these good traits, it’s easy to see why people love the Belgian Malinois. But as usual, things might not always go as planned. Something the dog would act cranky, lose its natural cheerfulness and even stop eating.
This is not normal for this breed. If you notice any unusual signs or the dog acting in an uncharacteristic way, that could mean it is having a health issue. Take it to the vet as soon as possible and have it checked.
Preparation Tips for Getting a New Belgian Malinois as a Pet
So you decided that the Belgian Malinois is the right breed for you. That’s great. Only you need to make a few changes and get prepared for this new member of the household.
One of the first things you need to do is make sure it has its own space. It doesn’t like to share its bed with the pesky cat. In fact if the cat sleeps in its bed, the dog won’t be able to sleep anyway. It’s a dog of set habits.
Make sure you have enough time for the dog’s daily exercise and activities. If you don’t have the time, then a dog sitter will take care of this task. As for training, it’s best that you do that yourself. Set time every week to spend with the dog training it and building a strong bond together.