Recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois (pronounced “Mal-lin-wa”), the Belgian Shepherd Dog (Maliniois) is primarily bred for use as a working dog. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which in Dutch is either ‘Mechelse herdershond’ (shepherd dog from Mechelen) or ‘Mechelaar (one from Mechelen).
In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well as in the United States, Canada and Australia, the Malinois can be found working in the fields of personal protection, detection, police work, and search and rescue. The breed is also the preferred dog of Israeli Defense Forces, where slighter build of Malinois made it favored over the German Shepherd and Rottweiler which were employed formerly. The United States Secret Service and the Royal Australian Air Force also use the breed exclusively in the performance of a variety of roles. The epitome of versatility the Malinois also excels in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events, and are one of the most popular breeds used in protection sports such as schutzhund, Belgian Ring, French Ring, and Mondio Ring.
Probably the most notable Belgian Malinois of recent history is ‘Cairo’, the war dog that accompanied United States Navy Seal Team 6 in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
See the History section of the Belgian Shepherd Dog for more information.
Different from the Groenendael in both length and color, the Malinois variety is beautiful in its own rite. The Malinois is distinguished not only by its short, smooth coat, but also by its intriguing color. The Malinois has a double coat, with a dense undercoat, and an over-coat that tightly conforms to its body and is very short around the face, head, ears, and front of the legs. Like the Groenendael, the Malinois has slightly thicker hair around its neck, forming what is called a collarette. The color can be fawn, reddish, grey, or mahogany and often possesses an overlay appearance. The Malinois has a unique characteristic in its coat, in that it is often double-pigmented. This means that the lighter colored coat will have blackening on the tips. As the dog ages, the darkening of its coat may become more pronounced.
Please see the Grooming section of the Belgian Shepherd Dog for more information