Belgian Malinois temperament makes them great watchdogs and guardians. The breed’s personality makes them a perfect military, service and police dog. They are smart, cooperative, protective, defensive and confident, coming from working herding roots. These brave and loyal dogs are affectionate companions, but their athletic build and energetic nature can be a lot to take. Belgian Malinois temperament includes high levels of intelligence that need focussing and channelling with socialization and positive reinforcement training methods. They thrive in adult only homes that can give them lots of attention and keep those working, herding instincts in check.
Problem behaviors are possible and usually include chewing, digging and noise, but these are all manageable as the breed is easy to train. Kids are usually not a great match for the breed, but they can get on well with children they know. They are good with dogs they know, but can be wary of strange dogs and other animals.
Working Belgian Malinois Temperament
While the Belgian Malinois was originally bred as a sheep-herding dog, their intelligence, trainability, and tenacity have led this breed to serve as police and military dogs. They are also active and competitive in conformation, obedience, herding, sledding, agility, therapy and tracking.
The Typical Temperament
Belgian Malinois dogs are usually active, intelligent, friendly, protective, alert and hardworking. However, they can also be suspicious of strangers, overly confident and if left unsupervised they are quick to become destructive.
Whether it’s a formal role on a ranch or with search and rescue, or fun tracking games or agility, they do best when occupied. And it’s not just for a few hours a day. These dogs need to spend most of their waking hours with their handler and making good use of that busy brain.
Are Belgian Malinois Easy To Train?
Though the Belgian Malinois temperament is sometimes willful and playful, they are highly trainable and thrive on obedience, trick, and agility training. They can read the smallest of movements and even detect changes in facial expression. This breed is highly intelligent! However, this does not make them ideal for first-time dog owners.
Positive reinforcement training is the best way to train a Belgian Malinois, as discipline can lead to bad behavior and stubbornness. Malinois need a lot of high-intensity training and require strenuous activity to remain happy and healthy.
Is Belgian Malinois Temperament Friendly?
The Belgian Malinois can typically be aloof and outgoing, but should never be fearful, shy, or aggressive. They make a great watchdog and have the ability to be protective when necessary.
When the Belgian Malinois is raised with children, they can be very accepting. But they might be uneasy around your kids’ friends. Do not forget that this dog was bred for herding and may begin chasing and nipping the heels of people, which doesn’t mix well with younger kids. Malinois are best suited with a family that has older children that understand how to treat a dog properly.
Since the beginning of the Malinois, they were bred to be herding dogs and were able to defend their master and their master’s home. The Belgian Malinois temperament still possesses these traits today. They should not and usually do not respond with aggression or nervousness when introduced or confronted with an unfamiliar person. Instead, this trait is usually a sign that they have not been properly socialized.
However, they can still snap or growl out of fear or aggression. For these reasons, it is highly recommended to adopt a Belgian Malinois from a reputable breeder, who produces dogs with a good temperament.
Do They Like Other Dogs?
These confident guardians can extend their protective tendencies towards other animals, including dogs. Although they are generally fine when they have grown up with another dog or been introduced to them slowly on neutral territory.
Herding is what Belgian Malinois were bred to do. This instinct can lead them to chase and nip. They also tend to chase bikes, cars, kids, and other animals. Malinois require a high amount of exercise, and if they do not get this exercise, they can become bored and start herding children and nipping at people heels.
This herding instinct also makes them protective of their families and home. This can cause them to be wary of unfamiliar people. It is imperative that they are socialized from an early age to be more welcoming of new people and other dogs.
If they aren’t socialized from an early age, then you may notice aggressive tendencies. Chewing, barking, and separation anxiety are a few more things that this breed can develop. However, this is most likely due to lack of exercise and boredom.
Adopting a Belgian Malinois will in return give you an active lifestyle. If you do not want to take care of an active dog, then we do not recommend adopting this breed.
Christine Nielson says
My first Belgian malinois was a rescue from Afghanistan. she was wonderful he guarded the house since the minute he walked in and me and the property and was wonderful and sweet but cautious of people he didn’t know.I only had him for 3 years and he died and that broke my heart.the second Belgian malinois was also a rescue he was a drug dog from Texas and he was at the global training center in Houston when they called my vet and my vet called me and asked me to take him.they were going to put him down if I decided not to take them so I took him and my roommate and I had a bit of a problem the first 3 months we had him and he bit a lot of people including us for the first 3 months but we figured out what his trigger was and we’ve had him for 5 years now and he is my big baby. He’s my big baby but I’m very cautious when other people are around because I don’t trust him with other people. But he’s extremely protective of me to the point where if he’s in the house somebody cannot sit next to me they have to sit on the other end of the couch
But even though he’s a little crazy and he’s getting old and gray I still love him and I’m hoping he lives a long life
But these dogs especially dogs that have been from the military or the police department they have triggers they have PTSD so you have to be aware of what you’re getting when you get them and I don’t suggest families with children or other dogs or don’t have a lot of property ever adopt a Belgian malinois.
This breed of dog can be highly dangerous if not properly trained for sure. We were on a golf course where a pack of dogs was off to the side. One was a Belgian Malinois. We attempted to play through the hole and the dog attempted to maul my father, was unsuccessful so it went for my mother instead. It successfully mauled my mother and made an extremely deep bite on her thigh and started shaking it’s head in an attempt to rip her leg muscles apart. She survived, but only because my father hit the dog with a 4 iron so hard it broke the club. The owner who was not too far away was an 87 year old who clearly did not have any control of her pack seemed shocked that this could happen.
Josh next time you see dog like this dont atemp to play through holes. This is not a puddle that is running around waiting for you to play with her. Being stranger and thinking that this dog will play with you was a very stupid idea. Unfortunately because of your stupidity dog got hit by a iron club. You guys are glad that this dog didnt eat your dad alive after he hit him. So sad. I hope you and your family learned the lesson with dogs
I adopted a 50 pound, 7 year old female, Belgian Maliois mix from the pound 10 months ago. She was a wreck. Fearful, cowering, shaking around certain individuals at the pound.
They pound told me to muzzle her “at all times” and asked me if I really wanted “that dog”. I have never had such a bad experience and I am sure the dog felt the same way.
She is the only dog in the house. Two adults, no kids. Fenced yard. Doggie door. Has the run of the house. Is walked daily.
It took about 10 days before she would allow me to pet her. She went through a ‘drive by love’ phase. She would let me pet her for a few *seconds* then run away.
We built a bond through walking. She’s a smart dog and has had some training. I did not start formal training with her until she learned to trust me which took at least 6 months.
Like everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.
Definitely not for the first time dog owner.
My previous dog and I were a certified therapy dog team. She was a 90 pound Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Agressive for the first few years of her life. The ex came home with this puppy saying he was going to take her hunting. I knew that would never happen so I took her to dog classes and we got kicked out of 3 of them due to her aggression. Lots of work went into that dog and I miss her dearly.
I trained her so well thinking if she somehow ended up in the pound someone would give her a chance and see beyond the aggression. When I lost her it occurred to me that I should be the one to look past a dog’s aggressive side and give her a chance.
Before you get any dog, know yourself. Will you really walk it every day to form the bond you’re looking for? Most behavioral problems can be cured by exercise with the owner. A tired dog is a happy dog. Happy dog, happy owner.
I rescued a year-old pup from the highway. No tags. Turns out he’s a Malinois. Never found the owners.
He is a learning experience but he loves my four other dogs and people! Incredibly intelligent. Very rambunctious.
Not at all aggressive like my female Shepherd can be. Also the most affectionate and loving.
All dogs are capable of hurting something but don’t apply this label to any dog type!
HARTFORD, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – A 6-week-old Hartford baby has died from several dog bite injuries on Thursday.
Hartford Area Fire & Rescue arrived first on the scene. The 6-week-old was flown by helicopter to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The dog involved, a Belgian Malinois, was a family pet and was taken by the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society
My daughter and 4 year old son live w her boyfriend who has a malinois. He has bit my grandson twice. I don’t know if I should make a report to animal control?
Why do they stay so thirsty??
I understand the thick coat.. but why stay so thirsty.. ?