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Categories: Raising a Working Puppy

Q. I like the way your dog works and I think I would like a Malinois for my next dog. What do you think?

I have had a German Shepherd for 8 years and thoroughly enjoyed him, and have loved training him. I have been able to put a toy or food over to the side and he will focus on me and work like crazy, knowing that he will eventually get it. Showing that he can engage and refocus even when there is something he wants, and he knows its just 10 feet away, in clear view. He has been un-demanding in the house, waiting until I can go out, play or train. I guess you would say he is not a demanding dog. I'm older, so this is good.

I'm thinking about getting another dog now, and wondering if a SMALL, female Belgian Malinois, might be the kind for me? I know people with Belgian Tervuren and they say their dogs never sit down, and pace! I don't think I would like a hyper or a dog with so much drive he's moving all the time. I would feel pressured. My Shepherd has all the drive anyone would want but when you don't ask for it, he chills. I like this, because he is easy to be in the house with. Lets say, he works around my schedule, I don't work around his!

I would like a smaller dog, and like the way your dog works so I decided to ask you about the breed. How is a Malinois different than a Terv?? Tell me how a Malinois acts in the house and his exercise needs. Thanks ever so much.

PS My dog is not dog or people aggressive! He is protective of our house and yard but when I let people in, he knows they are ok and is usually friendly, maybe aloof if he thinks they don't like him or if he's not sure of them but never aggressive. I like this!

A. Living with a Malinois has been discussed a LOT on our website and forum. There is much more to it than I can cover in an email. I would say that I talk most people out of getting a Malinois. They see my dogs work and think they want one, but they don’t see the road it takes to get there! It can be challenging, to say the least.

I’d recommend using the search function to find more info..

Malinois are more reactive and energetic than most German Shepherds. They have a higher exercise requirement (as a general rule) my dogs are wonderful in the house but they are a full time job… I typically don’t recommend them to people who want a dog that works around their schedule. They can be a dream but if not handled correctly they can be your worst nightmare. Based on our correspondence over the last year or so I would probably NOT recommend a Malinois for you. Malinois have MUCH more drive than the typical Terv (I’ve owned both breeds).

Maybe a smaller female GSD would suit you?

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
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