Finding a Belgian Malinois Puppy

I have owned and trained Belgian Sheepdogs for close to 40 years. I have seen the Belgian Malinois become the military and police dog of choice. They are a true working dog that has been very selectively bred to work long hours often in harsh conditions and to be mentally and physically tough. They have been bred to have the drive, energy and intense desire to keep working for hours on the job.

I have also seen huge numbers of people decide to produce Belgian Malinois litters for the sole desire to make a quick buck and fill the demand of folks who want a dog just like the dog they saw in the news or in a movie. They don’t care what sort of temperaments the parents or puppies have or health issues. They don’t care where the puppies go, and they don’t care if the people buying the cute 8 week old puppy know anything about the breed. Most of these dogs will end up in a shelter because they do not make good pets! Great working dogs but challenging pet dogs. Please spend a few hours researching this breed before deciding on bringing a dog into your home that will hopefully live with you and your family for 14 of 15 years.

They are high energy and high drive dogs, most want to be doing ‘something’ 24/7. This makes them good for competitive working homes who are committed to training their puppy every day multiple times a day and keep the puppy in a secure kennel where it can’t damage their home or yard when they don’t have time to interact with the puppy.  They are bred to have an intense desire to tug and grip. Necessary in a military or police dog but they NEED something in their mouths especially when bored. This can be furniture, door jams, decks, sheetrock, fencing, pant legs, hands ….

Photo courtesy the WOOF Project

Belgian Malinois are bred to be athletic and physically tough, able to go over, or through, fences and take a physical correction and not quit and even fight back, useful in a police dog where the bad guy tries hard to escape and will fight off or try and kill the police dog. So you correct your puppy for grabbing your pant leg and he just bites harder. Your wood fence has a couple of knot holes and soon you find a dog sized hole and your Malinois running loose in the neighborhood and going after the neighbor’s cat. Belgian Malinois have been bred to have an intense prey drive, to chase and grab moving objects. Valuable when a suspect is running away but not easy to live with and it can especially be a problem around small children.

If you still think you would like to own a Belgian Malinois consider helping out a rescue Malinois. Temporarily fostering a Malinois in need is a great way to find out if this is the right breed for you. If you are still interest in finding a Malinois puppy or adult and wish to adopt a pre-screened rescue or find a responsible breeder please check out the following links:

Belgian Malinois Rescue:    http://www.woofproject.org/

American Belgian Malinois Club:   http://www.malinoisclub.com/abmc/

A responsible breeder who cares about producing healthy puppies will have documentation that both parents have OFA cleared hips and elbows at a minimum. The OFA will not document a dog under 2 years as being clear of hip and elbow dysplasia. Go to the OFA website and search to double check. http://www.offa.org/

A responsible breeder will care about what experience you have had with Belgians and ask about your plans for future training. You should be able to at least meet and interact with the mother of the litter and the father if he is on the property. They should be able to answer specific questions on how the parents are with children, other dogs, strangers and what training and titles the parents have. Talk to lots of Malinois owners! Meet as many as possible. Then make up your mind on if this is a breed that will fit your lifestyle for the next 14 or more years.

Photo courtesy the WOOF Project

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