Moderately short, straight, hard and dense.
Fawn to mahogany, with black overlay.
The Malinois, like the other Belgian Shepherds, is smart, self-assured, loyal and honest. He is keenly sensitive and very family oriented. Devoted and protective, the Malinois wants to spend as much time as possible with his owners. He is known for his keen intelligence and willingness to work.
The Malinois probably does best in a home with a fenced yard that gives him some space to move. He won't be satisfied with a leisurely stroll around the block - he needs to run and must have an active, outdoor-oriented family to thrive. He loves people and may become destructive if left alone for too long or allowed to get bored.
His high level of trainability earns the Malinois and his admirers top prizes in many types of canine competitions today, including herding, tracking, obedience, agility and schutzhund.
All of the Belgian Shepherds need lots of exercise. The Malinois is very high energy, and many owners find the breed almost impossible to wear out. If they are not given the opportunity for plenty of activity, they can become destructive.
The Malinois requires a nutritious, high-quality diet for his active lifestyle.
As with the other Belgian Shepherds, Malinois are quick and eager learners. They have a desire to please their owner, and they respond to positive, reward-based training methods. Training is necessary with the Malinois, or his natural drive and protective nature could lead to problems. They require early and proper socialization.
A well-socialized Malinois gets along well with children and other pets. However, his herding instincts can be strong, which may cause him to chase moving objects - including kids.
The average life span of the Belgian Malinois is 10 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include elbow dysplasia; epilepsy; hip dysplasia; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
The short coat of the Malinois is the easiest of the Belgian Shepherds to maintain. His coat should be brushed with a bristle brush a few times a week. The Malinois sheds lightly throughout most of the year, with a twice-yearly heavier shed.
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