The Belgian Malinois originates from an area in Belgium called Malines. It is a part of a group of dogs known as the Belgian Shepherds which include the Laekenois, Groenendael, Tervuren and ofcourse the Malinois.Gerritsen, R, et al (2018)
A Brief History of the Malinois
There have been whole books published on the history of the Belgian shepherds and even the Malinois itself. So I will just give a very short summary of the history. If you are interested in a more indepth reading of the history of the breed take a look at The Malinois: The History and Development of the Breed in Schutzhund, detection and police work by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak. Tomy was a male dog who is said to be the first Malinois as we now know them, he was born on the 5th of October 1896. The breed was originally used as a herding dog along with the other shepherds in Belgium. They were very eager to work and please their handlers and at the same time had a a good wariness and suspicion of strangers. As time went on the Malinois evolved into a more serious working dog.
By this time the Malinois was well established. Although the wars had caused large scale destruction the breed had survived and was cleaning up in the ringsports. In the early 80’s a group of competitors, from the various ringsports in europe, started the Mondioring program which demanded a high degree of discipline and concentration from both handler and dog. The program had 3 tests, obedience, jumping and protection work. As the dogs got better at their working status and moved away from herding, they started to win shows all over the place. The IPO (Internationale Prufungs-Ordnung or Schutzhund) and KNPV (Royal Dutch Police Dog) certificates were proof of this. For those of you that don’t know what these certificates mean, the IPO (which is now known as IGP) tests the dogs, in a well structured and controlled environment, for tracking, obedience and protection work for more info in this you can check out this website. KNPV tests are designed to certify dogs that have the ability to do obedience, scentwork, waterwork and protection, for more info on this you can check out this website.
A Belgian Malinois is perfect for you!
If you have time to exercise, train and entertain your dog, you should consider a Malinois. If you have less than 2 hours a day to work your dog, then you should most definitely NOT get a Malinois!
These dogs are extremely intelligent, athletic and loving and can be very draining on a person who can’t give the dog the time that they actually need. If you have the kind of job that allows you to bring your dog with you or one that you can stay at home and be with your dog and give it the time it needs then it is extremely rewarding. You must consider the costs involved too! Its not just feeding and toys it’s the cost of training your dog that can add up. It is a complete waste of a dog if you get a Malinois and do not use it to it’s full potential! I would even say it boarders on animal abuse! You must consider that these dogs are bred to fulfil a task, and that is to work! It doesn’t matter what the work is, as long as the dog is having to use it’s brain and complete tasks for you. Another consideration that you most definitely will need help with is actually selecting the right puppy out of a litter that will fit your family and lifestyle, Too often do people choose the pup that comes to them first or is the most outgoing or playful or the most shy, did you ever consider what kind of dog this might become? Please get help in choosing the right puppy. Once you have the puppy you must start training right away, have a plan, know what you want to do with the dog. Is it going to be a working dog, a protection dog, a tracking dog, just a companion or just a guard dog? These things need to be planned for and trained for from day 1.
Make sure you train the dog properly with a good ethical and modern trainer. Too many ex K9 handlers think that they are good dog trainers when in actual fact they are simply using compulsion to get the dog to do what they want. This is not the right way to train any dog. As ethical trainers we pride ourselves in training the dog that is in front of us and changing our techniques to what works best for the dog. Positive reinforcement should always be at the fore with any good dog trainer. If you would like our help you can contact us here: hddtk9service – HDDT K9 Services. We will happily help you train your dog, or if you are not in our area we can help you find a good ethical trainer close to you.
To give you an idea of what I am talking about, I have 2 Malinois and a Lagotto Romagnolo mix, they go for 2 walks/runs a day, get trained at least an hour every day and very often come with me and work on the farm. If your lifestyle is one that can accommodate this kind of commitment then go for it, get the dog! I always say that these dogs are perfect dogs for farmers in South Africa. They are trainable and have enough energy to last a full day of farming, they are strong intimidating dogs that can protect you better than most and they are incredibly loving and affectionate. Most of my clients are farmers who can literally have their dogs with them all day every day and they will tell you that these dogs are perfect! On the other hand, I have had to help a few clients who live in towns rehome their dogs because they were just too much for people who don’t have the time.
If you are a farmer and can take your dog with you everywhere and train it properly, you can get a Malinois…..
For everyone else, unless you have the time, energy and motivation, to train and entertain a high energy machine…Stay away.