The Belgian Malinois is a very loyal breed. They are smart, assertive animals that are protective of their owners and their homes. For this reason, they are often used as guard dogs and watchdogs. They also make excellent service animals due to their trainability and eagerness to please.
The Belgian Malinois was originally bred to be herders. They are able to keep the herd moving in the same direction, encourage stragglers to stick with the herd, and protect the herd from predators. They are hardworking animals and love doing what they were born to do. In more recent times, the Belgian Malinois breed has been used by the military and police departments for the purpose of detecting contraband. They are trained to sniff out drugs, explosives, and other weapons at airports and other transportation hubs.
They also make great family pets as any Belgian Malinois owner will tell you. Read on for more information on the abilities of this powerful yet graceful dog.
Ancient History of the Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois dates back to as early as 1891, where a veterinarian from Belgium named Adolphe Reuel gathered over a hundred Belgian Shepherds. They found them ununified and advised their owners to breed their dogs only to ones with the same coat. This led to four different varieties of Belgian Shepherd dogs: the Malinois, Tervuren, Laekenois, and Groenendael.
Malinois was named after the beautiful city of Malines, where they were developed by working competitors and trainers. In 1911, they first arrived in the U.S. and gained tremendous popularity. They were first used as military working dogs during World War I. However, during the Great Depression and beyond, they were less prevalent.
Modern History of the Belgian Malinois
In 1959, the Belgian Malinois was recognized by the American Kennel Club. By 1965, they were placed into the working breed group and in 1983 moved into the herding group. By the early 2000s, they were commonly used as search and rescue dogs, drug detection dogs, military working dogs, and police dogs.
In fact, this breed was hired by the Secret Service for the sole purpose of patrolling the White House grounds. Over the years, they have become more elaborate with their missions. Sometimes they join in on skydiving activities for military purposes. They even wear night-vision goggles and body armor during their more dangerous military missions.
What Were Belgian Malinois Originally Bred For?
The Belgian Malinois was originally bred to be herding dogs and the other four breeds of Belgian sheepdogs. These were the go-to dogs for cattlemen and Belgian sheepherders. They were thought to have strong innate characteristics to protect for a family and farm.
Herdings dogs were used to manage sheep and protect them from predators. However, over the last century, they have become more versatile and expanded their purpose beyond just herding.
What Are Belgian Malinois Bred for Today?
Today, Mals are typically bred to be loving family members, protection dogs, and military dogs. But why are they used as police dogs? Police dogs should have a keen intellect and excellent noise to sniff out danger such as guns, bombs, and drugs. They typically work at subway stations, trains, and airports because they can easily identify scents due to their high sniffling drive.
In addition, this breed has a strong instinct to protects. Mals are loyal to their owners and will protect them at all costs. Furthermore, they have a slight build and are quick to react to situations making them very quick to detect danger.
Natural Instincts and Impulses
These dogs want nothing more than to be around their owners. The Belgian Malinois has natural territorial and protective instincts. Since their natural instinct is to protect, they may chase and nip things such as kids, cars, bikes, and other animals. They may show signs of their herding behavior with their family members or children.
For example, Mals may nip at their calves or heels similar to how they do with a cow or sheep to keep them in one spot. Since they have a natural tendency to protect, they may snarl or bark at strangers to prove their loyalty to their owner. Of course, these natural impulses can be dialed back through early socialization or they can be utilized to be great working dogs.
Belgian Malinois’ Breeding Ancestry
Belgian Malinois are thought to be bred directly from the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Sheepdog. They are one of four breeds of Belgian sheepherding dogs in Belgium and France. Mals were typically bred in Malines, Belgium and are usually classified as a mixed breed from a variety of Belgian Shepherd rather than being its own separate breed.
About 130 years ago the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club was founded. Around this time a Belgian veterinarian, Professor Dr. Adolphe Reul, assembled a group of his contemporaries with the purpose of determining whether a national shepherd dog really existed.
The panel examined over 100 dogs and determined that there was indeed a distinct breed of Belgian Shepherd. Four varieties were identified and named after the towns from which they came. There was the Malinous from.
Malines, of course. The other three varieties include the Tervuren, the Groenendael and the Laekenois, which is actually not named after town but a local park and not a town.
In 1901, the first Belgian Shepherd, Vos des Polders, was officially registered and all subsequent Malinois are essentially descended from him and his mate Lise de Laeken. These early offspring were gray and fawn colored with coats of short, rough fur.
Why People Love to Have a Belgian Malinois?
The Belgian Malinois is the perfect combination of loving, affection, but also strong and protective. Although they might be shy around strangers, they are very affectionate with their loved ones. Their natural instinct is to protect his loved ones and will obey their owners. This breed does well in responding to the commands of its owner. If you want an affectionate dog who also listens well and protects your home from potential danger, this is one of the main breeds to consider.
The Belgian Malinois is also good with children. It may look intimidating at first glance, but with proper training, they play well with children and also protect them. They are good dogs to exercise with too and they are expert swimmers. Mals have long legs and webbed feet so they can move quickly and powerfully through the water while keeping their head safely above the surface. If you’re looking for a dog to exercise with, good luck keeping up with a Belgian Malinois.
Why Belgian Malinois are Bred as Service Animals?
Service animals are trained to work with or perform certain simple tasks for their human counterparts. Dogs make good service animals because of their eagerness to learn and their loyalty. Dogs have been used in this capacity in the United States since the 1920s.
If trained properly, the Belgian Malinois can hone in on a very solid, yet calm temperament. Service dogs are known to perform work for people with disabilities. A classic example of service dogs is a Belgian Malinois who helps lead their blind owner around to get from point A to point B. Here are a few characteristics that make the Belgian Malinois the right fit to be service animals:
Intelligent: Belgian Malinois has the ability to perform complex tasks such as leading them from one location to another, alerting the deaf to noises, retrieving items, pulling a wheelchair or evening reminding people to take their medication.
Calm Demeanor: Since a service dog has a job to do, they must be calm amongst disturbances. This means they won’t be distracted by things such as birds, sirens, and other dogs. They likely won’t jump, play or run during inappropriate times.
Friendly Disposition: Mals can also be very comforting and provide emotional support when needed. They are very friendly around other people and dogs.
Tendency to Bond Strongly: Mals can develop a strong bond with their owners. This makes them very loyal to their owners and will do what it takes to serve them.
Strong Work Drive: A lazy dog won’t cut it. The Belgian Malinois has a strong desire to help their owners rather than lounge on the couch all day. A service dog has a job to do and must be reliable.
Why Belgian Malinois Are Bred as Guard Dogs?
Honoring their herding origins, they have grown from their ancestral capability to guard cattle to now working as guard dogs. Their previous ancestral ability to guard the herd makes them a prime candidate to do police work and guard people. They are considered one of the best guard dogs because of their loyal and protective nature.
The Malinois have a strong sense of responsibility to protect their owner and obey their commands. At the same time, Mals are highly intelligent and are always on high alert. Since their energy levels are high, they are able to quickly jump and protect their possessions or owners at a moment’s notice.