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.