Dog Blog - November 13, 2019

Belgian Malinois: The Hero You Probably Don't Want in Your Home

Zera the Belgian Malinois

Hailed as a national hero, Conan the Belgian Malinois was wounded after chasing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel just before he detonated his suicide vest. Conan’s actions have sparked a renewed interest in this breed, with people scrambling to bring them home. Here are some reasons why you may, however, want to reconsider choosing this type of dog as your family pet.


What is a Belgian Malinois?

 The Belgian Malinois is a medium to large dog similar in looks to the German Shephard. They are extremely attractive and have been fastidiously bred for their physical strength, athletic build, and intelligence. These driven and skilled animals have a reputation as being one of the preeminent police dogs in the world and with good reason.

Not only are Mals able to quickly learn new skills, but they are also extremely keen to do so. In fact, they are often eager to do whatever their owner asks of them. This natural willingness to learn makes them suitable for everything from drug-sniffing, to bomb-detection, to search and rescue.


Sounds great, right?

Such training capabilities can make them seem highly desirable as pets. Yet to better understand this breed, you need to know one thing – they are primarily a working dog. Everything about their temperament is geared towards being useful. This serves towards making Mals very intense animals that require a lot of care and attention.

Originally bred for herding, in the house, a Mal will typically see its role as both guard and protector. For this reason, substantial training and socialization are vital to ensure that they understand appropriate behaviors and don’t become overly wary of and a danger towards people they don’t know. This is a very time demanding process. Additionally, their excessively playful nature, coupled with a strong prey drive, can make them an inadvertent risk to young children or small pets.


They require a lot of attention from their owner

Alongside this, as a high-energy breed, they require a substantial amount of exercise to keep them happy. Their needs cannot be met with just a leisurely walk on the leash. Furthermore, their prized intelligence means that they also require significant mental stimulation. Problems can arise when they are underemployed or neglected.  

This is a dog that does not do well with boredom – Mals can become restless and frustrated when they don’t have a job to do. This means that they aren’t well suited to households where the owners work long hours or travel often. Excess energy, coupled with such boredom, could have them tearing your house apart.


Be sure you understand what you would be getting yourself into

So, while the decision to take on any kind of dog should always be taken seriously, with a working breed of this nature, this is even more crucial. The simple truth is that Mals, as loyal and lovable as they can be, were never meant to be a family pet. They need a perfect combination of stimulation, physical activity, and socialization, and a failure to keep them busy could result in them becoming challenging to handle. The pounds are full of such poor animals.  


So who should get a Mal?

Individuals with a great deal of dog experience should only consider taking in a Mal if they have a significant amount of time and energy to dedicate to the task of training and exercising them. Ideally, this breed should only ever be taken on as working dogs. They crave activity. This is not a low-maintenance breed! 


Take it from us!

In the right home, these smart, active dogs can flourish. Our Mal, Zera, is an amazing pet, but she is very much a working dog. She is trained to detect narcotics, and she is very good at it! But if she didn’t have her job, there is no doubt that she would go crazy and drive us insane right along with her!