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Old 12-09-2009, 03:34 AM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
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Default Belhian Malinois

I've been pretty interested in this breed for a while, I like how versatile and driven they seem. But as far as I know they are definetly not for everyone. I knwo a few people on here have first hand experience with them so figured I may as well ask.

How are they generally with strangers? I gather they are protective but do they remain reserved even after introductions?

Is there a tendancy towards DA?

How are they generally with other animals? Cats/Horses etc

Do they act very differently when out and about as opposed to when they are at home with they're family?

How much experience would you suggest an owner have before taking one on?

What are the more common health issues in the breed?

How trainable are they really? How much do they make you work for them to work?

When are they at their happiest?

What are they're excercise requirements?

How "hard" are they generally? Buster falls apart if you give him a dirty look, Sophie couldn't give a crap if you knocked her down.

How many different sports could you fairly stretch them to train for? I've never trained a dog to compete but am interested in trying out a lot of different things in future. Not planning on a Mal for my next dog but just thought I'd put in some research because I can.

Anything else? Stories? Warnings? Pictures?
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:35 AM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
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And I spelt the name wrong in the title... go mags... someone can change that if they want.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:56 AM
Jynx Jynx is offline
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Malinois is one of my fav breeds)
I have quite a few friends with them and this is what I have observed:

Your first 3 Q's, I'd say it depends on the dog, depends on how you've socialized trained

I would suggest a new owner have TONS of experience before getting one, (I always recommend rescue for a first time mal owner/as in older dog)

For the most part they are high energy, like a border collie on crack) they are quick reactors, and again, it pays to do your homework , know what your getting into, and be prepared to devote alot of time to one.

A trainer friend who has two told me once,," A german shepherd will "think" before it dives into something, a malinois will just dive and then think about it."

They can be great compact do it all dogs IF you know what your doing.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrose_s View Post
How are they generally with strangers? I gather they are protective but do they remain reserved even after introductions?

Is there a tendancy towards DA?

How are they generally with other animals? Cats/Horses etc

Do they act very differently when out and about as opposed to when they are at home with they're family?

It really depends somewhat on the individual dog and somewhat on the training and socializing that's done. They're pretty comparable to a GSD in terms of how they are with strangers and other animals.

How much experience would you suggest an owner have before taking one on?

I suggest the owner have a fair amount of experience and also to go to a good breeder or malinois rescue and be completely honest about your experience and abilities and needs so they can match you up with a suitable dog. Tyr is pretty easy. Nyx is a huge challenge for me, and I had considered myself experienced prior to getting her. Everything the malinois does is going to be FAST and so it helps if you can predict things a little bit. Experience should be with high drive, high energy working dogs. Before getting a malinois, I would seriously suggest having a solid plan for training and getting the dog involved in a sport. They need a good outlet.

What are the more common health issues in the breed?

They do remain a fairly healthy breed, but too many breeders take advantage of that and don't do sufficient testing. The biggest issues are probably hips and elbows, but I haven't really looked into it completely. They should also have their eyes, hearts and thyroids checked.

How trainable are they really? How much do they make you work for them to work?

They are very handler oriented and mine are very tuned into me and my wants. They're extremely trainable, always ready and willing to go do something. Training them to not do something can be a bit more challenging. They aren't a very forgiving breed. If you make training mistakes with them, you'll know it! I don't find that I need to work hard to get them to work, but I do need to work hard to satisfy their drive and energy needs.

When are they at their happiest?

When they're with their people and have a toy in their mouth.

What are they're excercise requirements?

Quite a bit. Although mine would rather be on the couch with me than running around somewhere without me, if they don't get daily exercise, they get very creative in finding outlets. They don't tire out easily, but also when they do get tired, they don't quit! They should have a good chance to run or swim or hike or something equivalent several days a week. And the other days, at least a good long walk and game of fetch. Also mental stimulation is very important -- training, hide and seek games, etc.

How "hard" are they generally? Buster falls apart if you give him a dirty look, Sophie couldn't give a crap if you knocked her down.

It varies a lot from one individual dog to the next. That would be something to discuss with whoever you get the dog from.

How many different sports could you fairly stretch them to train for? I've never trained a dog to compete but am interested in trying out a lot of different things in future. Not planning on a Mal for my next dog but just thought I'd put in some research because I can.

They're very versatile. They're able to do obedience, agility, tracking, herding, disc dog, dock diving, bird dog, protection sports and probably more. The only real limit would be size -- I wouldn't go trying to get them doing earth dog stuff.

Anything else? Stories? Warnings? Pictures?
There's a reason they're called melon heads. They tend to be a breed that will jump into something and then figure out how to get out of it later. Their bodies tend to move slightly faster than their brains, which can be highly amusing when they do things like fall off a curb and can be very scary when they literally end up doing somersaults.

I would very much suggest finding ways to see some in person -- go to trials, go visit breeders -- and seeing what's out there. There's a lot of variation in size and in temperament, so you really want to have a good idea of the different lines and what you're likely to get.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:25 PM
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Thanks CP, thats really helpful. They still sound like awesome dogs.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:32 PM
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They are awesome dogs. As long as you're prepared for them.

And if you like having your house redecorated daily, free landscaping and body piercing.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:40 PM
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I've met a few at my SchH club...they are quite the characters. The ones I've met seem very biddable and ready to do anything...but have you ever seen "Over the Hedge"? Think of the squirrel (Hammie?) in that when he drinks the energy drink...yeah that's about how they move.

The ones I've met are from reputable breeders and were all pretty social. I wouldn't want to break into their house, but on the field they were friendly enough. (They were training for Mondio or French Ring btw) it seems they need a lot of exercise and are pretty hyper-active, so it depends on if you like that.

I would go with an excellent breeder or a rescue so you don't end up with a nerve-bag "Mal-igator".

I remember reading something someone posted on another forum explaining the difference between a GSD and a Malinois, it went something like:

Give a GSD a command to get something behind a fence, he will find a way around it or over to get to his objective. Give a Mal the same command and he'll plow right through the fence for the objective.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACampbell0304 View Post
Give a GSD a command to get something behind a fence, he will find a way around it or over to get to his objective. Give a Mal the same command and he'll plow right through the fence for the objective.
There seems to be a few variations on that concept.
The one I've heard is:

If you throw a tennis ball off a cliff, if you have a malinois, you'll have a dead malinois. If you have a GSD, he'll find a way down the cliff, get the ball, find a way up the cliff, drop it at your feet and look at you like "throw it the other way next time!"
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:14 PM
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Good info CP!

I've only seen a few Mals. 2 were very well trained and very in tune with their handlers. Everything was fast, obedience was snappy. They other was a younger rescue and the handler was a jackass so I won't hold that against the dog.

If you go the rescue route make sure you can see what lines the dog comes from. There are some very tough Mal lines out there, ones that can have a tendency to handler aggression and other issues that you might not want to deal with.

One of the Mals I knew was a guy who I train with. She had a bad habit of jumping his 6' fence to chase rabbits, and got hit by a car. She was an awesome dog. One thing he told me, is because most have so much prey drive, they are often low on defense, which means they will not necessarily be as protective as a dog that has more defense drive. He has been around a lot of dogs and has even heard of dogs being stolen at trials because they had little suspicion towards anyone. People would walk right up to the crate, open it up, hook up the dog to a leash, and walk off. The other nice Mal I knew belonged to an older lady, she was doing some pretty advanced training with hers, but when it was go time, the dog failed her. Someone who had done construction at her house climbed the fence and jumped in her pool to cool off. When she confronted the guy, he started to approach her in a somewhat menacing way, enough that she wanted her dog to intervene. The dog didn't do anything, because the environment was her home and she'd never done any training with the dog at home. Anyone who came in the yard was trusted. She was never able to train that out of the dog. A beast on the protection field, and a pushover at home.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:25 PM
AGonzalez AGonzalez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
There seems to be a few variations on that concept.
The one I've heard is:

If you throw a tennis ball off a cliff, if you have a malinois, you'll have a dead malinois. If you have a GSD, he'll find a way down the cliff, get the ball, find a way up the cliff, drop it at your feet and look at you like "throw it the other way next time!"
LOL yes, I like that one better, I'll remember that.

I'd love to have a Mal personally, I think they are some great dogs.
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