belgian shepherd malinois breed information


common health issues

The retina lines the back of the eye and is responsible for transmitting visual stimulus to the brain. Retinal dysplasia is a malformation of the retina which can range from mild retinal folds to severe dysplasia with detachment of the retina and blindness. Visually impaired dogs generally adapt to life well due to their keen sense of smell.

Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.

The retina is responsible for transmitting light to the brain where it is interpreted as an image. PRA causes deterioration of retinal cells and causes blindness. It can affect puppies as young as a few weeks old, or may appear later in life. There is no treatment or cure, but blind dogs usually can lead quite happy lives.

Pannus or chronic superficial keratitis is a progressive eye disease thought to be caused by an inappropriate immune response. It commonly affects both eyes. Medical treatment can often be successful in controlling it but the condition is life-long.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

The Malinois is one of four varieties of sheepdogs that originated in Belgium. The varieties (Tervuren, Groenendael, Laekenois, and Malinois) are considered to be one breed in other parts of the world, including Belgium, but here in the United States, they are recognized individually. Only the Groenendael, Tervuren and Malinois are allowed to show through the American Kennel Club, but the Laekenois is sure to follow suit soon. The Malinois differs from the other varieties in that he has a short coat and comes from the city of Malines.

The Belgian sheepdogs originated in the 1800s and were developed to be true shepherds. They were found to be very versatile, so in addition to their shepherding duties, they also served with the police and border patrol, and worked as message carriers and machine gun pullers during the World Wars.

The Belgian Malinois makes a good family dog, though given his shepherding instincts, he is often wary of strangers. They are an intelligent breed and learn quickly. Like the other varieties of Belgian Shepherds, they are happiest when they have a job to do and thrive with daily physical and mental exercise.

Despite their hardworking heritage, Malinois are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Malinois are prone to include eye conditions such as pannus, cataracts, retinal dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy; and joint problems such as hip dysplasia.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Belgian Malinois inherits his mom’s bad eyes or his dad’s bad hips, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)