Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

When it comes to the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd, what is the difference between the breeds?

Although the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd have similar appearances and some of the same abilities, there are a few differences that you want to consider before making a decision as to which dog would be the right one for your family.

Take a look at each dog and what it has to offer. Consider the dynamics of your household as well as the time that you have to train the dog that you bring into your home.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd


The American Kennel Club, or AKC, generates a list of the top breeds of dogs each year. For several years, the German Shepherd has ranked second. The rank seems to be locked in place because the dog has a gentle nature while delivering strength and athletic abilities.

On the same list is the Belgian Malinois. This dog ranks around the 50th spot. When looking at the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is beginning to gain some popularity among dog owners, but the German Shepherd is still at the top of the list.

AKC rankings can sometimes play a part in how much you might spend on a dog, so keep this in mind when talking to breeders.


As you look at the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd sizes, you will notice that both dogs are large animals.

Adult German Shepherds weigh between 50 and 70 pounds if they are females and up to 90 pounds if they are males. These numbers can fluctuate depending on the activity of the dog and the diet. Most German Shepherds stand close to 24 inches tall.

The Belgian Malinois is a few pounds smaller than a German Shepherd. A male usually reaches about 80 pounds while a female will grow to be about 50 to 60 pounds. The height of the dog is about the same as the German Shepherd. The main difference that you will see when looking at the size is that the German Shepherd is often heavier.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

Grooming Tips

As a pet owner, you will probably take your pet to have it groomed or even give your dog a bath at home.

When you look at the coat of a Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd, you’ll notice that the German Shepherd has a double layer of protection to keep it warm. The outer layer does shed seasonally, usually in the fall and winter months. It could take some time to bathe a German Shepherd as well because the outer layer is water repellent.

Weekly grooming is almost necessary in order to keep the coat neat and to remove loose hairs. If you give a bath too often, then the natural oils of the skin can begin to make the coat of the German Shepherd appear dull.

The Belgian Malinois also has a thick coat and usually requires grooming at least once a week. This dog does shed more than the German Shepherd, which is something you want to keep in mind if you plan on keeping the dog inside your home.

Another difference is that the Belgian Malinois has deeper ears and should be examined for wax buildup as well as mites and other debris that can get down into the ear canal.

Energy And Temperament

Looking at the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd, you won’t see a big difference in temperament or energy levels. They are bright dogs that enjoy doing what they can to offer pleasure to their owners.

Both dogs are loyal and easy to train as long as you are consistent. They are protective of their owners, which is why many German Shepherds are used in the security field and in the military. You will need to commit to a few hours of training each week if possible so that your dog understands what you expect and so that you gain the trust of your dog.

If you’re considering the energy levels of the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd, then the German Shepherd might be better suited for your family if you want a companion with lower energy levels.

The German Shepherd was once used to herd sheep and still has the herding instinct. This dog has a high mental capability, making it one that is often more of a relaxed family member while still offering protection instead of one that jumps and plays all the time.

If you want a dog that has a lot of energy, then consider the Belgian Malinois. Although used for herding as well, the Belgian Malinois is accustomed to herding cattle, sheep, and other livestock that don’t always pay attention to where they are going. This means that the Belgian Malinois often needs higher energy levels to ensure that the animals get to their designated area.

Ultimately, the Belgian Malinois is very social and enjoys a lot of movement in the home or outside.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd


Any dog that you get will require some type of training if you don’t want your pet to destroy your home or harm someone.

When looking at training for the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd, you will see that both require intensive training in order to socialize well with other people. Because of their high intelligence, however, training is often easier with both these breeds compared to that of other dogs.

These dogs don’t adjust well to dominant training. They are confident and loyal, which means that they understand commands well and can be easily taught how to do the things that you desire without being forceful with the training delivered. Positive reinforcement works well with both the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd.


The health of the Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd is something that you should keep in mind if you want a pet that will live for several years.

There are a few issues that tend to develop with both dogs as they age including hip and elbow dysplasia. You can have a veterinarian perform testing to determine if there is a risk for these issues in your dog before you bring the animal into your home.

German Shepherds often develop allergies and diabetes as they age while the Belgian Malinois is susceptible to diabetes and cancer as the most common ailments that impact them in life.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: What is right for you?

Think about the positive aspects of each dog before you make a final decision. There are several benefits of each dog that would make both a nice addition to your family. However, keep in mind the energy levels of each one as well as possible health issues that could arise.

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