HomeDogsWhat is the difference between a Malinois and a German Shepherd?

What is the difference between a Malinois and a German Shepherd?

The Belgian Malinois has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. This is facilitated by both media attention and the real success of this dog in various fields – from the field of sports competitions to highly specialized police practice. The popularity of the breed, unfortunately, often goes to its detriment, since a large number of commercial breeders begin to revolve around the growing interest of amateurs, ready to mass produce puppies for the sake of profit at the expense of the quality of the dogs and the breed as a whole.

Without addressing this issue within the framework of this article, we would like to briefly focus on the characteristics of the Malinois breed compared to the better-known German Shepherd. Potential owners of the “active Belgian Shepherd” are advised to carefully read this article and seriously think about whether they are ready for such a dog and whether the Malinois will find truly worthy and reliable “leaders” in them.

But first of all, we strongly recommend reading the Belgian Shepherd Malinois breed sheet: Characteristics – Character – Health. This sheet answers in detail and very correctly the question: Who is the Malinois?

If after reading the article you want to delve deeper into some of the intricacies of the breed, read on.

So how is a Malinois different from a German Shepherd?

Malinois
Malinois

Without going into details of the debate among amateurs about which breed is the best, we will report the main and most notable differences between the average representatives of the breeds:

1. Exterior

The Malinois is a dog with a drier constitution, rectangular in size, with a straight rear line. The German Shepherd, as a rule, is more massive and has a descending line of the back (less pronounced in working breeding). The head profile of the “German Shepherd” has a more pronounced transition from forehead to muzzle, and the head is also more massive. The color of the Malinois is predominantly red with a black muzzle mask and more or less black hair on the head, chest and legs (there is rarely a completely black color, prohibited by the official standard, but genetically it is “historical”). “). The color of German Shepherds is zoned (gray or red), saddle back, black, black and tan.

2. Speed and mobility

Malinois are very fast dogs, both in their individual reactions and in their motor activity in general, which is associated both with their physique and with the characteristics of the nervous system. German Shepherds tend to be a little slower, but an individual dog’s “rate of fire” is very individual. Most often, the less massive the physique, the higher the mobility.

German Shepherd
German Shepherd

3. Characteristics of the nervous system

The Malinois has a much more “sharp” nervous system. This means a lower threshold of excitability (a lower level of stimulus is required for activation) and a high speed of escalation of arousal (in particular, from the perception of threat to the onset of the reaction defensive of the dog, a significantly shorter time elapses). But, at the same time, it is a more “fragile” system than the “iron nerves” of a German shepherd. Improper handling, as well as inadequate socialization in the initial period (puppy and adolescent) often lead to damage in a genetically good dog (development of hysteria, fears, aggression, etc.).

4. Expressiveness of “pure” instincts

The German Shepherd generally has more complex behaviors, in which it is not always easy to identify a certain basic motivation at any given moment. The Malinois has more pronounced archetypal (old) forms of behavior, in which individual instincts can often be traced. In practice, on the one hand this helps in training, on the other hand Malinois will in many cases behave more linearly (a puppy who wants to pee will immediately “pout” on the mat, a very aggressive adult male can attack the enemy without prior demonstrations, etc.).

5. Health and predisposition to hereditary diseases

In general, it must be admitted that Malinois are much less susceptible to diseases than German Shepherds, this is probably due to the fact that until recently they were not affected by poor mass breeding as a result of fashion philistine. Among hereditary diseases, the Malinois most often manifests itself as hip dysplasia (rarely) and epilepsy, in German Shepherds – the same dysplasia, diseases of other parts of the musculoskeletal system, allergies, chronic gastrointestinal diseases and greater susceptibility to infections.

There are no other major differences between the breeds. Some of their individual representatives, located “on the border” of the breed type, are often very similar in temperament and behavior. Specialists (athletes, police officers) sometimes even voluntarily use “mixes” (descendants of a German Shepherd-Malinois couple) in their work. Let us also remember that in the Malinois breed, like the German Shepherd, there is a direction of exhibition breeding whose representatives are selected for their beauty.

Bonus for those who love to cuddle dogs

Quite often, Malinois, often males, demonstrate a great desire for tactile (and visual) contact with their owner and an obvious pleasure to be derived from it. They really like to be stroked, picked up (if the owner’s strength allows), hugged and shown similar forms of communication, and also look into the eyes for a long time. Malinois can be very obsessive, both demanding attention and actively following their owner around the house or on walks. It should be noted that such behavior can sometimes provoke jealousy of the dog from the “human” member of the family. “German Shepherds” tend to be much more reserved when it comes to showing affection.

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