Can Belgian Malinois Run Long Distances? (Explained)

Can Belgian Malinois Run Long Distances

When you have an active life and spend more time outdoors than at home, then you need the right breed of dog to accompany you. The Belgian Malinois is an athletic dog that enjoys life on the move and being active all the time. But can they run long distances?

Yes, the Belgian Malinois can run long distances. But you have to build their stamina and train them. This breed isn’t used to running for miles on end. But you can start with a short distance and gradually take it further every time.

As you can see running marathons is not in the DNA of the Belgian Malinois. You have to take it easy with them and not push them too hard. So let’s delve into this interesting topic and see how your Belgian Malinois can run cross country with you.

The History of Belgian Malinois as Running Dogs

People often view the Belgian Malinois as suitable for jogging, running, and endurance sports. However, the Belgian Malinois did not initially excel in long-distance running. Originally, the Belgian Malinois served as an all-purpose herding dog.

Origins as a Herding Breed

  • Belgian Malinois originated as sheep herding dogs in Belgium during the late 1800s.
  • They were bred to have a strong work ethic, obedience, intelligence, and exceptional stamina.
  • Their ancestors, regional shepherd dogs, were skilled in herding flocks over large farmlands.
  • Such breeding made them agile, athletic, and capable of walking, jogging, or running for hours.

Transition to Police & Military Jobs

  • By the 1900s, many Belgian Malinois were working jobs beyond herding.
  • The police and military noticed their trainability, discipline, and fitness.
  • Belgian Malinois began to work in law enforcement, search and rescue, and war zone operations.
  • These crucial jobs relied on the breed’s speed, agility, and endurance.
  • The demands of their intense working roles shaped their running and endurance abilities.

A Modern Athletic & Running Phenomenon

Today, Belgian Malinois excels in canine sports that demand high speed, stamina, and mental focus. Their energy and eagerness to run make them ideal exercise companions for human runners and endurance athletes.

What Makes Belgian Malinois Good Running Companions?

The Belgian Malinois is an energetic and athletic breed that can make an excellent running companion.

Their Intelligence and Trainability

  • Belgian Malinois are known for being highly intelligent dogs. This intelligence also makes them very trainable.
  • If trained and socialized early, they can learn to run alongside you for long distances.
  • They focus and respond to commands faster than many other breeds.
  • With positive reinforcement training, Belgian Malinois can learn advanced obedience cues such as: heeling, changing pace, navigating obstacles, and ignoring distractions.

Their trainability allows them to adapt to the demands of long distance running.

Their Natural Athleticism

  • Belgian Malinois are naturally athletic due to selective breeding.
  • They have a strong, muscular build yet are surprisingly agile.
  • They have limitless energy and a love for physical activity.
  • A well-conditioned Belgian Malinois, built for endurance, can run for hours.
  • Distance running meets their need for high levels of exercise.
  • If you are an avid runner, this breed will easily keep up with you.
  • Their athleticism and stamina make them perfect partners for running.

Should You Run Long Distance With Your Belgian Malinois?

The answer to that is not at first. If you have a puppy, then you will have to wait for them to grow a little and develop all their muscles. While the Belgian Malinois is an athletic breed with an affinity for outdoor activities, that doesn’t make them natural marathon runners. You need to ease them into it.

Take them for short runs then increase the distance gradually. That way they will ease into the training and build stamina without injuring themselves.

How Fast Can A Belgian Malinois Run?

Speed and stamina are mutually exclusive. Just because your Belgian Malinois can run fast, doesn’t mean you should take it running around town or across a long hiking trail. While they are not known for their high speed, the Belgian Malinois can make 35 miles per hour easily.

Keep in mind that you should never force or even expect your dog to keep up this speed for long. They can run in spurts of energy for short distances before they have to slow down. This is actually how animals tend to run. No animal can run at top speed for more than a couple of minutes. So if your dog is running with you, try to accommodate their physical conditions such as a smaller heart than yours.

How Far Can A Belgian Malinois Run?

Now that we know that Belgian Malinois can run fast, the next question, how far? As we said even the cheetah out in the African savannah wouldn’t chase a gazelle for more than half a minute before she has to slow down. Her heart cannot take it.

So that should be your guideline as you take your Belgian Malinois along with you on your hikes. If you expect it to run for miles without getting tired, think again. So always take it slow and don’t push the dog too far to avoid injuries.

How Long Can a Belgian Malinois Run at One Time?

The answer to this question is similar to the one above. It’s not a given that your athletic Belgian Malinois will run for miles on end. How long it can keep it up depends on many variables. First of all, its age is an important factor. A puppy or a growing dog will not run for long since it doesn’t have the physique for it. At the same time an aged Belgian Malinois is past its prime and cannot run for long at one time.

The physical state of the dog is another factor. Always check your Belgian Malinois is in good physical shape before you take them out running. Don’t feed the dog a heavy meal before you go out. In short, all the rules that apply to you as an athletic person, also apply to the dog.

Belgian Malinois Endurance

When we talk about dogs that have been pulling sleds for centuries and helping humans with other demanding tasks, that means the Belgian Malinois have admirable endurance. But again that’s not something they get in their DNA. You have to build that endurance.

Start slowly and gradually. The first time you go running, go easy and stop after the first mile or so. Even if the dog looks eager to keep going, you just call it a day and go back. Give them time to rest and recover before you go out the next time.

Things to Watch Out Before Run Long Distances

The first thing to consider before you take your Belgian Malinois out for a long distance run is to check the dog’s health. If they were ill and have just recovered, then you should not take them with you. They have to be in a very good condition to even consider them as a companion on your run.

You should also watch out for dehydration. It has devastating effects on their kidneys. So always go prepared and make frequent stops to allow the dog to hydrate. Try to avoid exposure to the sun. Of course this is easier said than done. But if you have an alternative route that’s shaded, take that one over an exposed one.

Keeping Your Belgian Malinois Safe on the Run

Dehydration and sun strokes are the two major risks you have to avoid. Other risks involve traffic. Always choose quiet roads with less traffic than crowded ones. Your Belgian Malinois gets easily distracted and might run into the coming traffic without noticing.

Also be wary of their propensity to go chasing butterflies, squirrels or any other wild animals they see. If they wander off into private property you could find yourself in trouble. The same goes for wild animals. Make sure you’re not running in a forest where bears or mountain lions roam. Wildlife doesn’t take kindly to a running dog that looks fierce.

How Much Exercise Should My Belgian Malinois Get?

As much exercise as they can get. This is an outdoorsy dog that enjoys a run, a hike, or just chasing the butterflies. It doesn’t like to stay inside watching TV with you and eating potato chips. It needs exercise to improve its moods and spend all those extra calories.

A couple of times a week is a good regimen for the Belgian Malinois. To be fair, a healthy Belgian Malinois can handle more exercise than that. It will relish a visit to the park every day if you can take them. However, don’t overdo it. While they look athletic enough to handle heavy exercise, you should also balance that with rest and breaks to allow them to recover.

Health Problems Associated with Running Long Distances

If you are an athlete, then you are aware of the health problems that come with running long distances. Every time you go out running you put a lot of strain on your heart. Excessive exercise can develop cardiovascular conditions. Your dog is no different in this aspect. So don’t expect it to go running for miles with you without adequate rest and recovery periods.

Bone injury is another issue of course. If you’re running on hiking trails which are not paved, there’s always a risk of tripping or injuries. Choose forest trails over rocky ones since they are softer under the dog’s paws. Remember that your dog isn’t wearing shoes to protect its paws.

Finally, take precautions against dehydration. Always carry water with you both for yourself and your Belgian Malinois. A nutritious snack will also keep their strength as they burn calories at a faster pace while running than during other activities.

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