Belgian Malinois are highly active dogs that were originally bred for herding.
They have a strong prey drive which can sometimes lead them to chase cats or other small animals. However, sometimes Belgian Malinois can get along well with cats.
Every dog is an individual, so your Belgian Malinois’ ability to get along with cats will come down to their personality, socialization and training.
Like most dogs, it can be possible to train Belgian Malinois puppies to get along with cats. As dogs age, they tend to become set in their ways, and it may be more difficult to get them accustomed to cats.
This post will help to answer your questions surrounding Belgian Malinois’ compatibility with cats and how to introduce them to cats.
Are Belgian Malinois Good With Cats?
In general, Belgian Malinois are not seen as a breed that get along well with cats.
This is mostly due to their herding nature. When they see a cat, they see something that needs to be herded and chased.
Because they are highly prey driven, they may also see a cat in the same way they see a squirrel which means that they will want to chase it and corner it.
This can obviously cause a lot of turmoil in a home with both of these pets. You would likely spend a lot of time and energy keeping the cat and dog separate and ensuring that the cat wasn’t being chased or harmed.
This is not to say that it is impossible for Belgian Malinois to get along with cats. It is definitely possible, especially if a Belgian Malinois puppy is raised with a cat right from the time you bring them home.
In general, it is easier to introduce puppies to new animals and people than it is to introduce adult dogs to new things.
Are Belgian Malinois Adults Or Puppies Better With Cats?
This can be a bit of a complicated question.
A Belgian Malinois puppy that is raised with a cat is likely to grow up to be an adult dog that can tolerate that cat.
Puppies in general are more adaptable to new things, especially during the ages of 8-16 weeks. Puppies are very playful, so the puppy may try to play with a cat and depending on the cat, that could go well or poorly.
An adult Belgian Malinois that has never interacted with cats before is not likely to do well in the presence of a cat.
For example, if you have had a Belgian Malinois as the single pet in your home for 5 years and suddenly bring home a kitten, the dog is likely to chase that cat and treat it as either prey, or something to herd.
How to Train Adult Belgian Malinois to Like Cats
When training your Belgian Malinois to like cats, you don’t just want to put them in a room with a cat right off the bat.
This will likely not go well and will be very stressful for the cat.
Keep Them Separate At First
If you bring a cat into your home with your adult Belgian Malinois, be sure to keep them separate at first.
Keep them in opposite rooms or areas of the house with doors shut between them. They will still be able to smell each other, and the goal here is to get them used to each other’s smell without them being in the same room.
Feed Them on Opposite Sides of a Closed Door
After you have left the pets separate for several days, you can try feeding them on opposite sides of a door.
You should do this for several days until they go straight for their food without sniffing by the door to smell the other animal.
This helps them to associate the presence of the other pet with positive things like food, which should relieve stress around the other pet’s presence.
Face to Face Meetings With Baby Gate
Once they have been eating calmly on opposite sides of the door for several days, you can try having a face-to-face meeting with a baby gate.
The baby gate will act as a barrier in case anything goes wrong, and you should also keep your Belgian Malinois on a leash at this time.
Belgian Malinois are very athletic and could easily jump the gate if they wanted to get at the cat. Hopefully this will not be an issue, but it is best to be prepared.
If either animal expresses any aggression, take them away from the other pet immediately. If the animals calmly sniff at each other, or even don’t really interact, reward them with treats.
Face to Face Meeting In Common Area
If all goes well with the meetings with a baby gate, you can start to let the two pets interact together in a common area with no gate.
For the first few sessions, it is still best to keep your Belgian Malinois on a leash.
If the pets interact calmly, or don’t interact at all, this is positive. Remember to remove the pets from the common area the moment there is any aggression.
Proceed With Caution
Provided that everything goes well, and you don’t feel that your Belgian Malinois will be aggressive, you can proceed to let the pets roam free in the house.
It is a good idea to separate pets when you are not there to supervise. Have them in different parts of the house or on different floors of the house.
Tip: Sanctuary Space
It is a good idea to have a sanctuary space for each pet. This is a place they can go that they are familiar and comfortable with.
For dogs, this is usually going to be their crate. Many dogs, when properly crate trained, treat their crate as their den and will return to it if they are stressed or overwhelmed.
For cats, a sanctuary space could be anywhere in the house. Cats may have a bed that they like, a cat tree where they can be high up and away from the dog, or even a space in a closet or a favorite cardboard box. As long as they have a space that they can relax in, it doesn’t really matter where the space is.
When it comes to Belgian Malinois and cats, the cat is likely to be the pet that will become stressed, however these things can go either way!
How to Train a Belgian Malinois Puppy to Like Cats
If you are training your Belgian Malinois puppy to get along with cats, you are going to follow all of the steps listed above.
In general, puppies are much more adaptable to new things than adult dogs. You may find that a puppy would be much more naturally curious and less stressed by a cat than an adult dog would be.
The cat may choose to have nothing to do with the puppy, and in many cases that is okay. Usually when a puppy grows up in a house with a cat, even if they do not interact much the puppy will not bother the cat.
Keep Them on a Leash
Remember that even though your Belgian Malinois puppy is small, they can still do damage to a cat. During all initial meetings, keep your Belgian Malinois puppy on a leash and under control.
As They Grow
As puppies grow, they can be really rambunctious, and many puppies do not realize how big they are getting.
If you get lucky and your Belgian Malinois puppy gets along with your cat and they play together, you should still keep a close eye on all of their interactions.
Because puppies grow so fast, they often don’t realize how strong they are. Their play style at 8 weeks vs at 4 months of age is going to be very different, and what used to be acceptable could harm the cat.
Hopefully, your cat and Belgian Malinois puppy will continue to get along, but make sure to supervise their interactions and separate them when you are not able to keep an eye on them.
How To Train Your Belgian Malinois With Peace Of Mind:
If you haven’t trained your Belgian Malinois properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!
And in most cases it’s still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Belgian Malinois completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.
And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!
So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!
(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)
What You Should Avoid Doing
When it comes to introducing cats and dogs, it can be a very delicate process! Here are some things that you should avoid that will make your process smoother.
Face to Face Meetings Right Away
Under no circumstances should you let your Belgian Malinois meet a cat right away without first taking all of the steps listed above.
This will usually not go well and could end up being really dangerous for your cat. If your Belgian Malinois has no experience with cats, they are likely to see the cat right away as something they should chase. Belgian Malinois are on average between 45-65 pounds and could do a lot of damage to a 15-pound cat.
Make sure to slowly introduce them by having them first in separate rooms, eating on both sides of a closed door and then letting them meet on opposite sides of a baby gate.
Never Force Them to Interact
No matter what, you should not force your two pets to interact.
Under no circumstances should you pick up your cat and hold it near to your Belgian Malinois (puppy or adult) in an attempt to foster friendship.
This could go bad very quickly and can be dangerous for both pets and for you. It is likely that your Belgian Malinois could lunge at the cat.
This could cause your cat to try to scramble out of your hold and cover you in scratches, and the cat could be hurt by the Belgian Malinois.
Avoid Restraining Your Dog by Holding It
During the first several initial meetings, you should endeavor to keep your dog on a leash.
This is the best idea because you will be able to maintain control if anything goes wrong.
One of the worst things you can do is to grab your dog into your arms to restrain it if it lunges for the cat.
Belgian Malinois are large, powerful dogs and you will likely get hurt if you try this method. Also, restraining them this way will most likely aggravate them and escalate the situation.
If you experience unwanted behavior from either pet during interactions, avoid yelling or getting yourself wound up.
Instead, try your best to remove each pet from the situation as calmly as possible. This is where leashing comes in handy again – you will be able to maintain better control and yelling at your pet shouldn’t be necessary.
When you yell at your dog especially, you often just excite them more and create more tension. It rarely gives way to a good result and should be avoided.
Until you are completely sure that your Belgian Malinois will not harm the cat, avoid unsupervised interactions.
The adjustment period can range from weeks to months and depends on the dog’s temperament.
Make sure to always supervise your pets and put them in different areas of the house when you cannot supervise.
For the most part, if you get a Belgian Malinois puppy and it grows up with a cat in the house, it will be able to get along just fine with the cat.
Unfortunately, some Belgian Malinois never learn to get along with a cat and this can be problematic for everyone in the household.
This is mostly due to their breed and herding instincts. Even though Belgian Malinois are very playful, active and loyal, their herding instincts may prevent them from doing well with a cat.
If you have a cat already and are planning on getting a Belgian Malinois, be sure to take all the necessary steps to get the puppy used to the cat. You may even need to get help from a professional trainer.
If you have a Belgian Malinois in the home already, the general advice would be to refrain from getting a cat. Of course, all dogs are individuals, and it may work out, but due to their high prey drive Belgian Malinois are often not a good match for cats.