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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > German Malinois (Belgian Malinois & German Shepherd Mix): Pictures, Guide, Info, & Care!

German Malinois (Belgian Malinois & German Shepherd Mix): Pictures, Guide, Info, & Care!

German Malinois lying on hay grass

Many people have heard of a Belgian Malinois, and even more people have heard of a German Shepherd. However, the German Malinois is much less common, and it is a mix of the previously mentioned popular breeds.

Breed Overview


22–26 inches


45–85 pounds


10–15 years


Black, gray, silver, blue, sable, red, fawn, and cream

Suitable for:

Active families who want a designer dog


Loyal & loving, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets

These dogs take on the best and the worst qualities of both their parents. The positives include intelligence, determination, and loyalty. At the same time, German Malinois can be standoffish, potential to be aggressive, and less suited for young children, much like the Belgian Malinois.

With this in mind, you need to weigh whether or not a German Malinois is right for you very carefully. If you are debating getting this unique breed, keep reading. In this article, we help you decide if this dog is right for you, or if you should opt for a less energetic dog. Let’s get started.

German Malinois Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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German Malinois Puppies

german malinois puppy sleeping in a blanket
Image By: Alina Ziabrieva, Shutterstock

German Malinois puppies are known for their intelligence and trainability, making them a popular choice for those looking for a highly active and intelligent companion. German Malinois puppies are full of energy and require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to help them reach their full potential. Early socialization is crucial to help them develop into confident, well-rounded dogs.

In terms of appearance, German Malinois puppies can resemble either parent breed, and their coat color and pattern can vary. They typically have a muscular and athletic build, with a medium-length, dense coat that requires regular grooming. Feeding a high-quality diet and providing plenty of exercise will help them grow into healthy, active dogs. With proper care and attention, German Malinois puppies can grow into loyal, loving companions that form strong bonds with their owners.

Parent_breeds_German Malinois
Image Credit: Left – cvop, Pixabay | Right – BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the German Malinois

German Malinois are intelligent and very active, but they can be a bit more difficult to train and aggressive at times. German Malinois is not suitable for many homes, especially homes with young children. These dogs are also not great for homes that already have other pets.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

German Shepherds are pretty good with families and children, but Belgian Malinois can be overbearing and a bit aggressive because of their hunting instincts. German Malinois tend to take after the Belgian Malinois, making them a bit more aggressive, but their temperament can be unpredictable. This is why socialization at a young age is important.

Some German Malinois can be less tolerant of young children due to their intense herding and hunting instincts. At the same time, other German Malinois take after the German Shepherds, making them relatively calm and tolerant around young children.

Because this breed is unpredictable and their tendencies are not shown until they are adults, it is best to avoid getting a German Malinois if you are considering having children or already have young children. Older children will be fine with this breed since German Malinois get along just fine with adults.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Although certain German Malinois can be okay with children and other family members, most are not compatible with other pets. Their herding and hunting tendencies mean that they want to herd or hunt small animals, including cats.

With other dogs, they can be aggressive and incredibly territorial. This is especially true if both dogs are males and were not introduced to one another at a very young age. For these reasons, a German Malinois is best as the sole pet in the household.


Things to Know When Owning a German Malinois:

Because both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are very athletic, the German Malinois is very active as well. Its high energy means that it is best suited for homes with large yards and people who are very active.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

German Malinois are pretty big dogs. For this reason, you should feed your German Malinois about 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day. Select a dog food specifically for large dogs and dogs of its specific age group. Your vet may recommend brands based on your dog’s individual needs.

Exercise 🐕

Exercise can be a bit of an issue for German Malinois owners. This breed has a high activity level, meaning they need about 14 miles of walking a week and 120 minutes of playtime a day. Incorporating mental activities into their playtime can make a huge difference. For example, playing fetch, retrieving, and tracking can be a great choice for keeping your German Malinois active.

If you are unable to commit to 120 minutes of playtime a day, do not get a German Malinois. This breed needs a whole lot of activity. If you do not exercise it properly, the dog can become mischievous and bored, making you an irresponsible dog owner.

Training 🎾

In terms of training, German Malinois are intelligent and eager to please, but they have a bit of a stubborn streak. The best way to train a German Malinois is by using positive reinforcement but having a strong and firm voice at the same time.

By integrating positive reinforcement with a firm voice, the German Malinois will start to listen since you show the dog you mean business. Since this breed is eager to please, using the right technique can make training a breeze.

Grooming ✂️

Even though grooming a German Malinois is pretty straightforward, it is time-consuming. These dogs have coarse fur and shed. Brushing your dog’s coat once a week will prevent it from matting and shedding throughout your entire home.

You also need to clean out your German Malinois’s ears frequently. This dog breed often develops too much earwax, leading to infections and other ear issues. Cleaning out the earwax frequently will prevent these issues from occurring.

Health and Conditions 🏥

German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are both really healthy dogs. As a result, German Malinois are really healthy too. These dogs can live quite a few years and live so healthily. Providing your German Malinois with proper exercise, food, and grooming will help prevent the most common health conditions for this breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections
  • Hemophilia
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye disease
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Heart disease

Minor Conditions:

As we already mentioned, German Malinois tend to develop ear infections pretty easily. This is a minor condition, but it can be annoying to your dog. Cleaning out your dog’s ears will help to prevent this issue. Some other minor conditions your dog may develop include hemophilia, epilepsy, and eye diseases.

Serious Conditions:

Because German Malinois are so big and active, they can develop hip and elbow dysplasia, especially as they age. These dogs can also experience bloat and heart diseases. Talk to your vet for supplements and diets to prevent any of these illnesses from developing inside your dog.


Male vs Female

In many ways, male and female German Malinois are the same, but there are some notable differences. Males tend to be larger, though not by much. They are more aggressive as well. It is best to go with the female German Malinois if you are concerned about aggression. Females are naturally less aggressive, and their smaller size makes them easier to control.

3 Little-Known Facts About the German Malinois

1. They Are a Cross Between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois

When most people hear the phrase German Malinois, they simply mistake the breed for a Belgian Malinois. Instead, German Malinois puppies are a cross between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois.

Since German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are comparable in a number of ways, breeding these two breeds leads to an intelligent and hardworking dog. However, German Malinois tend to take after the Belgian Malinois in terms of personality, though individuals can take after German Shepherds too.

2. They Are Fairly Unknown

Because German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are so popular, you would expect their descendants to be popular as well. This is not the case for the German Malinois. This breed is relatively unknown since it is a designer dog.

Even compared to other designer dogs, the German Malinois is still unknown. This is likely because the German Malinois is also a working dog. Most people who are looking for a working dog do not care about designer dogs, whereas people who want a designer dog don’t typically look for working dogs.

3. They Are a Working Breed With Designer Tendencies

Even though most people are not looking for dog with both designer and working tendencies, a German Malinois can be a great choice if you are looking for both. Once again, German Malinois puppies grow to be incredibly hard-working and intelligent, but they are unique and classify as a designer breed. Many police forces use this breed.



All around, German Malinois are really active, intelligent, and hardworking dogs. This breed is best for people who are active and want a working dog by their side. At the same time, a German Malinois is not suitable for homes with young children or other pets.

Because German Malinois personality is a bit unpredictable, you don’t want to take any risks by introducing a dog that may become aggressive at a later date. If you have older children, the German Malinois shouldn’t be an issue.

With this in mind, German Malinois dogs are a great addition to the right household. For most homes, we would recommend opting for a different dog, but the German Malinois may be right for you if you do not have young children and are eager to have a hard-working and energetic dog.

We have more German Dog Breeds in our related article!

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Featured Image Credit: Bianca Grueneberg, Shutterstock

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