The Belgian Malinois is one of four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog: Groenendael, Laekenois, Tervuren, and Malinois. All medium to large-sized herding dogs with a slender build and elegant gait, the Malinois has a coat and colour all its own. Find out more about the unique characteristics of the Mali below.

Belgian Malinois Colours

The breed standard for the Belgian Malinois, as established by The Kennel Club, accepts all shades of red, fawn, and grey with black overlay and a black mask. No variation on these colours is accepted. Additionally, the black mask on the face should not extend above the eyes and ears. White should not be the dominant colour, but a small white patch is permitted on the chest or the paws.

These are the accepted colours of the Malinois coat:

  • Fawn - the most common colour for a Malinois

  • Mahogany - a deep reddish brown

  • Grey

Some other colours of Malinois can also be found, although these are rare and not accepted by the breed standard:

  • Black

  • Blue

  • Bicolour (black and tan)

Please note: The aesthetic criterion should never be the main reason you choose a dog. Instead, look at the Belgian Malinois' temperament and ideal living conditions to be sure that this dog is suitable for you. 

Belgian Malinois Coat

The Belgian Malinois has a short, coarse, and thick coat. The hair is short over the entire body, but can be a little thicker around the neck, the backs of the thighs, and on the tail. The Malinois also has a woolly undercoat which offers good protection against bad weather. The Belgian Malinois never has long hair; if you want a Belgian Shepherd Dog with more abundant fur, consider adopting a Tervueren instead. Grooming the Belgian Malinois’ coat requires the least amount of maintenance of all the Belgian Shepherd Dogs. However, you do need to brush your Mali regularly using a suitable brush.


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Belgian Malinois Size and Weight

The Belgian Malinois is a fairly large dog that measures around 60cm at the withers in adulthood. There is a noticeable difference between the size of the two sexes. Males measure between 60 and 66cm at the withers and weigh between 25 and 30kg. Females measure between 56 and 62cm at the withers and weigh between 20 and 25kg. Because of their size, it’s important to train your Malinois properly from an early age. Don’t hesitate to ask a professional dog trainer for help with this.

The growth period of the Belgian Malinois can be divided into two very distinct phases: a phase of rapid growth, until they reach 8 or 9 months, then a phase of more stable growth. The Malinois finishes growing at around 19 months old. This dog breed takes longer to mature than small or medium-sized dog breeds. This is often the case with large dog breeds; some giant breeds, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, can take up to two years to mature.

You can usually estimate the adult weight of a dog by the age of 7 months because, by this point, a dog is considered to weigh two thirds of its final weight. Growth is a critical time for every puppy. Not only is this the time when your puppy forges a relationship with the world around them, but it is also the most crucial period for dog training, which needs to be taken seriously. During this time, it’s crucial to give your pooch lots of attention and be careful to protect their joints by avoiding putting too much strain on them. The Malinois is subject to hip dysplasia, which is a joint problem that could seriously affect your dog's mobility and therefore their quality of life.

So avoid letting your dog climb the stairs or engage in especially intense or rough games. Although the Malinois needs lots of exercise, it’s important to make sure your dog doesn't over-exert themselves either. Also be sure to provide your Malinois with a high-quality diet based on dry or wet dog food, perfectly adapted to meet their needs. Growing puppies need to eat enough to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. You will undoubtedly need to change your dog’s food as they grow older.

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