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10 Things You Didn’t Know About belgian malinois vs german shepherd

Last Updated on February 13, 2021 by Dogs Vets

The belgian malinois vs german shepherd

Do you want to adopt a new furry friend, but you can’t decide between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois? Don’t worry, after reading this post you can choose between the two amazing dog breeds.

What is the breed difference when it comes to the Belgian Malinois vs the German Shepherd?

Although the Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd have a similar appearance and some of the same abilities, you should consider some differences before deciding which dog is right for your family.

Look at each dog and what it has to offer. Consider the dynamics of your household as well as the time it will take to train the dog you are bringing into your home.

belgian malinois german shepherd mix puppy
Belgian Malinois German Shepherd Mix Puppy

Both dogs are members of the German Shepherd family and are referred to as military dogs. Because of their similar appearance and fur coat, they are often confused with each other. However, they also differ in several ways, especially in behavior, lifestyle, and physical characteristics.

See also: Top 10 facts about german shepherd wolf mix (+ Health Problems)

In general, German Shepherds are less aggressive and have a slower attack speed than Belgian Malinois. Belgian Malinois also tend to be smaller. In this post we will discuss some important differences between the two breeds, but first let’s get familiar with each.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Overview Table

Belgian Malinois German Shepherd
Dog Breed Type Herding
Purpose Working & Companion
Best Suitable For Active and experienced dog owners Experienced dog owners
Body Size 24-26″ in height (male) and 22-24″ in height (female)
Weight 55 to 65 pounds (male) or 50 to 55 pounds (female) 65 to 90 pounds (male) or 50 to 75 pounds (female)
Lifespan 10 to 15 years 9 to 13 years
Color Variations Rich Fawn and Mahogany Black and Tan, Black, White, Black and Silver, Sable and Liver
Temperament Confident, Affectionate, Eager to work, Active and Obedient Very Intelligent, Confident, Fearless, Alert and Trainable
Daily Exercise High – Upwards of 60 minutes
Daily Food Consumption 20 calories per pound of body weight
Known Health Issues Cataracts, Epilepsy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Pannus and Hip Dysplasia Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Bloat, Degenerative Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Myelopathy

1. Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Origin

Despite both the Malinois and the German Shepherd dog are members of the Herding Group and their origins can be traced way back to cattle herders. As the name suggests, the Belgian Malinois was developed in Belgium and the German Shepherd in Germany.

The Malinois was known to be one of four varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs used at the end of the 19th century. It was first recognized by Professor Adolphe Reul. He characterized the variety as a medium-sized square dog with dark brown eyes and triangular ears. Each of the four types of Belgian Shepherds was named after the area around Brussels where they were developed, with the Malinois originating in the Malines region.


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“As the agricultural lifestyle declined, the Belgian Shepherd was favored in the development of police dog training,” said Ann MacKay, who has owned Belgian Malinois for 32 years and bred them for 26 years.

In fact, as early as 1908, the AKC Gazette mentioned that two Belgian Shepherds had been imported to the United States to work as police dogs in New York City. Others were imported in 1911, including two that were specifically identified as Malinois in the AKC Stud Book. Finally, in 1959, the Belgian Malinois received full AKC recognition as its own breed, separate from the other Belgian Shepherd varieties.

See also: Top 7 most dangerous dogs in the world 2021

The German Shepherd also dates back to the late 19th century and was developed by Captain Max von Stephanitz. He wanted to create the perfect dog breed. Von Stephanitz was impressed by the variety of herding dogs he saw throughout Germany.

In his search for his ideal medium to large sized dog with an independent, persistent and obedient personality, he found and purchased a dog at a dog show in 1899. This dog became the first registered German Shepherd in von Stephanitz’ newly founded German Shepherd Dog Club and the founder of the breed.

2. About The German Shepherd Dog – Overview

In case you don’t know, the German Shepherd is one of America’s most popular dog breeds. The intelligent and hardworking dog can be trained for military and police services. German Shepherds are often trained to be guide dogs for the blind. They have distinctive physical characteristics with strong pointed ears and robust bodies.

german shepherd

These furry dogs can be found in a variety of colors, but the most common are tan and black. These dogs have even been given the role of national heroes, as German Shepherd search dogs played an active role in crawling through the ruins looking for survivors in the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In addition, the dog breed is an incredibly dedicated and loving companion that will fit perfectly into any household.

About The Belgian Malinois – Overview

These canine friends were originally bred as herding dogs. Today, the Belgian Malinois actively works as a guard dog, police dog, and friendly family companion. This energetic and athletic dog is short-haired and light brown in color. Originally bred in Malines, Belgium, the dog breed has great stamina and excels at a variety of tasks.

belgian malinois

In addition to police work, herding, search and rescue work, the Belgian Malinois is also a top contender in performance events, including agility. People unfamiliar with the dog breed often confuse them with German Shepherds. Malinois are sensitive dogs and do not respond well to harsh training methods. Dog owners are therefore advised to remain patient and persistent during training.

3. Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Weigh

Males Malinois stand 24-26 cm high at the withers and females 22-24 cm. But the majority of Malinois are lighter than most German Shepherds. The male Malinois weighs 60-80 pounds and the female weighs 40-60 pounds. In contrast, a male German Shepherd can weigh up to 90 pounds and a female up to 70 pounds.

4. Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Fur Coats


German Shepherd Dog

GSDs are medium to large dogs with strong jaws and a black nose. The dog breed has more triangular eyes with light brown fur and a black saddle. German Shepherds have long and straight hair that lies close to the body. Sometimes the hair is wavy and wiry. The coat comes in different colors and patterns, including black, sable, silver and red. You should probably also know that GSD are heavy shedders that shed all year round. If you want to take this bet, you should probably be prepared to clean up the mess.

Belgian Malinois

Unlike GSD, Malinois have short, light brown straight hair. They have a hard topcoat and a dense undercoat that protects the dog from harsh weather conditions. They are usually light brown in color with black ears. Usually fawn Malinois have a small patch of white on the tips of their toes or a tiny white patch on their chest.

5. Temperament

German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog may look aloof, but they are certainly not shy animals. While reserved dogs don’t usually make friends easily, once they do, they’re sure to be very loyal to you. German Shepherds are easy-going and approachable to loved ones. Because of their protective nature, they make excellent watchdogs.

See also: German Sheprador & black lab german shepherd mix

This intelligent dog breed can be trained to do just about anything, from guiding a disabled person to rescuing survivors from an avalanche. Despite all these positive qualities, German Shepherds tend to suffer from separation anxiety, which means they cannot be left alone for long periods of time. An untrained and bored dog is likely to show all its bent feelings by barking and chewing or indulging in other destructive behaviors.

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is an excellent working dog that seems reserved for strangers like the GSD. Likewise, Malinois is an excellent guard dog and protects his family and other companions. The dog breed can be trained to protect people and their property. Belgian Malinois are calm and peaceful dogs and will work together if you do not intimidate them.


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As with other dogs, the Malinois’ personality depends on a variety of factors, including socialization, heredity and training. Start with early socialization and expose your young pup to new people and environments. Also, meet one of the parents, especially the mother, to learn more about the dog’s temperament. Meeting the dog’s siblings or other relatives can also be helpful in determining their personalities.

6. Grooming

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog are jokingly known as German Shedders, as the breed sheds all year round and is known to shed a ton of hair at a time twice a year. Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to the problem, so dog owners must be prepared to clean up the mess. However, brushing your dog’s coat 2-3 times a week will help the process along. We recommend investing in a handy vacuum cleaner just in case!

See also: Top 100 best names for german shepherd dog in 2021 (Male + Female)

Bathing your dog too often may strip his coat of natural oils. Therefore, only give your furry friend a bath when they desperately need it or are dirty. Fortunately, although GSDs are heavy shedders, they are generally clean and odorless dogs. Also, trim your dog’s nails every few weeks and check their ears for signs of infection.


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Since German Shepherds love to chew, we recommend stocking up on tons of dog chew toys that will prevent tartar buildup while satisfying their chewing habits. Don’t forget to brush their teeth at least a few times a week.

Belgian Malinois

You’ll be delighted to know that Belgian Malinois are easy to groom because of their shorter and sleeker hair. Simply brush the dog’s coat weekly with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. Malinois dogs are moderate shedders and shed heavily only in the spring and fall. Also be sure to brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times per week to remove tartar buildup. Daily brushing is required to avoid the risk of periodontal and gum disease.

7. Aggression

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherds are considered bigger dog breed and show less aggression compared to Belgian Malinois.

Belgian Malinois

Malinois are much on the smaller side than GSDs, but tend to be more aggressive. Likewise, Belgian Malinois are much faster than German Shepherds and have more energy.

8. Exercise and Training

Both dog breeds are very energetic and suited for outdoor activities. High-energy dogs should not be left idle for long periods of time. Take your pet for long walks and let him spend some time outdoors to improve mental and physical health. It is important to keep your dog busy with various activities, otherwise he may show destructive behavior in the form of barking and chewing.

Both are super intelligent dogs and incredibly trainable dogs, in the right hands.

Just because a dog can be trainable doesn’t mean they are suitable for first time owners. These type of dogs need experienced owners who understand how to train them and what they will respond to.

They respond to positive reinforcement and reward-based training. Avoid at all costs aversive techniques, even though they are large breeds. It is well known that punishment causes and exacerbates problem behaviors.

Dogs learn by the consequences of their behavior.

If they have a positive consequence, they are more likely to repeat the behavior. If they don’t behave the way you want them to, ignore and redirect or encourage a behavior you want to see, then reward/praise it.

Mind games will be a savior to keep these active minds engaged, especially in Malinois:

Try this one: Hide and seek.

  • Starting while he is in the exact same room as you, have someone hold his collar or obey the “stay” command.
  • Conceal treats or toys around the room, behind a pillow, behind a curtain (safe places, easily accessible).
  • Command the word “search” and have your helper release him.
  • Encourage him to look for the toys/treats.
  • Play in different rooms or in the yard.

The key to raising a well-rounded and stable dog, whether a german shepherd or a Malinois, is early and continued socialization.

Introduce them at a young age to the things they will encounter on a regular basis.

Historic workers and guardians, they are naturally wary of strangers, they need to learn what is safe.

Well socialized GSDs and Malinois are both stoic and fearless.

9. Feeding


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German Shepherd Dog

Due to their large size, German Shepherds need to eat about 3-4 cups of high-quality dog food, divided into two meals per day. Always feed your dog nutritious food that is not high in starch.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are medium-sized dog breeds and need to be fed with 2-3 cups of nutritious dog food, divided into two meals. Please note that the amount of food your dog eats will depend greatly on his overall size, health and age.

10.Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Price

How much does a German Shepherd Belgian Malinois mix?

A German Shepherd puppy price ranges from $300 – $900 USD and a Belgian Malinois puppy will cost between $1,500 – $2,500 and  A German Shepherd Belgian Malinois Mix Puppy can cost between $500 and $2000.

You can find a belgian malinois german shepherd mix for sale at or at Classifieds Pets

Final Judgment

When you compare a Belgian Malinois to a German Shepherd, both have similar grooming and feeding requirements, and their comparable traits realistically end there.

German Shepherds are intelligent, alert, loving and devoted. He is suited for an experienced large breed owner who understands his needs. If socialized at a young age, he will thrive in a family home and be a loyal friend.

However, the Belgian Malinois is more suitable for homes only for adults with an active lifestyle. His intelligence and energy means he just loves to be busy. He is not particularly tolerant of being alone, but can become destructive and Neurotic.

So, as you can see, both dog breeds are significantly different from each other despite the similar physical characteristics. Therefore, it is important that you choose a pet according to your personal preferences and needs.

Frequent asked questions

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See also: Can Dogs Eat Cake? 5 reasons you should not feed your dog with cake


Fact Check

We strive to provide the latest valuable information for pet lovers with accuracy and fairness. If you would like to add to this post or advertise with us, don’t hesitate reach us. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!



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