Confident, Smart, Hardworking. These dogs were first bred in the City of Malines, northwestern (you guessed it!) Belgium. In some countries they might be known as Belgian Sheepdogs along with similar breeds Tervuren, Laekenois, and Groenendaels. While they have a passing resemblance to German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois' finer bone structure and longer legs make them distinct from the better known shepherds. First brought to the US in 1911, they flourished until WW2 put an end to importing of European dogs. They had a resurgence in the 1960s amongst breed fans to replenish the American population. Prized herders and hard working dogs they've found occupations with Police and Military units.
Belgian Malinois rank 43 out of 197 breeds recognized by the AKC in terms of popularity. They stand 24-26 inches tall for males, and 22-24 inches tall for females. Males weight in at 60-80 lbs and females 40-60 lbs. Their life expectancy is 14-16 years, and they belong to the Herding Group.
The breed standard according to the AKC:
The Belgian Malinois is a well balanced, square dog, elegant in appearance with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck. The dog is strong, agile, well muscled, alert, and full of life. He stands squarely on all fours and viewed from the side, the topline, forelegs, and hind legs closely approximate a square. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male is usually somewhat more impressive and grand than his female counterpart, which has a distinctly feminine look.
Belgian Malinois are very active dogs, ranking 7th according to our database of dog activity and more active than the average dog breed. They are the 21st most popular breed among Fi Collar owners, and they get 19,014 steps per day on average.
Care & Grooming a Belgian Malinois
With shorter fur than a German Shepherd, occasional brushing of their waterproof coat makes it quite easy to care for. A rubber grooming mitt or hound glove keeps them looking their best, and grab your vacuum during their twice yearly shedding periods where daily brushing might be necessary. Nail clippers or grinders are necessary if they don't naturally wear down to avoid pain and issues with walking and running.
Like most of their herding breed cousins, Malinois have a high prey drive and are very interested in moving objects. While this can occasionally mean chasing vehicles and other animals, early socialization and training can focus the behavior.
Belgian Malinois are a generally healthy breed and assuming breeders are responsible and check parents for hip and elbow dysplasia issues as well as eye problems, the puppies should be generally healthy. Check ears for signs of infection and seek a vet's help if you notice any irritation.
German Shepherd Dog (Deutshe Schäferhund)
Confident, Courageous, and Smart. These dogs descend from the german herding dogs that varied in type from district to district in the late 19th century. In the late 1800's a German cavalry officer set out to develop the ideal German herding dog, and grossed several varieties to create today's GSD. German Shepherds became popular in the US in the early 1900's, partially due to their performance in Hollywood with stars like Rin-tin-tin. Suffering a bit from anti-german sentiment after the world wars, today the breed is the preferred dog for policy and military units across the world.
German Shepherds rank 2 out of 197 breeds recognized by the AKC in terms of popularity. They stand 24-26 inches tall for males, and 22-24 inches tall for females. Males weight in at 65-90 lbs and females 50-70 lbs. Their life expectancy is 12-14 years, and they belong to the Herding Group.
The breed standard according to the AKC:
The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. It is well balanced, with harmonious development of the forequarter and hindquarter. The dog is longer than tall, deep-bodied, and presents an outline of smooth curves rather than angles. It looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression, both at rest and in motion, of muscular fitness and nimbleness without any look of clumsiness or soft living. The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility – difficult to define, but unmistakable when present. Secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex.
German Shepherds are very active dogs, ranking 54th according to our database of dog activity and more active than the average dog breed. They are the 2nd most popular breed among Fi Collar owners, and they get 14,389 steps per day on average.
Care & Grooming a German Shepherd
German Shepherds have a medium length double coat with dense fur. The breed is relatively easy to maintain though, requiring a quick brushing a few times a week to remove loose hair, and an occasional bath. Be prepared for early spring and late fall transitions though on the coat causing immense shedding. Make sure your vacuum is up to the task and you have nail clippers handy to keep nails in check if they don't wear away naturally from activity to avoid issues.
Given their size and intelligence, German Shepherds respond well to training but should be properly trained and socialized as young puppies to avoid issues when they are older and stronger. Be consistent and positive, reward based training typically yields great results especially for the family the dog bonds with.
Responsible breeders should screen potential parents for health conditions like degenerative myelopathy and elbow/hip issues. German Shepherds can suffer from bloat so be aware of the warning signs like being restless, drooling, and trying to vomit but not producing anything. This can be deadly and needs prompt medical attention, but can be prevented by limiting activity around eating.