Are Belgian Malinois Good Family Dogs?
[In-Depth Guide]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

A well-behaved family dog is a necessity for people with children. As a parent, one must always give a second thought to whether the breed they are bringing home is family-friendly or children-friendly. Some dogs tend to be aggressive and therefore do not make the best family pets; an ideal family dog breed will be loyal, calm, protective, and playful. If you find any of these qualities in a dog breed, only then should you consider becoming their dog owner. 

Belgian Malinois is a dog breed that came into the spotlight after the release of the movie Max. They are lovely dogs; however, they require patience and care. These dogs are known for protecting man and livestock. If trained well, Malinois becomes dedicated to their work supported by their high energy levels, physical activity, socialization, and stimulation. 

Learn A Little More About Belgian Malinois

Origin Story

We can trace the roots of the Malinois Belgian dog to Belgium. Their other names are Belgian Sheepdog and Chien De Berger Belge. We can differentiate this breed into four types due to its coat and color, but we still recognize it as a single breed. They belong to the category of Shepherd dogs that are all over the western parts of Europe. Some of this dog breed’s close relatives are Dutch Shepherd, German Shepherd, and Bouvier Des Ardennes. 


Belgian Malinois are profoundly confident and protective. They are never affectionate towards strangers; this dog breed only expresses their love to the family members, making them an excellent choice for a family dog. Since they are originally herding dogs, their guarding and watchdog skills are impeccable. As dog owners, you must be in control of their immense strength and channel it to protect your family and property. 


When it comes to the good qualities of this dog breed, Belgian Malinois easily top the list. They are hard-working, vigilant, and trainable. They can easily pick up on cues because they tend to be intelligent, attentive, and sensitive. This breed can be highly protective as a family dog, and they would always provide you with security at any cost. 

Physical Problems

As dog owners, you must know about all the health risks faced by Belgian Malinois. There is no absolute chance of your dog being affected 100 percent by any of these diseases, but you must know about them in case of emergency. 

  • Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is an inherent disease in this dog breed where the signs are pain in the legs, discomfort, and lameness. 

  • Elbow Dysplasia

In Elbow Dysplasia, the elbows’ growth rate is different, which causes discomfort due to the varying size of elbows. According to Veterinarians, you can either opt for medications or surgery to completely cure this condition. 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This condition is a degenerative eye disorder that causes blindness. It happens due to the loss of photoreceptors in the back of their eyes. 

  • Sensitivity to Anesthesia

The muscle-to-fat ratio makes Malinois extremely sensitive to anesthesia. Vets know their job well, but as dog owners, you can talk about that with them once because the death rate in these dogs has increased due to the anesthesia applied before common treatments. 

Tips For Care Taking

An ample amount of exercise is required daily to keep your Belgian Malinois active and healthy. They can adapt to hot weather, but their dog breed is better suited for cool environment. If you have kids, it is a plus point because they can match their energy levels, making them excellent family dogs. 

Family Dog Or Not?

If the right family selects this dog breed, the Belgian Malinois can be an ideal family dog. So if your family is active, filled with joy and love for animals, then this dog breed is undoubtedly your perfect match. 

How To Train A Belgian Malinois?

In comparison to other dog breeds, these dogs are relatively easy to train. These dogs have intrinsic motivation to learn, thanks to their high intelligence level, which makes them highly trainable and skillful. As dog owners, you much socialize them with your children at a young age. 

Difference Between German Shepherd And Belgian Malinois

Let’s clear the confusion between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois. Malinois are smaller in size and more aggressive than German Shepherds. Even though both have high levels of intelligence and dutiful behavior, Malinois tends to be more agile and energetic between the two. 

Leaving Them Alone

If you’re aware of separation anxiety in dogs, then you should know that leaving your pet alone is a bad idea. We suggest that you do not leave your dog alone for more than two hours, or else it will result in aggressive behavior. 

Are They Aggressive Or Dangerous? 

Belgian Malinois can turn aggressive towards children and other animals if you do not train and socialize them well during their early years. Even though they are pretty intelligent, you need to guard and handle these dogs with patience. 

They make great assistance dogs, rescue dogs, guide dogs, police dogs, and companion dogs for ages. This dog breed is also considered ideal for serving in the military forces. 


Belgian Malinois is one of the best herding dog breeds, but they also work well as a family dog. If you consider getting one, then make sure you train them correctly. You will have to socialize them with your family members, especially children, at an early stage. Do not forget to squeeze in some daily exercise with them in your schedule because it is essential to keep this dog breed healthy and happy.

We recommend that you only get a Belgian malinois if you’re not a first-time dog owner. Also, try to go for the female because they tend to be more sociable. And that’s all you need to know before making your big decision!