Spotlight on the Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois was originally bred as a herding breed and still retain that strong herding instinct. They are a very intelligent breed, with a high drive to work. Malinois are attentive and highly trainable. They bond strongly with their owners and don’t cope well with being left alone for long periods or living alone in a kennel.
Malinois have strong protective and territorial instincts. They will instinctively guard their homes and owners. They can be reserved with strangers but are affectionate dogs, thriving on constant attention and cuddles from people that they know. They must be trained using positive reward-based methods as they are incredibly sensitive dogs who react very badly to harsh treatment.
Due to their impressive work ethic and intelligence, the Belgian Malinois is used extensively by the military and the police. They are also used widely as anti-poaching, and search and rescue dogs. This breed needs a job to do. If they are denied not only physical exercise but also mental stimulation and the correct training, they will often show inappropriate behaviours.
The Malinois' popularity has increased recently due to their appearances in films and their involvement in high-profile military operations. This has led to an admiration of their beauty, fitness, and strength. They may seem like a great dog to own but they do not tend to make good pets for most people. They can however be excellent dogs for people who wish to “work” their dogs in sports such as agility, obedience, flyball or Cani-cross.
Showline Malinois or other varieties of the Belgian Shepherd such as the Tervuren or Groenendael may make more suitable pets as they have not been bred to have such a high work drive. However, they are still active and intelligent dogs who need a good deal of exercise and stimulation.
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