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Malinois: dog food and breed portrait

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Malinois

The Malinois is one of the four recognised varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog. The breed, which is managed by the FCI in Group 1, Section 1 (Shepherds), is known for its great eagerness to work and learn.


These characteristics make the Malinois an excellent service dog. A keeping as a family dog is also possible. However, beginners might be overtaxed with the demanding education of the Malinois.

History of the Malinois

The ancestors of the Malinois were used in Belgium as herding and driving dogs, among other things. In addition, the versatile and robust animals were also used as draught dogs and guard dogs. The targeted breeding of the Malinois as well as the other varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog was started towards the end of the 19th century. Until then there was no uniform breed standard for the Malinois and the outward appearance of the classical working dogs did not play a major role.


The first animals were registered in the stud book around 1901. Although the first breed standard was already established in 1892, there were many changes in the following years.


Around 1910, the appearance and character of the Malinois was finally largely fixed, so that today's animals are largely in line with the standard from that time.


Incidentally, the Malinois owes its name to the Belgian city of Mechelen. This is called Malines in French, which is where the name Malinois finally originated from. In Flemish the Malinois is also called Mechelaar.

Characteristics of the Malinois

The average life expectancy of the Malinois is 12 to 14 years. Male animals grow to about 62 centimetres, while bitches reach a shoulder height of about 58 centimetres. The breed standard allows a deviation of two centimetres in both directions.


The body weight of a male Malinois usually ranges between 25 and 30 kilograms. Females, however, only weigh about 20 to 25 kilograms. This means that the Malinois is considerably slimmer than the German Shepherd despite its almost identical size.


Altogether the Malinois is characterized by a harmonious physique. The large dogs are wiry, elegant and well muscled. In breeding the Malinois, for a long time, the emphasis was on practicality, while the appearance was rather secondary.


The coat of the Malinois is thick and short. Its colouring can vary from fawn to reddish-brown or even dark grey-brown, whereby the breed standard always prescribes a black mask and a black cloud.

The relatives of the Malinois

Besides the Malinois, there are three other varieties of the Belgian Shepherd, which differ from each other only by the nature of their fur.

Among the variants of the Belgian Shepherd are the Malinois:

  • Groenendael
  • Laekenois
  • Tervueren

Although cross-breeding of the different varieties is undesirable, all four Belgian Shepherds belong to the same breed (FCI Standard No. 15).

Malinois nature and character

The Malinois is an efficient working dog. He is intelligent and is characterized by his high willingness to learn. In addition, the Malinois has a strong protective instinct, which makes it a reliable watchdog.


The Malinois is considered to be extremely spirited and lively. Towards strangers he is rather suspicious and sometimes even a little jealous. To his owner, however, the Malinois builds up a very close and trusting relationship.


These brave and at the same time sensitive animals are only suitable for experienced dog owners who are able to find the right balance in their training and to meet the needs of the demanding dog breed.

Activities with the Malinois

Activities with the Malinois

The Malinois is far from being a pure society dog. Thanks to his eagerness to work and his ability to learn, he is appreciated as a service dog in many countries.


Besides its use as a police and military dog, the Malinois is also very well suited for training as a rescue or protection dog.


A keeping as pure domestic dog is of course also possible. However, in this case it is particularly important to challenge the Malinois both physically and mentally sufficiently.


Otherwise, behavioural abnormalities usually do not take long to appear. Dog sport is a good way to avoid this and to keep the Malinois occupied as needed.

For the Malinois, the following dog sports, among others, are suitable:

Malinois diseases

The Malinois is considered a robust and powerful dog, with whose eagerness to work only few breeds can keep up. Diseases typical of the breed, which are particularly frequent in the Malinois, are not known to date.


However, the Malinois is at a certain risk of suffering from hip and elbow dysplasia. In addition, the dogs may occasionally suffer from epilepsy and cerebellar ataxia.


Provided that the animals come from a reputable breeder and their owners pay attention to good husbandry conditions, the Malinois usually turns out to be a very healthy dog breed.

Common health problems in Malinois

The high physical stress that Malinois are exposed to when working for example as service dogs, strain their musculoskeletal system and can eventually lead to osteoarthritis. To prevent this, regular rest breaks and a good supply of nutrients are important.


A twisted stomach or gastric torsion (torsio ventriculi) is another health problem that unfortunately sometimes occurs in Malinois. In this condition the stomach rotates around its own axis, which constricts blood vessels. A twisted stomach in dogs is a medical emergency that must be treated surgically and is often fatal.


To reduce the risk, it is advisable to split the Malinois' daily food ration into two or three meals and to avoid physical activity immediately after feeding. In addition, the use of a slow-feeding dog bowl and cold-pressed dry food can help to protect the stomach and prevent life-threatening gastric torsion in Malinois.

Which dog food is suitable for Malinois?

Malinois are active dogs. If they are used as a service dogs or in dog sports, it is particularly important to take this into account when calculating the food portions, because they can only achieve top performance with the right amount of dog food every day. Depending on weight, age and physical activity, around 300 to 500 grams of dry food per day is the right amount of food for an adult Malinois.


In addition to the quantity, the quality of the food obviously plays a role as well. We recommend feeding the Malinois with our grain-free, cold-pressed dry food. The grain-free croquettes are produced in a gentle cold-pressing process. As a result, they do not swell as much in the Malinois' stomach and can in that way help to reduce the increased risk of life-threatening stomach torsion in medium-sized and large dog breeds.


The food is easily digestible due to the absence of grain. At the same time, the carefully coordinated recipe and a high proportion of meat ensure that your Malinois is supplied with all animal proteins and other important nutrients it needs.

Useful food supplements for Malinois

High-quality dog food is the basis for an adequate diet for Malinois. In addition it can make sense to offer suitable food supplements to meet these dogs' special needs.

We particularly recommend the following products from our range for Malinois:

  • Bellfor Fitness Powder is our wholesome protein powder with insect protein for physically active dogs. 
  • Bellfor Joints & Bones helps with its unique blend of active ingredients to prevent joint diseases in Malinois. 
  • Bellfor Skin & Coat can improve the appearance of the skin and fur with various essential nutrients.

Dog treats for training with Malinois

Little treats should be part of every dog's life. Dog treats can help improve your four-legged friend's motivation, especially during training. You can find a selection of healthy dog treats for your Malinois in our shop, such as grain-free soft snacks. They are perfect for this purpose and are not only tasty but also easily digestible for your four-legged friend.

High-quality food for puppies

Our grain-free, cold-pressed Münsterländer Landschmaus is also available as puppy food for Malinois puppies and young dogs. The adapted formula makes the food the ideal choice for feeding puppies and provides your four-legged friend with an extra portion of protein for healthy growth.


The well thought-out nutrition concept from Bellfor allows you to optimally feed your Malinois from an early age and make a decisive contribution to a long and healthy dog life.


food for malinois

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