Don’t be mistaken. Despite its similar looks, the Belgian Malinois is a separate breed from the German Shepherd. But, like the German Shepherd, it is a loyal, energetic, and tough dog. Tough in terms of temperament and resistance to outside forces.
The Belgian Malinois has a durable coat of fur that functions well as a barrier between it and any bad weather life might throw at them. Rain, snow, or shine (although not too hot), the Belgian Malinois can withstand anything, including cold weather.
If you find this information intriguing, then we suggest you continue reading. The following article will discuss the Belgian Malinois’ resistance to the cold, including how long they can stay out in the cold and how best to care for them in chilly temperatures. Malinois enthusiasts and casual knowledge gleaners alike, read on and enjoy!
The secret to the Belgian Malinois’ imperviousness to the cold is their double-layered coat. Their fur comprises the top layer of fur, often sleek and shiny. Underneath that, though, is a wooly layer that acts as insulation against wind, snow, and cold. Imaging having a built-in wool sweater as a second layer of skin. That would be similar.
Do not take this double-layered coat for granted, though. This does not render your Malinois oblivious to the cold. What it does is raise the threshold (or should we say lower the temperature) at which it affects them. Winter weather that might have us shivering in our boots will only give your Belgian Malinois a mild chill.
Is My Belgian Malinois Weatherproof?
Yes, but maybe weatherproof isn’t the perfect word. The weather can still affect your Belgian Malinois (namely extreme heats or colds), your pet just has a wider range of comfortable temperatures. They begin to feel cold at a much lower temperature and hot at a higher temperature than humans do.
If you think weatherproof is a fitting term for the Belgian Maliniois’ weather durability, by all means, they are weatherproof. Again, it boils down to their double coat. That under layer of wooly fur acts as an insulator in cold weather, blocking out the cold, wind, and snow and keeping heat in. Conversely, in hot weather their wooly second layer does a good job at keeping the heat out and cool air in against the dog’s skin.
How Long Can Belgian Malinois Stay in the Cold?
The time limit for outside time in the cold depends on the extremity of the temperature. The lower the temperature, the shorter the time they should spend outside.
A good gauge for judging how long to leave your Belgian Malinois in the cold is to ask yourself how long you would like to stay in that weather. Sure, the Malinois can withstand colder temperatures than you can, but it’s always better to air on the side of caution.
How Cold is Too Cold for Your Belgian Malinois?
Although the Belgian Malinois does a good job toughing both hot and cold weather, they have their limits. Extreme cold is not a suitable temperature for them or you. What is extreme cold? Just imagine anything too far below zero.
As mentioned before, the Belgian Malinois’ double-layered coat is the secret to their resistance to the cold. Proper maintenance of their coat will help them withstand colder temperature. Weekly brushing with a good quality brush will keep their fur healthy and full.
Watch Out for Cold Warning Signs
The Belgian Malinois has a surprising imperviousness to the cold. However, always keep an eye out for warning signs to ensure your dog does not become too cold. Signals that your Malinois might be feeling more than just a casual chill include:
- Shaking or shivering – who doesn’t do this when they’re cold?
- A hunched posture combined with a tucked tail—curling up on themselves is an attempt to conserve body heat
- Excessive whining or barking–what better way to bring attention to something wrong than by complaining?
- Behavior change—if your dog acts nervous or uncomfortable, they might be reacting to the cold.
- Lifting their paws off the ground–since the paws are the part of the body constantly in contact with the cold ground, these are usually the place your dog feels the coldest.
If you leave your Belgian Malinois out in the cold too long, they can develop hypothermia. This is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. If your dog displays any of the below symptoms, get them somewhere warm, wrap them in a blanket, and take them to the vet as soon as possible:
- Stiff muscles
- Shallow and slow breathing
- Dazed and confused temperament
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of conciousness
How to Help Your Belgian Malinois When it’s Cold?
The best time to plant a tree is yesterday, as the saying goes. What this means regarding the Belgian Malinois is the best way to help them with cold weather is to brush and care for their coat beforehand. Another way is to be aware of the weather. Avoid letting your dog out in extreme cold.
When your Belgian Malinois is out in the cold, watch out for the warning signs above. Keep them moving and active so they have more body heat to insulate themselves with. If the weather is cold enough, dress them in boots and a coat to help insulate even more.
After coming in from outside, be sure to dry off their coat. Wipe off any water or snow that will melt to water. A damp coat is a simple way to be cold. Keep them somewhere warm and, if instant reheating is a must, wrap them in a blanket.
What are Other Dangers from the Cold?
In cold weather, the body pulls blood towards the vital organs in the center of the body. This leaves the extremities, like the ears, nose, paws, and legs, exposed to a greater risk of frostbite and tissue damage. In less extreme cases, these parts of the bodies are usually the first to give your Belgian Malinois trouble. This is where they start feeling cold first.
Other lesser known dangers from cold weather are road salt and car antifreeze on the ground. The salt pellets can get caught in your dog’s paws and cause them considerable discomfort and pain. The smell of antifreeze also attracts dogs who then get sick from licking, what they see as, the sweet-smelling mystery liquid.
Exercise During the Winter
The Belgian Malinois is an energetic dog. Typically, they need at least an hour of exercise per day, whether it is a walk, outdoor playtime, or indoor activities. This need does not change when the weather gets cold.
The biggest change you must make in Winter is exchanging some of their outdoor play and walk time for indoor activity time. They will still need some time outside. Keeping a Belgian Malinois cooped up inside for too long is not a good idea, as boredom can lead to misbehavior and destructive calls for attention.
Caring for Belgian Malinois in the Cold
Your biggest aim when caring for your Belgian Malinois in cold weather is to ensure they do not get too cold. This means watching out for any signs of hypothermia or frostbite (listed above). You should also take good care of their fur, as their double-layered coat is their best protection against the elements. Dry them off when they come inside and brush them at least once a week.
Winter clothing might be necessary for your dog if they regularly go out in extreme cold. Try to limit outdoor time to when it is sunny.
What Food Should Belgian Malinois Eat If They Are Outside for Long Periods in the Cold?
The first thing to know about feeding your Belgian Malinois in cold weather is they may require less food. It is natural for their activity level to decrease in the cold weather, although look out for drastic changes in energy as that can be a sign of something more. This downward turn in activity means fewer calories burned. If you keep their food amount, the same or increase their meals, this can easily lead to overfeeding.
Keep their diet the same. There is no need to switch the brand or type of dog food you typically use. A high-quality, natural-ingredient-filled, preservative-and-chemical-free dog food is a splendid choice no matter the weather.