To The Dogs—Canine Advice Column

Lights, Camera, Action!

Learn the truth about the Belgian Malinois from the movie “Dog.”

By Hilton Butler

Dog trainers can confirm: anytime a dog breed is thrown into the spotlight by a popular movie or television show it causes a surge in the breeds popularity.  When Shiloh came out, Beagles became all the rage, Beethoven brought out St. Bernards, and with John Wick 3 and Dog hitting the big screen recently this year, here comes the Malinois. Unlike the other breeds I mentioned earlier, the Malinois is a whole different level of dog. When clients ask me about the breed, I jokingly tell them Malinois is French for “Don’t get one!”

What is a Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois is a medium dog similar in looks to the German Shephard. They are one of four related Belgian Shepherd dogs; the Tervuren, Groenendael, and Laekenois are the other three. These breeds date back to the 1800s; the Malinois is named after the city Malines, where the breed was first developed. The Belgian Malinois was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1959, but these dogs came to the United States earlier and were utilized during World War I.

These dogs are extremely intense and have been specifically bred for their physical strength, athletic build and intelligence. These driven and skilled animals have a well-deserved reputation as being a premier breeds used for police and military work, and with good reason. They generally live 12 to 15 years and often maintain their drive to keep working until they’re physically incapable.


This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Winter 2022 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.