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The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized Belgian Shepherd dog that was originally developed in Malines, Belgium. Malinois are intelligent and very active dogs that excel at many tasks. In addition to herding, they also do well with police work, search and rescue, and performance events, such as agility.

The Belgian Malinois (often referred to as Mal) is one of four varieties of Belgian Sheepdogs, developed in Belgium in the late 1800s. The four varieties are:

• the Malinois (fawn-mahogany, short coat with black mask),
• the Tervuren (fawn-mahogany, long coat with black mask),
•.the Laekenois (fawn, rough coat), and
• the Groenendael (black, long coat).

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes all but the Laekenois as separate breeds in the United States.

People who are not familiar with this dog breed often confuse them with the German Shepherd Dog (GSD), but there are significant differences in the body structure and temperament of the two breeds:

• Malinois are smaller dogs with lighter bones. They stand with their weight well on their toes, giving them a square body profile, while today’s GSD has a long, sloping back and carries their weight flatter on their feet.

• Many think that the Malinois is more alert and quicker to respond than the GSD. They’re also very sensitive dogs that don’t respond well to harsh training methods. Some Malinois are friendly and assertive, but others are reserved and aloof with strangers. They should never have a fearful or aggressive temperament.

The Belgian Malinois excels not only in herding but also in protection and law enforcement. Today, they are still very popular as police dogs, guard dogs, as well as loving family members. If you are thinking of getting a new Belgian Malinois puppy, one of the first things you may have considered is whether to get a male or a female one.

If you are having a hard time deciding between these two, continue reading. Maybe we can help you to make a final decision.

What Is The Difference Between Male And Female Belgian Malinois?

Malinois Belgian Shepherd dog lying on the grassMalinois Belgian Shepherd dog lying on the grass

Whether you decide on a male or female Belgian Malinois, both are highly intelligent dogs that are great for personal protection and can be a loving addition to your household.

Because of their energy level and sensitivity, Malinois are recommended only for people who have previously owned dogs and have experience with dog training. Malinois are very intense dogs who like to be included in all family activities. They aren’t well suited for people who work long hours, leaving their dogs home alone.

Although there are a few distinct differences between the genders, neither of the two is outright better than the other. At the end of the day, it’s more about which sex is the better fit for your lifestyle rather than which one is overall superior.

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However, depending on the situation, a specific gender of Malinois might be a better option. For example, female Belgian Malinois are more inclined to stay close to their owners and be easier to handle since they are smaller and more receptive. Males, on the other hand, tend to be more playful and adventurous.

Let’s check other male vs. female Belgian Malinois differences in the table below:

Female Male
Height: 22–24″ 24–26″
Weight: 40–60 lbs 60–80 lbs
Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, focused Energetic, intelligent, hard-headed
Easy to train: Yes Mostly yes
Health: Depends on genetics Depends on genetics
Lifespan: Between 12 and 14 years Between 12 and 14 years

Male Vs. Female Belgian Malinois Size

beautiful Belgian Malinois dogbeautiful Belgian Malinois dog

Photo from: @adventuresof_magnum_steel

Belgian Malinois dogs are well-balanced, square dogs, elegant in appearance with an exceedingly proud carriage of the head and neck. When it comes to male vs. female Belgian Malinois size, they appear largely identical and can be tough to tell apart at first glance. There are, however, a few differences that set the genders apart.

Male dogs are a fair bit larger in size than females and are a few inches taller to boot. Male Belgian Malinois are almost always bigger than their female counterparts, weighing between 60 and 80 pounds and standing approximately 24 to 26 inches tall from the shoulder down.

Males are also likely to be slightly more muscular due to the increased testosterone, though it will be hard to notice through their thick fur.

In contrast, this breed’s female dogs are often a couple of inches shorter than males at 22 to 24 inches tall and should weigh anywhere between 40 to 60 pounds.

How Much Does A Belgian Malinois Puppy Cost?

Cute Belgian Shepherd Malinois puppyCute Belgian Shepherd Malinois puppy

With papers, superior lineage, and breeding rights or show quality, a Malinois puppy price can average from $3,400 to $9,000.

The better a breeder’s reputation, the higher the price they can ask. These dogs are highly sought after, and the best breeders will only have so many dogs per season to sell.

Finding a responsible breeder you trust is your first – and most important – step to finding your new best friend. Breeders are invaluable resources because they are a bridge between you and your perfect dog. You can rely on them throughout your dog’s lifetime.

Temperament Differences

beautiful belgian shepherd malinois dogbeautiful belgian shepherd malinois dog

The first thing to know about the Belgian Malinois’ temperament is that they are working dogs. They were bred to protect livestock in their homeland, Belgium. Like most herding breeds, these dogs have a high prey drive and are strongly interested in moving objects.

Malinois are intelligent dogs who can be trained to master a wide variety of tasks/roles. They have a high desire to work and are at their best when regularly given an activity to do.

Temperament doesn’t just happen. It’s affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with good temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Meeting the dog’s parents, siblings, or other relatives may also prove helpful in evaluating what a puppy will be like when they grow up.

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Malinois are quick learners and eager to do whatever dog owners ask of them. They excel at obedience, tracking, agility, flyball, herding, etc. Trainers describe them as having a high “play drive,” which means that they love to play and about anything you ask them to do is play to them.

Let’s see male vs. female Belgian Malinois differences in temperament.

Male Malinois

Male Belgian Malinois are often considered to be bolder and more fun-loving. Casual dog owners would probably prefer their laid-back nature and more patient attitude when it comes to strangers and other dogs.

While the breed is known for being energetic, males are often the more spirited of the two, so expect them to be rowdier, clumsier, and generally more chaotic. Males are known to be more hard-headed, requiring firmer and steadier guidance from their owners and trainers.

Male Malinois can be aggressive with other males. They can also be quite territorial when it comes to their homes and can be equally territorial towards their owner. Don’t be surprised if your male Mal forms a very close bond with one specific person.

Female Malinois

Female Belgian Malinois mature more quickly than males, making them more receptive and easier to train earlier on. They are also generally more alert and focused than males.

Most Mali owners agree that this mellower temperament and their smaller size make females the smarter choice for first-time owners of the breed.

Unlike males, female Malis are wearier towards strangers and other dogs. You’ll need to give them a bit more time to adjust to their surroundings when you take them to the park or on walks. They are not, however, as aggressive towards dogs of the same sex as males are.

Females usually adopt a pack mentality, causing them to be more protective about the family as a whole as opposed to playing favorites. They’re not as likely to be clingy towards one person and tend to love the family equally.

Learn more about the relationship between Belgian Malinois and children.

Trainability Differences

Malinois Dog Sit Outdoors on Green Summer Grass At TrainingMalinois Dog Sit Outdoors on Green Summer Grass At Training

The best time to start training your dog is when he/she is a puppy. Both male and female Malinois are suited to many tasks and can be trained to excel. They are very sensitive and receptive to emotions and tone of voice, so make sure not to use any rough/harsh treatment with them as they will likely rebel against this.

As soon as you bring your puppy home, you should start training them. Socialization is absolutely key with this breed. Due to their wariness of strangers, lots of socialization as a pup is key to build their character.

One of their known traits as a herding dog is nipping, biting, and chasing; it’s almost certain you will need to focus on these early on in your Belgian Malinois training. The best way is a firm and consistent training program. They also need the discipline of a training routine to meet their mental stimulation needs.

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Since these dogs are very high energy dogs, they will probably need at least 90 minutes of exercise every day. They also need to be integrated into an active outdoor lifestyle. Their exercise sessions are best split up into at least 3×30 minute sessions. This helps to mimic their natural behavior when herding.

The Malinois needs to be actively engaged with his owner, both mentally and physically. This is not a dog who can be left in the backyard, and daily walks are not enough, like with the poodle, for example.

Exercise, and plenty of it, preferably side by side with his owner, is paramount to the breed’s happiness. Malinois make great running, hiking, and biking companions, and they excel at agility, tracking, herding, obedience, etc.

They need to be constantly stimulated, allowed regular exercise, and, most importantly, need to be properly trained with a firm hand. Let’s check whether the male vs. female Belgian Malinois is better for trainability.

Male Malinois

During their juvenile phase, owners will probably have difficulty drawing their attention and keeping them focused, increasing the time and effort needed for training.

They will always be ready and excited for the next task you give them, but they might be too fidgety to concentrate on your commands. Also, while in public, other dogs and small animals can easily distract them.

Female Malinois

Since female Malinois reach maturity sooner than males, they are a lot more efficient to train as they can absorb more at a younger age.

They’re also known to be more sensitive towards their owners and are better at keeping their focus, making females the easier choice for obedience training and dog shows.

Male Vs. Female Malinois – Socialization

Malinois Dog with his owner outdoorsMalinois Dog with his owner outdoors

Like every dog, these dogs need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they are young. Socialization helps ensure that your Malinois puppy grows up to be a great family dog.

As natural herders, the Belgian Malinois may be inclined to exhibit herding behavior towards other dogs and small children.

Male Malinois can be aggressive towards other males (Doberman, Retriever, Pit bull, etc.). So if you want more than one male dog to live in your household, you’ll want to consider either neutering your dog after he’s matured or raising him in such a way that he regularly socializes with other male dogs, so he becomes more accustomed to it.

On the other hand, there are no such problems with female dog breeds of any kind.

Female Malinois are a bit more cautious about meeting other dogs. But that’s not to say that they’re free from same-sex aggression. So if you have another female dog in the house, it’s best if there’s a wide age gap between them or that you introduce the female Mal as a pup.

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Inviting visitors over regularly and taking your pup to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help them polish their social skills.

Also, be careful with these dogs and small children. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping, or try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how loving, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Are Belgian Malinois Good Family Dogs?

 Belgian Shepherd dog Malinois lying indoors on a brown couch Belgian Shepherd dog Malinois lying indoors on a brown couch

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about these dogs. The answer is: absolutely yes! If they are chosen for the right family, they will prove to be fantastic family dogs. This breed is ideal for an active family looking for a dog that can join in with enthusiasm.

In the context of male vs. female Belgian Malinois as family dogs, they are both equally good family dogs. But you need to know that the Malinois is not your typical family dog.

It’s true the breed is intelligent, beautiful, and loving. These attributes make them great family dogs. What people also need to know is that they are extremely hard working.

The best type of owner or family for this breed is one that is ready to play and work with their furry friend. For example, a morning run with some tricks along the way would be a great way to start the day.

After a break, the Malinois will likely be ready to tackle the next order of business. This could mean a ride in the car to his owner’s workplace or a trip to a field or dog park for more active work/playtime.

Are Belgian Malinois Good With Children?

little boy playing with puppies belgian shepherd malinoislittle boy playing with puppies belgian shepherd malinois

Some dogs are very gentle and tolerant of all children, while others make better companions for older children. The safest dog for children is one who is raised with them from a very young age. However, a dog raised without children can be carefully socialized and taught how to behave around them.

Children need to be careful not to scare a dog during the early phases of socialization, and they need to be taught not to tease a dog. This involves careful supervision with any dog. Often, children are not even aware they are teasing when holding a cookie just out of the dog’s reach. Adult supervision is vitally important to assure the safety of the child and the well-being of the dog.

Any young children should always be supervised around the dog. Some families with Belgian Malinois and small children have to develop a special way of moving through the house with the kid. Not because the dog is mean but that it has so much energy and is easily excitable that it can easily knock the child down.

In the context of male vs. female Belgian Malinois, it’s vital that you know how dogs of the breed usually act around children if you are planning on introducing a Mali to a house with kids.

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Belgian Malinois have seemingly limitless amounts of energy. Add this to the fact that the males of the breed are known for being rowdy, and you’ve got a potentially 80-pound beast darting around your house or lawn. There is always a chance that they could run into a kid at home and cause injury.

They also love to bite things even when playing, so they could end up nipping at a child while horsing around. In the end, it all boils down to proper training.

Belgian Malinois are smart dogs, and as long as you have the time and dedication to train them, they can become great family pets. However, males might just make it a little bit harder.


A female Mali’s lower energy level, coupled with their pack mentality, makes them better suited to being around young children at home.

They may not have the same drive as males do when it comes to playing around, but at least you won’t have to worry as much about your dog bulldozing one of your kids out of excitement.

And since they’re easier to train and better at staying focused, you will have a better shot at teaching them to do away with their biting reflex while they’re still young.

Several Things Children Should Never Do To A Belgian Malinois

Teach your children not to do the following:

• Kids should never pull on the Belgian Malinois’ tail or other body parts. Every dog has its limits. Pulling on them could easily be the line in the sand that kids shouldn’t cross.

• Don’t wake the dog suddenly from sleep. A Belgian Malinois startled by a leaping child might not know what’s going on and do something they would both regret.

• Never throw things or yell at the dog. Belgian Malinois do not respond well to aggression.

• Don’t tease the dog with treats. Children shouldn’t show a treat to the dog and then take it away or, worse, pop it into their own mouth. This will lead to frustration, which is never a good emotion in any canine.

Health Differences

young Malinois Dog lying on the grassyoung Malinois Dog lying on the grass

Most purebred dogs are prone to developing specific illnesses based on their breed, and the Belgian Malinois is no different.

Belgian Malinois, in general, are prone to developing hip and elbow dysplasia at some point in their lives, which is when the bones in their hip or elbow joints don’t line up properly, leading to pain and discomfort.

Males of the breed are more susceptible to developing and exacerbating these conditions because of their larger size and heavier build since this leads to more wear and tear on their joints.

Thanks to their smaller and more lightweight frame, healthy female Malinois are less likely to develop hip and elbow dysplasia. And even if they do, it’s easier to manage the condition and keep it from worsening.

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Dysplasia aside, both male and female Belgian Malinois are equally at risk of developing cataracts, pannus, progressive retinal atrophy, and hemangiosarcoma. They’re also susceptible to obesity, so it’s imperative that you watch their weight and feed them healthy dog food.

Not all Malinois will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

See Also: Homemade Dog Food For Belgian Malinois Benefits (+Recipe)

Should I Get A Male Or Female Belgian Malinois?

beautiful Malinois Belgian Shepherd dog sitting on the grassbeautiful Malinois Belgian Shepherd dog sitting on the grass

Before you buy (or adopt) a new dog, there are a few important things to consider that can help you determine the best possible gender for you.

Male Belgian Malinois often bond closely with one person. Their adventurous quality makes them more sociable with people and other dogs in public. If you are looking for a dog who will guard your house and other property – a male Malinois is perfect for you.

Another consideration when choosing the gender of your Malinois pup is whether there are other dogs in the house. Often a male dog with a female is more compatible than trying to encourage two or more territorial males to live together harmoniously.

If you want your male Belgian Malinois to get along with your feline friend or other furry little animals, your best bet is to introduce him to the animal as a pup and raise them together.

Female Malinois have a calmer demeanor, which is better for younger, more delicate children. Their quick maturity rate allows them to be trained and housebroken sooner. They are more protective of their owner while in public, but don’t worry – they tend to love all family members equally.

As for cats and other animals, female Malis have the same hunting instinct as males, but there’s a better chance that they’ll listen to their owners, given their more receptive nature.

After considering all the differences between a male and female Belgian Malinois, it should be easier to pick which gender is right for you.

To Sum Up

Cute Belgian Shepherd DogCute Belgian Shepherd Dog

As a quick learner, this breed is eager to please and is sure to demonstrate consistent progress in all of its obedience and agility tasks. Nowadays, this breed is used for many different purposes.

Whether these dogs are participating in sports or have the job of protecting their family, be certain that with the right amount of structure, love, obedience training, attention, and overall interaction towards their owner(s), your dog will be nothing short of a miraculous Malinois that will be the perfect fit for fun with your family!

Whether you choose a male or a female Malinois, you should know that both of them are great family dogs, good with children, perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities, as long as they are properly socialized, of course.

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Male Vs. Female Belgian Malinois The Key DifferencesMale Vs. Female Belgian Malinois The Key Differences

Male Vs. Female Belgian Malinois: The Key DifferencesMale Vs. Female Belgian Malinois: The Key Differences

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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