|Other Names:||Belgian Malinois, Chien de Berger Belge|
The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) (pronounced /?mµl?nw??/), sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch either Mechelse herdershond (shepherd dog from Mechelen) or Mechelaar (one from Mechelen).
Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized and square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois has a short mahogany coat with black overlay. It has black erect ears and a black muzzle. It has a square build in comparison to the German Shepherd.
Due to its history as a working dog (i.e., being bred for function over form), the Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color fawn to mahogany with a black mask and black ears with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog’s underside, breeching, and inner leg. There used to be dogs with grey and black shorthairs but they no longer meet the breed standards.
The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coats and colors: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois but grey is also possible with long hair, the Laekenois is the same color, only it may lack the black mask and ears, and has wirehair, the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black. There are (occasionally and historically) solid black, black-and-tan (as with Dobermans and German Shepherd Dogs), or other colored short-haired Belgian Shepherds, but these are not technically Malinois.
If a dog represented as a Malinois is brindle (clear stripes of different colored hair) it is probably a Dutch Shepherd Dog or a mixed breed, although the possibility exists that it is a throwback to a common continental shepherd ancestor.
Size Malinois dogs are about 24û26 in (61û66 cm), while bitches are about 22û24 in (56û61 cm) at the withers. Bitches are said to average 25û30 kg (55û65 lb), while sires are heavier at 29û34 kg (65û75 lb). They are squarely built.