Dogs are like people – some dogs jive well with others and some don’t. As a dog owner myself, whenever I am looking to add to my pack I always ask “does the breed I’m looking at play well with others?”
Are Belgian Malinois Good with Other Dogs? In my research on Belgian Malinois, here’s what I found out.
The Belgian Malinois breed has long been used for its excellent herding and guarding abilities. While the breed is not particularly considered aggressive, they do still have their natural herding and guarding instinct. For this reason, they may become aggressive towards dogs that are not raised within the family.
Of course, much of the temperament of the Belgian Malinois is rooted in their history. So today, we’re going to learn a little bit more about the background of the Belgian Malinois to understand a little bit more about their temperament.
We will also discuss other topics like how they do with small children, how they do with strangers, and what the best method of training is.
Belgian Malinois Physical Features
If you were to ever see a Belgian Malinois, you might think they resembled much of a German Shepherd.
The breed is mid-size with short hair and a black mask, but despite their common confusion with the German Shepherd, the breed is actually very different.
Firstly, they are smaller in size and have a much lighter bone structure. Secondly, while the two have many common personality traits, they also have several temperament traits that set them apart.
The Belgian Malinois, for example, is often seen as more active and energetic, as well as more aggressive than the German Shepherd.[ Read Our Mal vs GSD Breed Comparison Here ]
Belgian Malinois History
We’ve already established that the Belgian Malinois has a tendency to be aggressive towards other dogs with which they are not familiar. But where did this behavior stem from?
The Belgian Malinois was first bred in the city of Malines in Northwestern Belgium and has long been seen as good workers. For that reason, they were often used to herd livestock and were very popular among sheepherders and cattlemen.
Since they were brought to America, however, their natural ability to work has gained them recognition in many other careers as well. More specifically, the Belgian Malinois are commonly found working with the police, as well as with the military.
Of course, with a history of herding and guarding their territory, it’s no surprise that the Belgian Malinois would still have some of that original instinct bred into them.
For as long as they have been recognized as a distinct breed, the Belgian Malinois has been taught to fend off or attack any animals that they do not recognize, so it’s no surprise that they may still become aggressive with unfamiliar dogs that they do not recognize today.
With that being said, the Belgian Malinois does tend to be much more tolerant of other dogs that are introduced slowly or raised alongside them, mainly because they are not seen as a threat.
Are Belgian Malinois Good With Cats and Small Animals?
Because the Belgian Malinois have a strong prey instinct, they aren’t recommended for households with smaller animals.
The Belgian Malinois may chase and attack smaller animals like cats, hamsters, and rabbits. This is especially true if they don’t get enough exercise. When they have excess energy, they are more likely to take that energy out on other animals.
Of course, chasing smaller animals isn’t limited to time spent in the home. When you own a Belgian Malinois, you also need to be careful with them outside. They may chase after small animals like squirrels or rabbits in the yard, and if not properly trained, on leash as well.
Are Belgian Malinois Good With Children?
Overall, the Belgian Malinois is considered to be good with small children. They are not generally seen as an “aggressive” breed of dog and are unlikely to ever attack a small child.
With that being said, you should never leave a child unattended or unsupervised around any dog. The Belgian Malinois has a great deal of energy and may unintentionally injure a child by knocking them over or play fighting.
Furthermore, if the Belgian Malinois does not have an outlet to release all of their pent-up energy, they may become bored and attempt to herd children or nip at their heels.
Can you train the Belgian Malinois to be good with other dogs/pets?
The good news is, the Belgian Malinois is considered highly trainable. They thrive when given obedience and agility training, and are happiest when they have a trainer who can lead the pack.
The Belgian Malinois responds best to gentle, but strong and consistent training methods with a positive reward system. They are also easiest to train when they have an outlet to release their energy. Belgian Malinois dogs require plenty of exercises or they can become bored and destructive.
When training the Belgian Malinois around other pets within the home, it’s best to introduce them gradually.
They may attack dogs or other animals that they see as a threat, so it’s important to establish that they are not threatening before making any formal introductions.
Once introduced properly into the home, the Belgian Malinois should be able to live alongside other dogs without any aggression or concerns.
How do Belgian Malinois react to strangers?
When dealing with a Belgian Malinois, it’s important to remember that they have a tendency to be territorial and protective.
They have long been trained to fend away the unknown, so while they are unlikely to ever actually attack a stranger (unless provoked), they will bark to alert you of their presence.
When in the home, strangers may be greeted with aloofness by the Belgian Malinois until they have gained familiarity.
In conclusion, the Belgian Malinois is a very smart and obedient dog that can bring a strong level of protection to your home.
They still have a strong herding and guarding instinct that can make them aloof with strangers and potentially dangerous to other dogs and smaller animals.
For this reason, any pets that have not been raised with your Belgian Malinois should be introduced slowly. Quick introductions could result in unwanted aggression.