Frequently Asked Questions about Malinois
I have heard that Malinois do not shed, is that true?
Many Malinois owners truly wish that was true :-) However, unfortunately it isn't. Most Malinois shed their coats twice a year, Spring and Fall. With proper attention to daily grooming at those times you can reduce the length of time it takes to complete the shedding time. Bath thoroughly once you notice they are in full shed and within 24-48 hrs the bulk of the shedding fur will release for easy removal with a brushing. For additional ideas on how to reduce the impact of the Malinois, or any dog in the home, visit, Housecleaning with Pets.
I have been considering getting a Malinois, however, I'm unsure if I have the appropriate environment for one. We own our home and the back yard is normal size, approximately 100 x 75. Our 8 year old daughter's current pet is a playful 2 year old mixed breed of about 50-55lbs. My husband and I both work and we are looking for a family pet, "guard dog". Would you recommend a Malinois for our family?
While in the final analysis only you can make that decision, you are right to question your lifestyle and it's suitability for a Malinois. Mals do not do well left outside away from a lot of contact in all aspects of their family's activity. Mals are inquisitive and want, No, Need, to be part of everything their family's do. A standard 4-5 ft fence is nothing to a Malinois and if left to their own devices to entertain themselves they can get into an incredible amount of trouble. And an average yard subjected to the constant activity of many of our Malinois can mean that it becomes a quagmire. Many do not settle into a reasonable semblance of adulthood until well into their 4th year.
Having what one considers a *guard dog* carries considerable liability if the proper socialization, training and obedience are not part of the equation. Mals are naturally protective in many instances but if you haven't done the socialization and training that gives the dog the information and experience to distinguish between a normal person, an infirm or handicapped person and a threatening, means to do harm, person then you simply run the risk of having a Malinois (or any dog for that matter) that will pick and choose his own enemies which is the equivalent to having a loaded gun that can go off at any point in time.
The rescue program is filled with Mals that were purchased for family companions only for the family to find out that the Mal is far more demanding of it's relationship with it's owner then the owner was prepared for. And while it sounds like providing proper activity for the Mal would be a simple matter, having to follow thru over 10-15 yrs becomes a burden to many people.
If you lead an active lifestyle and follow thru with the proper training, exercise the dog well every day by jogging or heavy ball playing sessions, *something/anything* that expends the high amount of energy they have, then possibly a Malinois would suit your family.
Four Generations of Malinois
Dog Crate Training
Belgian Shepherds of the 1970's