I know all to well the difference between high drive and hyperactivity. Backup is a high drive hyperactive dog, Sloan is a high drive thinker. That said NEITHER make a good pet. Can Sloan settle ? sure, take away every toy, run her for 2 hours and she'll relax for a few hours at night. She's slept with us about half the night about 4 times.
Backup however doesn't lay down by choice unless it's in between running. Given the choice he's always twitchy, ready to go, and intense. I absolutely love him. He is the most fun dog I have ever trained with, I am not alone in this analysis either, he's just fabulous in the eyes of everyone I train with even if he is to much for most people. He excels at herding as you mentioned. He has his HIC twice over and we're currently taking the summer off due to the heat but we'll start working towards his PT in the fall, my herding trainer said evaluated him to have a strong eye, a bit to much pressure for a collie but mild for the average malinois.
He is from a strict schutzhund line but he I also hold out a very rational faith he will in fact break the malinois record in U-Fli when we get a clean box turn on him. He's been harder than most dogs to train in agility but that is largely due to my other agility dog being slow and an easy handler where as Backup is much to fast for me. Backup has been to one Dock Dog competition and jumped 18.5 ft, as he gets more comfortable with water he has the body to excel like the many malinois winning nat'l titles in all three element, Big Jump, Speed Retrieve and Extreme Vertical.
Backup was born with a natural retrieve, he takes longer to learn behaviors but once he's in a position he freezes and has never needed a "stay" enforced, well that's untrue, once when Sloan was in heat Backup broke his long down during the BH routine. That said, one correction and he held his position the rest of the routine.
Backup is a very, very friendly dog. He's extremely social and holds a dislikable low level of civil behavior. I have had people tell me they could bring his civil level out for me but I've opt'd against it. He's a multipurpose sport dog and his prey drive will be plenty to get him a sch3 on a club level. Both of his parents went to in nat'ls the year he was born so maybe at some point I'll allow some civil to be brought out and try my hand there... only time will tell.
Now, the reason I gushed on and on about my dog who has his share of flaws but the positives out weigh them in thousands is because he is one of those "twitchy, never stop, bad pet" malinois and because of his always on the go behavior he excels in every single sport I have introduced him to already. This is why us crazy people would enjoy having a dog who is amazing at sports and maybe not a great pet. At home we've become so used to constant movement we barely notice it anymore. Sloan is more annoying because she throws the ball at you every 5 seconds, Backup is content to "herd" the couch with a toy in his mouth. When we watch TV the bullies are sleeping on our laps or beside us and the malinois are often outside or being ignored as they circled us incessantly.
Their training isn't always that easy either. Sloan was bred to be a happy median between high sport and pet malinois and if you take away toys she's able to calm. She is however a very civil dog, she's not a social dog often and can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. She also is an extremely pushy dog, she would walk all over a milder handler. It could be a trade off, we love having two very different malinois, and both very different than our last malinois Bounce who had had any drive she had already squelched by a sit means sit trainer. Also very different than Evee (Sloan's aunt) whom we train with in flyball, Evee has a plenty of drive but she's mild and unsure of herself. They both share a lot with Q dog (Aeri's half brother) who is extremely high drive and confrontational although the difference is he has an amazing off switch at home in his kennel.
Meh, it's all in what you want from a dog. My concern is my desire for a malinois would drive a lot of other owners batty as a pet and sometimes even as a sporting dog and I don't want people seeing the good sides of my dogs while we're playing fetch, training obed, etc and buying a malinois thinking that it's always like that. Like, my friend with Ellie (in gallery), bought because "they're so obedient and gorgeous".
I love when people are in awe of my bullies, it's a wonderful feeling, but when asked I am always careful to let them know these dogs are very dog and small animal aggressive given the choice. They've fought one another and other dogs in the past and should never be trusted alone with a high value object. Also as young dogs these dogs require a ton of work in training and exercise. Arnold needed 8 miles of running every day to calm down, Shamoo is still relatively high energy for a 13 year old dog.
I guess I feel it's about being real with your breed.
Malinois are not the first breed to do this. I love this article about Jack russells Russell Rescue, Inc. Bad Dog Talk
Badraps entire website is all about the pros and cons of the apbt http://www.badrap.org/rescue/owning.html
Are you sure you want a border collie?
A Border Collie Warning
Don't buy a rott if...
So you want to buy a Rottweiler
I didn't have time to go look for more but I'm sure plenty of other intense dogs have write ups very similar. These breeds know all-to-well their dogs can sometimes make wonderfully easy pets but more often than not they're not easy dogs and there for should come with a caution label.
I take it as a sign of love. I grew up with pit bulls and have known since as long as I can remember the horror that popularity brings a dog breed. I don't for anything want to see that happen with malinois.
Sloan von Krigbaum CGC BH CD NA NJ PD MJ-N RATI RATN 3/7/10 -
Shamoo NJ-N RATI RATN 3/1/98 -
Phelan du Loups du Soleil 6/15/13-
Arnold CGC TDI FD 6/29/04 - 07/05/13
Backup CGC HIC CD SRD SJ-N RATI 12/29/09 - 07/05/13
You were amazing, we did amazing things.
Harmony Canine, relationship based training.