The Belgian Malinois is a versatile, energetic, and intelligent breed of dog, very popular as a family dog and also, notably, in roles with customs, military, border, and police forces. But what are the character traits that make the breed so formidable as a working dog? Find out below.

What are the Pros of the Belgian Malinois' Temperament?

The Belgian Malinois has many great qualities! Keep in mind that the advice here is indicative and general to the breed. Every dog is unique. If you’re looking for a specific quality in your dog, ask your breeder for advice. They should know all their puppies well and be able to direct you to the one that’s best for you. There is no notable difference in temperament between male and female Malinoises.


The Belgian Malinois is particularly affectionate and kind to its family. These doggies like to be close to their masters. They love children, with whom they are always gentle and kind, and make wonderful playmates. However, be careful not to leave your little ones unsupervised with such a dog, because the Malinois is a lively and powerful pooch.


Belgian Malinoises show incredible loyalty to their master, to whom they remain devoted and offer great obedience - provided your pooch has been properly trained. With this loyalty comes a very strong protective instinct, which makes the Malinois an excellent guard dog.


The imposing size of the Malinois is accompanied by unwavering bravery. Like any good herding dog, accustomed to watching over a flock, a Mali will never hesitate to put itself in danger to accomplish a task. This is a formidable working dog, highly regarded by national security agencies due to its great ability. The Malinois excels in these roles but also makes a wonderful companion dog.


The Malinois is a highly intelligent dog breed that will quickly understand what is expected of it, so long as you are never violent. However, training your Belgian Malinois is an essential step that should not be neglected. You have to be firm with your Mali but never violent, to avoid turning them against you and making them aggressive.


This breed of dog is particularly agile and muscular. The Malinois, like all Belgian Shepherd Dogs (including the Tervueren, Groenendael, and Laekenois), is very lively and needs regular exercise. This dog is ideal for sporty, athletic masters, who enjoy jogging or hiking. Your Belgian Malinois will accompany you anywhere outdoors: walks on the beach, hikes in the mountains, they love it all! Don't hesitate to sign your pooch up to canine activities as well.


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What are the Cons of the Belgian Malinois' Temperament?

The Malinois, like all dog breeds, has a few characteristics that are perhaps a little more difficult to manage. It’s important to be aware of these before you adopt a dog so that you know how to handle it with confidence when the time comes. Good knowledge of the breed is essential before any adoption.

Barks Sometimes

A good watchdog, the Malinois will not hesitate to make itself heard if the situation requires, when an intruder approaches, for example. Your dog may also start to bark compulsively if they are not getting enough physical and intellectual stimulation and, consequently, feel bored and lonely. This could be especially concerning if you live in an apartment with your Belgian Malinois. It can quickly become disturbing to your neighbours and create conflict. Deal with the situation as soon as it arises, as an unhappy pooch is likely to sink into depression.

Needs Socialising Properly

Your Belgian Malinois needs socialising properly from an early age to prevent them from developing a sense of mistrust towards their surroundings. You must begin to socialise your dog around the age of 2 months old, as soon as you welcome your new puppy home. Focus on creating positive experiences for your Mali and allow them to meet as many people, dogs, and other animals as possible. Don’t neglect this essential step; a poorly socialised Malinois will be much more difficult to handle and train.

Not Suitable as a First Dog

Despite the popularity of the breed, the Belgian Malinois is not suitable for everyone. We don’t recommend adopting a Malinois as a first dog. It’s essential to understand the Malinois breed and all its specificities and requirements before proceeding with an adoption. A solid understanding of dog training is essential for training a Belgian Malinois. Don't hesitate to ask a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for help. Additionally, the adult size of a Belgian Malinois is impressive and imposing and thus needs a master who can be firm and authoritative, but never violent.

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