Living With A Belgian Malinois (Everything You Need To Know)

Belgian Malinois are beautiful dogs that were bred for herding purposes but are now mostly family pets or police dogs.

The Belgian Malinois is a large breed, weighing between 40 and 75 lbs and standing between 222-26 inches at the shoulder.

They love to be with their families and can be quite protective, which makes them great family dogs.

Can Belgian Malinois Be House Dogs?

Belgian Malinois can absolutely be house dogs. They are quite active, so they require a lot of exercise and do best in a home with a yard that is at least moderately sized.

Belgian Malinois love to spend time with their families, so if you are inside, they are likely quite happy to be inside too.

Belgian Malinois are very hardy dogs with a thick double coat, so they are accustomed to living outside. However, they are more than happy to live inside with you, provided they get lots of exercise.

What Kind of Household Will Suit a Belgian Malinois Best?

Belgian Malinois are very active, which is something to consider when thinking about getting one. They do best in households where they will get adequate exercise.

House With A Yard

The best place for a Belgian Malinois is a house with a yard – a moderately sized yard will do fine, but it would be even better if you had a larger property where your Belgian Malinois could do a lot of running.

Realistically, any yard will do as long as you are exercising your dog appropriately. Belgian Malinois need at least 40 minutes of exercise a day – this means a brisk walk or playing ball where they are running a lot.

Letting your dog into the yard won’t count toward this exercise, but it is nice for the Belgian Malinois to have easy access to the outdoors.

An Apartment

Belgian Malinois can do well in an apartment, provided that you exercise them often and can take them outside several times a day to use the bathroom.

Belgian Malinois are a large breed, so having them in a small living space may feel claustrophobic for the both of you. If your apartment has adequate space, the dog should do fine!

Since you don’t have a yard, you will have to take your dog on several walks a day to ensure that they can use the bathroom. You will also have to make sure that you are exercising them, as mentioned above, at least 40 minutes a day.

With Small Children

Each individual dog is different, but you may want to avoid getting a Belgian Malinois if you have small children.

Belgian Malinois are herding dogs and may try to herd any small children in the house. If you have toddlers who are constantly on the move, the dog would be likely to spend all day trying to herd them around.

This is something to consider but does not mean that you absolutely can’t have a Belgian Malinois if you have small kids. If you choose to get a Belgian Malinois and you do have young children, it would be a good idea to take your dog to a puppy training class to make sure that you can teach them not to herd your kids.

What is a Belgian Malinois’ Main Personality Traits?

Belgian Malinois make great family pets for an experienced owner.


Belgian Malinois are highly intelligent and excel in a variety of jobs such as police services, drug and bomb detection, search and rescue, therapy assistance for disabled or elderly people, and many more.

This intelligence is one factor that makes Belgian Malinois a great pet for someone who is very experienced with dogs.

Belgian Malinois, like many highly intelligent breeds, could become destructive if they don’t have enough mental stimulation. If they are bored, they might take to destroying your furniture and home. You have to make sure that you have adequate time to spend with your Belgian Malinois if you plan on getting one.


As a dog bred for herding, Belgian Malinois are extremely active and require a lot of exercise.

Many breeds will be happy to lay about on the couch 24/7, but Belgian Malinois are not one of them. They will be ready to walk, run and play just about any time.

Friendly With Family

Belgian Malinois are known to be very loving and affectionate with their family. Like most dogs, they quickly build a bond with their family and absolutely love to spend time with you.


Due to its herding capabilities, Belgian Malinois are often very protective of their families.

Protection can be good, to a point. If you were actually being threatened, your Belgian Malinois would likely do just about anything to keep you safe.

However, this protection can be a problem at inappropriate points. Belgian Malinois may find that they want to protect you from all unfamiliar people and dogs, which can become stressful for you if your dog is constantly barking and trying to snap at other people or dogs.

It is important to socialize your Belgian Malinois puppy early and often so that you can avoid them being hostile toward others.


Herding behaviors are not behaviors that you want to encourage from your Belgian Malinois unless you happen to have livestock!
Without livestock to herd, your Belgian Malinois may choose to herd you or your family. This can be seen as nipping at your heels, chasing you or your children, and trying to push you in a specific direction.

This behavior must be discouraged as it can make simple things like going for walks very frustrating.

Herding dogs do not nip at your heels to hurt you, but their teeth can still hurt. If your Belgian Malinois is trying to herd children, they could end up really hurting them.

It is important to discourage herding behaviors, and to work with a professional trainer if necessary, to ensure that herding behaviors don’t continue.


While the Belgian Malinois can make a fabulous family pet, they are demanding of your time and attention.

As mentioned previously, they need a ton of exercise like walking, jogging, hiking, and playing.

In general, they need a lot of attention, like petting and playing. They don’t love to be left alone and can be destructive if they get bored.

The Belgian Malinois is not a breed to consider if you just want a quiet, lazy dog to sit on the couch with!

Can Belgian Malinois Be Left Alone?

In general, the Belgian Malinois is not a dog that likes to be left alone for long periods of time.

They get bored easily, and as mentioned earlier, they can become destructive when bored.

Belgian Malinois may get separation anxiety and become upset when you leave them.

Obviously, most people have to go to work every day, so you can train your dog to be left alone. It is important to work with a trainer to get ideas about how to leave your dog home alone when you’re at work, without them being stressed and anxious.

That being said, if you work close to home and can come home at your lunch break to let your dog out and play with them, they will benefit greatly from this. If you have a long commute from work and are gone more often than you are home, having a dog may not fit your current lifestyle.

Can Belgian Malinois Live with Other Dogs?

In general, Belgian Malinois can be very territorial, protective, and jealous.

This may lead to them having issues with other dogs in your home. They may spend a lot of time trying to keep the other dog away from you and asserting dominance.

However, if you have one dog already and want to introduce a Belgian Malinois puppy, this is usually doable. Your current dog will be able to put the puppy in its place, and they shouldn’t have too many issues if the Belgian Malinois puppy grows up in a household where another dog is already established.

Belgian Malinois may not mix well with cats in the home – they may chase them and try to fight with them. Of course, there are always exceptions, and if you have a cat already established in your home, you may be able to raise a Belgian Malinois puppy alongside it without issue.

Can Belgian Malinois Live With Children?

As mentioned previously, Belgian Malinois may try to herd your small children, which can lead to a variety of problems, including stress for the children and injury.

However, if you get a Belgian Malinois puppy and raise it alongside your children and make sure to train them not to herd, you shouldn’t have any problems. The puppy will grow up with your children as its family members, and provided the puppy gets adequate training, everyone involved should do well.

If you choose to get an adult Belgian Malinois, it is a good idea to make sure that your children are old enough to understand how to properly interact with a dog.

For example, if you get an adult dog and you have a toddler, your toddler may pull the dog’s tail, scream and yell at the dog. This could really upset an adult dog and lead to some nasty situations.

If your children are older and you teach them how to interact with the dog appropriately, everything should be fine. With a little adjustment period and some training, an adult Belgian Malinois should settle into your home just fine.

It is important that every member of the family knows how to properly interact with the dog. Even a small child can be taught how to properly approach and pet the dog, which will help to avoid any problems.

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!)


The Belgian Malinois is a highly intelligent, very active breed that can do well in therapy settings, as a police dog or as a family dog.

Belgian Malinois can be a lot of work as they consistently need a lot of exercise and do not like to be left alone for long periods of time.

They also require a lot of training especially related to herding behaviors, which can be a lot of work on your part and may require the help of a dog trainer.

Belgian Malinois are very loving and affectionate toward their families but can sometimes be overly protective and may become aggressive toward other dogs or people.

If you get a Belgian Malinois puppy, it is important to socialize them as often as you can, as early as you can.

If you get a puppy, make sure to have lots of people come over to your home and visit the puppy and play with it. This will help your puppy to understand that new people in the home are not a threat.

Be sure to take your puppy on walks and let them meet other dogs and people in the street. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to take your puppy to places like pet stores and farmer’s markets. It is a great idea to bring your puppy to unfamiliar settings so that they can become comfortable outside of the home.

Belgian Malinois are usually not a great choice for first-time dog owners.

Even if you have had dogs in the past, it might be a good idea to take your puppy to dog training classes. You may learn some valuable skills, and your puppy will be able to interact with puppies of all different sizes.

Dog training classes are a great way to socialize your puppy with lots of other puppies and people.

Remember that if you get a new puppy, you are signing up to care for that dog for its life span, which for a Belgian Malinois can be up to 15 years.

If you have a family, make sure that every member of the family is ready to care for an active, demanding dog.

Belgian Malinois will make a fantastic family dog as long as they are properly trained, exercised often, and cared for properly!