Belgium malinois are amazing dogs. They are athletic, intelligent, and pure adrenalin. They excel as working dogs and make great active companions for those that can provide them what they need to excel.
They require firm training, mental stimulation, and a physical outlet for their boundless energy. When they don’t have an owner willing or able to provide them what they need, they become bored, destructive, and can become unpredictable or begin to nip and bite from sheer frustration.
In this video, you’ll see a beautiful 7-year-old mal who has been energetically swimming and playing with his ball for 45 minutes straight. He’s been at this intense activity without resting and he’s still not tried or ready to quit. In fact, he seems like he’s just warming up!
At 7, this dog still requires a lot of exercise and at least an hour of training a day. Not activity or the other every single day. He requires both to burn off steam and be a well rounded, stable dog. He’s also super smart and needs to work his mind. In other words, he needs daily training and a job. Why? The malinois was bred to work and needs a release for their unsurpassed canine endurance.
All Belgium malinois owners will agree that the breed is a lifestyle choice that requires owners to be all in. This breed is not suited as a normal house dog or for the faint of heart. They are not for the inexperienced working dog owner or for someone who wants a cool dog. They are not a dog you can leave to their own devices or plan to train and then expect them to now be a content family dog.
They are only for someone who has the time, commitment, and working dog experience who wants to actively work their dog day in and day out, without fail, for 14-16 years because they don’t take days off, but they do take sacrifice.
If you’re thinking of getting a malinois, some questions to ask yourself include:
- Do I have a few hours available every single day to train and exercise a dog?
- Do I have dog training experience?
- Do I know how to train and handle a working dog?
- What will I do when it rains or we have bad weather?
- What will I do when I’m at work?
- Who will provide the mental and physical outlet the dog will need while I’m sick, on vacation, extra busy, or on holidays?
- Do I have a plan for this dog?
- Can I contain a dog capable of scaling fences and walls?
- Am I really willing to do this for the next 12 years?
If you’ve answered the tough questions and are committed to getting a mal, the next step is to meet a few owners and their dogs. Ask LOTS of questions and watch how their dogs work. Ask how much time they spend each day and how long it took them to reach the place they’re at with their pet. Then if you still want to own one, begin your research.
Are you going to get a puppy, adult, rescue or from a breeder? Expect to be interviewed and probably asked more questions than you have. If you’re not grilled, interviewed, asked for references, or even required a home visit, run away because you’re talking to a bad breeder, owner, or rescue that has no interest in the dog’s future, which also means they don’t care about the quality of the dog you’re getting.
Once you’ve gotten through all the steps and picked out your new dog, congratulations! You now own a true loyal companion who will respect and be devoted to you, your training and activities, and be a true friend.
If you love the breed but not sure you’re up to the challenge, why not volunteer at a rescue to help train and find forever homes for the poor dogs that were acquired on a whim then dumped? It’s a great way to get involved and even get experience with these wonderful dogs.
Please share this story to help educate your friends and family about one of the most energetic working breeds.