Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherd: Which Dog makes the Perfect Pet?

    Thinking of adopting a furry friend but cannot decide between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois? Well, not to worry because after reading this post, you will be able to choose between the two amazing dog breeds.

    Both dogs belong to the sheepdog family and are known as military dogs. Because of their similar appearance and fur coat, they are often mistaken for each other. However, they also differ in several ways, especially with regards to behavior, lifestyle and physical characteristics. Generally, German shepherds are less aggressive and have a slower attacking speed compared to Belgian Malinois. Also Belgian Malinois tend to be smaller in size. In this post, we will discuss some important differences between the two breeds but first, let us familiarize with each.

    Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherdsource

    German Shepherd – Overview

    In case you do not 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 become guide dogs for the disabled. They have distinct physical characteristics with strong pointed ears and sturdy bodies.

    These furry creatures can be found in several colors but the most common include tan and black. These dogs have even been given the role of national heroes as German Shepherd search dogs had played an active role in crawling through the ruins in search of survivors in the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Furthermore, the dog breed is an incredibly devoted and loving companion that makes a great addition to any household.

    Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherd

    Belgian Malinois – Overview

    These canine friends were originally bred as herding dogs. Today, Belgian Malinois can actively be found working as protection dogs, police dogs and friendly family companions. The energetic and athletic dog is short-haired and fawn colored. Originally bred in Malines, Belgium, the dog breed has great stamina and excels in various tasks.

    In additional to police work, herding, working in search and rescue, Belgian Malinois is also a top contender in performance events, including agility. People who are not familiar 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 thus advised to remain patient and persistent during training.

    Belgian Malinois


    Also See: German Shepherd Collie Mix – What You Need To Know About Shollies

    Fur Coat

    German Shepherd

    GSDs are medium to large sized dogs, with strong jaws and a black nose. The dog breed has more triangular eyes with tan colored fur and a black saddle. German Shepherds have long and straight hair that lies close to the body. Sometimes, the hair may be wavy and wiry. The coat is available in a variety of colors and patterns including black, sable, silver and red. You should also probably know that GSD are heavy shedders that shed all year long, hence if you wish to adopt this bet, you should probably be prepared to clean up the mess.

    Belgian Malinois

    Unlike GSD, Malinois have short, fawn colored straight hair. They have a hard topcoat and a dense undercoat that provides the dog protection against the harsh weather conditions. They are usually fawn colored with black ears. Typically, fawn-colored Malinois have a tiny bit of white on the tips of their toes or a tiny white spot on the chest.


    German Shepherd

    GSD may look aloof but they are certainly not shy animals. While the reserved dogs do not usually make friends easily, once he does, he is sure to remain extremely loyal to you. German Shepherds are easy-going and approachable with loved ones. Because of their protective nature, they make excellent watch dogs

    The intelligent dog breed can be trained to do almost anything, from guiding a disabled person to rescuing survivors from an avalanche. However, despite all these positive traits, German Shepherds are prone to suffering from separation anxiety, which means they cannot be left alone for long periods. An un-exercised and bored dog is likely to exhibit all his bent up feelings by barking and chewing or indulging in other destructive behavior.

    Belgian Malinois

    The Belgian Malinois is an outstanding working dog that may seem reserved towards strangers just like the GSD. Similarly, Malinois makes an excellent watchdog and is protective of 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 cooperate if you do not intimidate them.

    Like other dogs, the Malinois’ personality depends on a variety of factors, such as socialization, heredity and training. Begin early socialization and expose your young puppy to new people and surroundings. Additionally, meet one of the parents, specifically 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 personality.


    German Shepherd

    GSD are jokingly known as German Shedders as the breed sheds throughout the year and is known to shed a ton of hair at once, twice a year. Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to the problem hence dog owners must be prepared to clean up the mess. However, brushing your dog’s fur 2-3 times a week will aid the process. We advise you invest in a handy vacuum cleaner, just in case!

    Bathing the dog too often may strip its fur off natural oils, hence only give your furry friend a bath when they are in dire need of it or are dirty. Luckily, GSD, despite being heavy shedders are generally clean and odorless dogs. Additionally, trim your dog’s nails after every few weeks and inspect their ears for signs of infections. As German Shepherds love to chew, we advise you stock up on tons of dog chew toys that will prevent tartar buildup and satisfy their chewing habits at the same time. Do not forget to brush their teeth at least a few times a week.

    Belgian Malinois

    You will be pleased to know that Belgian Malinois are easy to groom because of their short and straight hair. Simply brush the dog’s coat weekly using a firm bristle brush and only bathe when necessary. Malinois dogs are moderate shedders and only shed heavily during the spring and fall. Also, brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times a week to get rid of tartar buildup. Daily brushing is required to prevent the risk of periodontal and gum diseases.

    Health Problems

    German Shepherd

    Unfortunately, GSDs are prone to several health conditions. When adopting a pet, be sure to contact a reliable breeder. Some prominent health conditions that you should be concerned about include:

    • Elbow Dysplasia
    • Hip Dysplasia
    • Allergies
    • Degenerative Myelopathy
    • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

    Belgian Malinois

    Compared to German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois dogs are a generally healthier breed and only susceptible to a few common health conditions. While not all dogs are prone to suffer from any or all of the health risks, it is however important to be aware of them if you are adopting the breed. Common health concerns include:

    • Elbow Dysplasia
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    • Hip Dysplasia
    • Aesthesia Sensitivity


    German Shepherd

    While German Shepherds are intelligent, training can be quite difficult if your dog is stubborn. Begin training when the dog is still young and reward him with lots of treats to maintain continuous progress. GSD generally enjoy training but may have a difficult time in the first few sessions just like any other dog.

    Belgian Malinois

    Belgian Malinois are much easier to control and train. While both breeds are intelligent, Belgian Malinois dogs tend to be more involved in the activity, making it easier for the trainer. Also, Malinois dogs are curious pets and are always keen to learn new things.


    German Shepherd

    German Shepherds are a larger dog breed and known to exhibit less aggression compared to Belgian Malinois.

    Belgian Malinois

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


    Both dog breeds are energetic and are suited for outdoor activities. Highly energetic dogs should not be left idle for long periods. Take your pet out for long walks and let them spend some time outdoors for improved mental and physical health. It is crucial you keep your dog busy in various activities or else they might exhibit destructive behavior in the form of barking and chewing.


    German Shepherd

    Due to their large build, German Shepherds must consume 3-4 cups of high quality dog food, divided into two meals a day. Always feed your dog nutritious food that does not have high starch content.

    Belgian Malinois

    Belgian Malinois are medium sized breeds and must be fed around 2-3 cups of nutritious dog food, divided into two meals. Please note that the amount of food your dog consumes greatly depends on their overall build, health and age.


    Therefore, you see, both dog breeds are quite different from each other despite the similar physical characteristics. It is thus crucial you choose a pet according to your personal preferences and needs.


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