German Shepherd vs Belgian Malinois

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
12 to 14 years
Size:

Large

Maintenance Level:

High

Shed Level:

Very High

Best For

German Shepherds are best for active households and experienced pet parents who are ready to train this highly-active pup.

German Shepherd Temperament

Born guardians, the German Shepherd’s best trait is their intense, unwavering loyalty to their families. (There’s a reason they make some of the best police dogs.) The fearless breed has also been known to put themselves in harm’s way before they let a family member get hur...

Born guardians, the German Shepherd’s best trait is their intense, unwavering loyalty to their families. (There’s a reason they make some of the best police dogs.) The fearless breed has also been known to put themselves in harm’s way before they let a family member get hurt.

Not surprisingly, friendliness is not the German Shepherd dog breed’s strong suit. They can be aloof, and you definitely have to earn their trust. Naturally wary of strangers, a German Shepherd will default to “guard dog mode” if they believe their family is in danger.

Early social interactions with kids, babies and other animals is also important if you want your German Shepherd to be well-behaved around guests. With the proper education, this easy-to-train pup can be a great family dog.

German Shepherds are born talkers. They will bark when they’re bored, and they’ll bark to alert you if something isn’t quite right. But training and exercise can help curb a lippy pup and keep their barking to when you need it the most.

These dogs are incredibly smart, and they are at their best when they have a job to do, whether working as a police or military dog, doing tracking or search and rescue, serving as a guide dog or at home practicing scent work or solving puzzles for a treat. And when they’re with their family, German Shepherds will let their silly side show as they flip their toys in the air and roll around on their backs.

German Shepherd Traits

Friendliness
Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Playfulness
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
14 to 16 years
Size:

Large

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

High

Best For

The Belgian Malinois is best for very active and athletic people with solid dog parenting experience. Older kids who respect this dog's boundaries are a must, as is a roomy home with outdoor space but...

The Belgian Malinois is best for very active and athletic people with solid dog parenting experience. Older kids who respect this dog's boundaries are a must, as is a roomy home with outdoor space but without cats or other dogs.

Belgian Malinois Temperament

The Belgian Malinois’ personality is as spirited as they come, making them a good fit for pet parents who love to be on the go. Ready to toil tirelessly at any task, a Mal dog has a strong work ethic and is quick to respond to their human’s cue...

The Belgian Malinois’ personality is as spirited as they come, making them a good fit for pet parents who love to be on the go. Ready to toil tirelessly at any task, a Mal dog has a strong work ethic and is quick to respond to their human’s cues and commands.

The Belgian Malinois’ intelligence sets them apart, and their competency is a big reason why this herding breed is hardly ever unemployed. Originally, the Malinois served as a watchdog on farms and ranches, though today their career opportunities have expanded into public service. In fact, you almost want to salute these pups as they join search and rescue missions alongside the police and military.

While their possessive nature and a high tendency to bite (they have a powerful bite force) make them great guard dogs, it’s wise to supervise children around this breed. If you’d like to mix a Belgian Malinois with kids and babies in your home, know that compatibility rests heavily on early and consistent training and socialization, as well as a solid understanding of this breed’s disposition. Other animals, strangers and sudden movements could startle this alert, watchful canine. Know too that the Belgian Malinois dog breed has a naturally high prey drive, which means they’ll chase moving objects (think toddlers, cars, cats and other dogs), so a firm hand and lots of obedience lessons are critical.

Raising a Belgian Malinois puppy is indeed rewarding, in part because their intelligence and trainability make them a joy to teach. If you select this breed as your own, you’ll quickly see why their reliability and razor-sharp smarts are prized by so many.

Belgian Malinois Traits

Friendliness
Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Playfulness
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents
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