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Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

The Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd Dog are from the same Shepherd lineage. Their similar appearances, coloring, and heritage as herding breeds often lead some people to mistake the Belgian Malinois for a shorter-haired version of the German Shepherd.

They have a lot in common so it’s not easy to decide between having a Belgian malinois and a german shepherd … what’s the difference between them then??

Although They have similar traits and some of the same abilities, there are some key differences between these two breeds in terms of their personalities and lifestyle requirements that you want to consider before making a decision as to which dog would be the right one for your family.

Rankings / popularity:

The Belgian Malinois breed is recently becoming more popular than ever among dog owners but the German Shepherd is still at the top of the list of the top breeds of dogs generated every year by The American Kennel Club(AKC). It has been so popular for so long—has ranked second #2 for years and is in the top 5 most popular AKC breeds for decades.

Appearance Comparison:

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

It is hard to tell the two breeds apart especially at first glance. Their main difference is in the build; the Malinois will be about 40-80 pounds and is much less bulky than the German Shepherd that is between 75 and 95 pounds.

However, The height is about the same(about 2ft at the shoulder).

The German Shepherd just like Belgian Malinois is double-coated but has a longer coat.

Also Malinois ears are slightly deeper, longer and pointier.


Both breeds require regular grooming. Brush their teeth a  few times a week and make sure their claws are trimmed to a safe length. They need their ears checked and cleaned and bathe them only when necessary.

The German Shepherd has high grooming requirements. They are heavy shedders throughout the year, to the point that they are jokingly known as German Shedders .Give them 2-3 brushes a week.

On the other hand, The Belgian Malinois are moderate shedders and easy to groom as their fur is shorter and straight thus easy to brush. 

Temperament :

Both Belgian Malinois and German shepherd were initially bred to herd so they have a similar temperament. They are both outstanding working dogs.

They are highly intelligent, athletic, eager to please, and can be trained to do almost anything . they are both loyal and possessive of their owners and reserved towards strangers.

German Shepherds are prone to suffering from separation anxiety once they have formed a bond with their keepers, which means they cannot be left alone for long periods. Malinois can also get destructive if left alone but they are generally considered to be more independent dogs.

Belgian Malinois are more intense, have a stronger prey drive, and tend to be more aggressive compared to German Shepherds and exhibit more problem behaviors as a result of stress and anxiety. They are also much faster and have higher levels of energy.

They both require training and socialization to be a healthy and happy

Exercise and Training : 

Both breeds don’t adjust well to dominant training and respond extremely well to training using positive reinforcement methods.

Both of them are highly intelligent. However, Belgian Malinois dogs have a reputation of being slightly easier to train and control as they are less stubborn, have more energy, and tend to be more involved in the activity. Also, they are curious and always keen to learn new things. 

Health :

Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds have similar body traits and the health issues that both these dogs face is also quite similar .these include Elbow Dysplasia and Hip Dysplasia.

But unfortunately, German Shepherds are known for having more genetic conditions than the Malinois.

Some of the health conditions they are prone to have are: Allergies, Bloat, Degenerative Myelopathy, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

That is probably a result of their popularity which makes it all the more important to make sure that you seek out a reliable and responsible breeder.

Compared to German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois dogs are generally healthier as there are less of them to breed, and most of the breeders tend to be reputable and responsible. They are still susceptible to a few common health conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Aesthesia Sensitivity.

Lifespan :

German Shepherds have a lifespan of 10-12 years whereas a Belgian Malinois has a longer lifespan of around 10-14 years.

Feeding :

the amount of food your dog consumes greatly depends on their overall build, health, and age.

Belgian Malinois are medium-sized breeds and must be fed around 2-3 cups of nutritious dog food in a day (around 1,200 calories) divided into two meals.

German shepherds have a larger build so they consume more; You should expect to feed them up to 3 or 4 cups in a day (around 1,600 calories).

It has to be high quality and nutritious dog food that does not have high starch content.

In conclusion, take your time to learn about both breeds and what each one has to offer. And what’s important is to consider the dynamics of your household as well as the time that you have to train the dog that you adopt and choose based on that the dog that best suits your lifestyle and whose needs you will be able to meet.

This is all about Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd


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