Dear future owner….

Let me introduce myself to you. My name is (X) Malinois. Don’t I look cute?

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This is what I look like now. Cute, cuddly, bouncy and energetic. I am 6 weeks old and ready to throw your life into a maelstrom of changes. I love to play, run, chew, bite, nip and destroy. I am a pup after all! It is what I was born to do. I possess many a drive… the most important drive being the one that will drive you crazy! I am very good at that particular drive if I am not handled as I should be. Now you will say, that little thing is going to drive me crazy? Yes! I feel it is my mission in life to show you the error of your ways in purchasing me if you did so for the wrong reasons… You see, I am not a regular pup. I come from a fierce breed and my ancestors can be traced back to the late 19th century. They were herders dogs, meant to guard the flock, keep the family safe from intruders and those intending to do harm. My ancestors originate from Belgium, from the town of Malines. This is where our protection abilities became clear and where people saw the variety things we were useful for. Let me regale you with some history of my ancestors , and myself, so you get a better picture of what I am, and why I will do what I do…

The Belgian Malinois, Purebred.

The shorthaired shepherd could be found in the Antwerp and Dutch border area around the early 1900’s. These dogs were primarily found at farms where they performed an important daily routine of guarding and protecting the farm, its livestock and its inhabitants of those willing to do harm. The Malinois was described by Professor Dr Reul (founder of the Club Chien du Berger Belge in 1891) as follows: They have the size of a fox or wolf, are short haired and have a fawn streamed color, their ears are admirably straight, fine and pointed, worn openly and pointing forward. Other traits are the pointed snout, the black nose, the well carried tail, worn almost straight but slightly elevated at the tip, shaped not unlike a wheat stalk in its outer appearance

In 1898. In Malines/Mechelen Belgium the Club tot Verbetering van den Kortharige Schaapshond (Club for Improvement of the Shorthaired Sheepdog)  was founded. Its purpose was to improve the types of the short haired Belgian Shepherd as it was primarily bred in the Mechelen/Malines area.

Until the year 1899 the Belgian Shepherds were subdivided in 3 groups. The long, short and rough haired varieties in which the color of the coat was of no importance. In 1899 the CLub Chien du Berger Belge took a one sided decision to divide the groups into colors without consulting with the Mechelse/Malines Club. They were divided into the following groups. Black for longhaired, pepper and salt for rough haired and lion color/fawn charbonné with black mask for the short haired. The Mechelse/Malinois club called this decision a coup of sorts because they had quite the different view and idea on the short haired shepherd.

Before anything, their dogs were to be working dogs. Not the outside of the dog was to be used as a measure but a combination of out and inside. They prefered a well trained dog that had a strong build with a smooth and smart appearance. Color was a distant second in their view since they did not want the breed to turn into a luxury dog, in which it was very likely that it would lose its unique and amazing character.

Character:

The Malinois is extremely loyal, eager to work, determined, has a sharp intelligence, is a hard dog, very attentive smart, courageous, not for the faint of heart. It will protect its family and their possessions in a very convincing way against all wanting to do harm and it is the reason that this breed has been chosen to work as a police dog in many forces in the past and continues to do so today.

A Malinois needs an extreme amount of exercise, they are filled with energy that needs to be drained constantly in order to keep the dog manageable and to ensure that the dog will not find its own energy outlet. Raising a Malinois is not an easy task and consistency is required. A black and white world with no deviation is an absolute must for this breed!  They are the ultimate working dog and have proven time and again that they do not perform well in a low activity environment. They are not to be confused with a random family pet which they will soon prove by showing their breed characteristics.

Specific traits of the Malinois:

Hair, short on the head, outside of ears and the lower limbs. Short on rest of body but fuller around the neck and tail area. At the neck the coat appears to be a fuller and forms a wide standing collar starting at the bottom of the ear and continuing down towards the throat. The back of the thighs are covered with longer fur feathering out towards the back. The tail appears like a wheat stalk but does not form a so called tail feather.

Fur colors:

Mask:  With the Malinois the mask should be very pronounced and extend to bottom and top lips, corners or mouth and eyes meaning one large black mask without fault. For the mask there are 8 very strict visible pigmentation points. Both ears, both upper eyelids and both upper and lower lips should be black.

Flame black (Charbonné) For the Malinois this means that the tips of the fur are black which give the base color a shaded look. This black color should at least be flamed en is not allowed to be visible in large blots and or streaks/stripes. Small amounts of white are allowed on the chest and or toes.

Health:

Hip and Elbow dysplasia can be found in the Malinois as well as Epilepsy.

Weight/Height:

General weight and height for a male are 30/35 Kilo – 60/66 CMs.

General weight and height for a female are 25/30 Kilo – 55/62 CMs.

Maintenance:

The malinois does not need a lot of fur maintenance, A daily brushing during shedding season to remove loose and dead hairs is a must but apart from that there is not much need for anything else. If working your Malinois on grassy or soft areas only then it is wise to keep an eye on the nails to ensure they do not grow too long.

Raising your Malinois:

The Malinois is a quick and eager student willing to learn. Raising a Malinois would normally not be a problem as long as the dog is raised in a consistent manner. The Malinois is known to have a strong character and therefore needs an owner willing to provide the dog with a job or task. If the dog is not provided with a job or task he will start to feel unhappy and will start to show inappropriate behaviour.

As a pup the Malinois is in need of a good and strong socialisation in which it is introduced to different situations, people, animals and areas. This will build a good character in the dog and ensure less problems in the dog’s future. The Malinois is good with children but should always be supervised since even the sweetest and nicest dog will at some point react if it has had enough. (children can pull ears, poke eyes, take away toys etc etc…)

Friends and Family will be greeted enthusiastically but do not take this for granted. The Malinois, in its very heart and nature is a guardian and protector of its family and will act according to what the Malinois deems fit in whatever situation.

The Malinois is most suited for any kind of dog sport or working dog venue like Obedience, Bitework, Protection, Flyball, etc etc …. They enjoy participating in these venues immensely due to their high need of both  physical and mental stimulation. A rule of thumb is: A bored Malinois is not a happy Malinois and will occupy itself to relieve its boredom by showing unwanted behaviour and or redecorating your favorite living area.

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I’m back! Did you miss me? Since I got bored I decided to play around with my favorite toy for a bit until you were ready reading about my purebred ancestors. You would think the story would end there, right? Nothing could be less true! There is another side to the Malinois. It is called the X Malinois, better known as the cross bred Malinois. Those X Malinois like myself come from KNPV and NVBK lines. Now I could go in depth into the KNPV and NVBK lines but I will try to keep it short and sweet this time. Don’t want to end up an old man by the time you read all this!

KNPV is Royal Dutch Police Dog Society. An organisation that has existed for well over a hundred years in the Netherlands. NVBK is the Belgian society of Cynophilia. This organization has existed for roughly fifty plus years now. Most of the dogs you see in the USA today are from either KNPV or NVBK lines.This means we were bred for working purposes and not for looks like my family the purebred Malinois. In the Netherlands the X Malinois has been bred and cross bred with Dutch Shepherds, and in the early years German Shepherds, to ensure the working capabilities of my breed did not get lost. Nobody cared about looks. Looks didn’t mean you had a good working dog, work meant you did… As you can see the KNPV lines are quite old. For over a century KNPV lines have been focused on breeding dogs with character, backbone, persistence, strength, health and drive. Our qualities got recognized world wide and soon we were transported across the ocean to serve as K9 partners to law enforcement and military… We became the go to dogs when it came to protection. We work hard, we play hard, we fight hard. It is in our nature to test and push. We endure, and protect… We are not soft or cuddly although my pictures would make you believe that much. We are fierce and proud, strong and willing protectors of our human friends and partners. This means we want to work. We will not do well in a purely pet situation. Do any of my family members get kept as purely pets? Yes the do… But they are far and few between… We need to keep busy to ensure we are physically and mentally tired. A tired me is a happy me! And when I am happy, so are you! Why? Because I will not be looking for mischief and things to get into. Things I should not get into like eating my way through your lovely rug or sofa, eating your cat or canary, redecorating your interior to unrecognizable proportions… And that is what I will do! I get bored, you will suffer! I need a firm owner. One that will lay down the law and let me know what I can and cannot do. One that will work me, run with me, exercise me and generally keep me a happy dog! I need a responsible owner! One that realises that I am no easy feat to start with. One that is willing to go the distance and keep me for life! One that will train me, love me, take care of me, in good times, and in bad. An owner that will not dump me at a shelter at the first sign of problems… I need an owner that knows what a Malinois is…. If I don’t get that kind of owner, I fear for my future and might end up paying a price that no dog should have to pay. If I end up in the wrong hands I will end up paying with my life. And I like my life! I want to enjoy it, have fun with it, live it! For a very long and happy time with my awesome owner! It’s not much of me to ask for, is it? It is only fair that if I am willing to love and give loyalty until my dying day, I should receive the very same from my owner, right?

So, future owner, I ask this of you…. Before you go out there, looking for one of my brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces… Think! Look at my history. Look what I was bred for. Look at my purpose! Look at what makes me happy! Make sure you can give me all of those things that make me happy and know that I need a lot of attention, time and exercise. I am not the dog you see in the movie Max… Max is one of my nephews who was trained for a very long time. He is getting what he needs! He is trained, being kept healthy and happy and mentally and physically stimulated… When you buy my family, that is not what you are going to get. You will need to work hard to ensure you get a dog like Max. I am not born with buttons to push to make me do what you want. You have to teach and train me to accomplish that. So please think very VERY hard before you buy me, or one of my family members? Make sure it is what you want? Because I will trust in you to keep your part of the bargain and it would be such a shame if you did not keep your part of the bargain with me….

Thank you for reading my story… I’m sorry it was a long one but I needed to help my family out to make sure they do not get into the wrong hands for the wrong reasons. I am going to do what I do best now… Have fun with my owner on the training field!

Signed,

Your friendly and loyal (X) Malinois.

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17 thoughts on “Dear future owner….

  1. i never have to describe a mal to anyone ever again. i can simply give them this article. so they dont confuse the awesome dog they see i have with what they will likely get

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent article! Well written.
    We should get malinois owners to hand these out at the end of each Max movie. Or see if we could get AMC and Harkins to do it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great informative post, pack dull of great details. Now about the 6 week old pup, I would hope that this informed breeder would NOT be placing a 6 week old pup, but rather at this age allowing this pup to learn oh so valuable lessons from its Dam, Sire and litter mates.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to say that the pictures in this article are NOT Malinois (fawn with black overlay and black mask) but on basis of what I see they are “Black & Tan”: a coat color never allowed in any standard in the world for the Belgian Shepherd dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you read the article then you will also see the dog posted, all 3 pictures are in fact the same dog, is Robbie II BRN 22769 from Dutch KNPV lines. It nowhere stated he is a PB, it in fact does state he is a X Malinois. It pays to read 😉

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  5. I am a wanna be Belgian Malinois owner.The article is kinda harsh for me since i live in an apartment but it doesnt discourage me at all.I love the fact that these dogs have a 0 or 1 personality.It is the kind of person that i love to have next to me.After all you will have to train the dog and teach him or her what is the task to do.Is it obedience?Then obedience it will be.Is it protection?Then protection it will be.And so on.

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    1. If you choose to keep a Mal in an apartment, expect destruction! They are not a breed to crate for extended periods of time. When you let the dog out expect it to go bonkers, even if you take them out and run them until they drop, in 10-15 minutes they will be back at it! Your situation is not optimal for a Malinois!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You might love it now, while you still do not own a Malinois to begin with. Trust me, once he is in your care, you might start rethinking your entire life. Make sure you know what you are getting into… These are not dogs for the moment, they are for life! When they correct you, and they WILL correct you, they do not do so like a general pet dog, but like the dog they were bred for 120+ years to be, with character and most likely teeth. If you insist on getting a dog, in a small apartment, than I suggest to you to do your research first on clubs in your local area and on trainers to help you work your dog so you both have a good life ahead of you. It will pay off to get involved in looking at clubs and trainers now. That way you will get an idea of what you are setting yourself up for in the future.

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  6. An excellent article, well done. To Demitris, an apartment really? I am an avid dog lover and this breed tugs at my heart strings. I am not physically able to deal with the energy they bring to the table therefore will never have one, to be fair.
    Love the breed, Respect the Breed don’t let them fall into the wrong hands, or pay for your mistakes in buying into cute and cuddly..
    Thank you for posting this awesome story of the breed..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alice, your article is spot on! I just want to say that owning a Malinois or a MalinoisX is a way of life. Everything else comes second. That includes sleep, laundry, cleaning the house. Wouldn’t change it for anything but Whew! I’m tired sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic article which really puts an accurate spin on the dog. I’m a proud Mal owner but having spend many, many hours working my dog I’ve almost decided that if the dog can’t go to a working situation then the dog shouldn’t go there at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read and studied your outstanding Malinois articles before adopting a five year old PB female Mal, named Lena. She is the most eligant, energetic, curious, loving, intelligent, athletic, fearless, and strong willed dog. Having owned several wonderful GSDs, and having contact with Mals who were on duty at my work place, I thought it would be an easy adjustment for me and the dogs. Not so much, it took me two weeks to Malinois proof the house and fenced yard. Her energy was wearing me out, our salvation was when my 110 pound GSD finally got the fortitude to stand up to the 55 pound Mal. We have now fallen into a routine, the dogs are now great buddies and burn off a lot of excess energy in their play. The Malinois is a fantastic breed, but not for the everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fantastic description of a Mali…..
    My brother got a Mali because he liked the look of it. I tried to convince him that was too much of a dog for a beginner (his first dog, although we had at home a GSD as kids). When the Mali was 6 months, she was already not letting anyone enter the room where he was, not getting close to him. I highly advised him to get a trainer. Now the Mali is 1,5 years old and she is great. They do a lot of OB training, they do a lot of exercise together, he did socialice her a lot…he would not change his Mali for any other dog in the world, but his world is right now around that Mali.

    And yes, if for any reason the dog gets a bit less exercise or brain game, she re-decorates the house. One of her ideas was to completely distroy a 3 seat couch…well, she was bored. My brother bought a new couch and learned from it

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