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Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd

Have you ever tried to recognize the difference between a Belgian Malinois VS a German shepherd? They look very similar to the inexperienced eye.

Both dogs are purebred, recognized by the American Kennel Club and almost identical in size and weight. How do they stack up and what are the differences between these races?

Differences and Similarities – Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd

In this article, we discuss how the Belgian Malinois is compared to the German Shepherd dog, including the main differences in their temperament resulting from their ancestry and their original purpose. If you understand this, you can better understand which breed of dog is more suitable for you.

So, here is the Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd…


  • Almost identical in size with both between 22 and 26 inches tall.
  • Both dogs were originally bred to the herd and therefore have a very similar temperament.
  • Both breeds are susceptible to skin and eye problems (such as cataracts and retinal atrophy).
  • They are both loyal and will own their owners. It usually leads them to stay away from strangers.
  • Both races are brave and protect their families at all costs as soon as they are connected.
  • As large intelligent dogs, both react well to positive reinforcements and the theory of dominance should be avoided.


  • German shepherd dogs have a medium-long fur, while the Belgian Malinois have a shorter thicker fur.
  • The Belgian Malinois generally has a higher raid.
  • While both breeds can suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia, German shepherd dogs are notorious.
  • German shepherd dogs are less aggressive and a little slower.
  • The Malinois is generally regarded as a more independent dog, as German shepherd dogs can suffer from separation anxiety as soon as they have entered into a bond with their animal keepers.
  • The Belgian Malinois has a reputation for being a little easier to train.
  • German shepherd dogs are the slightly heavier breed and need more food.

Belgian Malinois breed info

The Belgian Malinois was originally bred as a herding dog. For this reason, they have an enormous amount of energy.

They are very intelligent dogs that can be trained for pretty much any task or role (within the framework of reason).

Malis must be trained for at least 90 minutes a day. This must also be divided into 3 to 4 different sessions. Ideally, you can choose either 3 x 30-minute sessions or 4 20/25 minute sessions.

In terms of what to do during these sessions, you can run, play, run and hike. The list is endless. Due to their high energy level, they are best suited for a family / individual who leads an active outdoor lifestyle.

You must remember that buying this breed is a great obligation. You are a big dog that is very intelligent and requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Without this, they can become destructive.


At first glance, you could be forgiven if you confuse a Belgian Malinois with a German shepherd dog.

The Belgian Malinois is a large dog covered with coarse fur. Once you are fully grown up, you can expect men to grow up to 26 inches tall and weigh up to 80 pounds. While women will be a touch smaller, at up to 24 inches and 60 pounds.

Also read: Bernese Mountain Dog – Complete Breed Info


Just like the German Shepherd, they have a double coat. This double coat keeps them warm because they spend most of their time outdoors and guard them. The topcoat is hard, almost bristle-like, while the primer (shield) is thick and tight.

The Belgian Malinois constantly shed during the year. But they have two annual heavy blowouts. If you are looking for a house that shows no signs of dog hair, the Belgian Malinois is not for you.

If we look at the official breed standards, their coat color is a rich fawn for mahogany, with the ends of each hair having a black tip. Her stomach and bottom are usually lighter with occasional white spots or spots.

If you stand next to a German shepherd, you will notice that the fur of the Malinois is shorter and the ears are slightly longer and sharper.

At first glance, you could be forgiven if you confuse a Belgian Malinois VS German shepherd dog.
At first glance, you could be forgiven if you confuse a Belgian Malinois with a German shepherd dog.


In terms of temperament, the greatest thing you should expect from a real Belgian Malinois is their work ethic. Remember that they were originally bred as ranchers and became famous for their relentless work among both sheep and livestock farmers.

You can expect a balanced temperament that is neither aggressive nor shy. It is a self-confident breed and although it is occasionally far from new faces, it is more than loving with her animal keepers.

The Belgian Malinois are known for owning both their owners and their property very much. While this usually does not cause behavioral problems, they can become aggressive when pressed.

Due to their relentless work and their high intelligence, they are a versatile dog. In fact, they are now becoming popular within the two police and military and even private security. They are smart dogs who want to please and can learn to master almost every command or exercise.


You should expect to pay between 800 and 1200 US dollars for a purebred Belgian Malinois. Of course, dogs without paperwork and rescue are significantly cheaper.

In addition, trained Malinois become significantly more expensive and usually start at over 5000 US dollars.

Life expectancy

A healthy Malinois, which is well maintained and not revised, should be between 14 and 16 years old.

German Shepherd Breed Info

The German Shepherd is the second most popular breed of dog in the USA and it is hardly surprising. They are a big, strong, confident and courageous dog; really one of the best all-purpose workers you can hope for.

GSDs were originally bred in Germany to look after sheep. They have been refined by Captain Max von Stephanitz for over 35 years until he was satisfied with the breed. Its key attribute is character.

You can be a loving family member and at the same time unshakable guardians. They are very intelligent and have a lot of energy.

Compared to the Belgian Malinois, they need even more exercise; approx. 2 hours a day. This should be divided into several sessions.


The German Shepherd is classified as a large dog. A full-grown man will be between 24 and 26 inches tall, while a woman stands between 22 and 24 inches. In terms of weight, you should expect a woman to weigh between 50 and 70 pounds and a man between 60 and 90 pounds.

Just like the Malinois, the German Shepherd also has a double coat, but a slightly longer coat, whereby the Malinois are shorter and coarser.

Your German shepherd dog will shed lightly all year round and then hard twice a year. With regard to care, you should therefore expect that a similar amount is required for both dogs.

While there are no officially recognized colors, you should expect a black top with blond and light sides and lower abdomen.

This puppy loves to take walks, hikes, runs, bike tours, swimming and any activity with you.
This puppy loves to take walks, hikes, runs, bike tours, swimming and any activity with you.


The key feature of a German shepherd dog is its character and temperament. They are undoubtedly the best all-round workers in their class. Incredibly adaptable and can master any role or task required of them.

For this reason, they have a long and successful history both within the military and the police. Wealthy people also turn to German Shepherd Dogs as private security and security personnel.

In terms of individual characteristics, it is confident, courageous and intelligent.

Just like the Belgian Malinois, they are possessive and will defend everything or everyone they consider to be ‘own’. This behavior can lead to them appearing insensitive or even aggressive to strangers. For this reason, you must socialize them strongly at a young age.

Also read: Pointer Dog Breed Information


As with any other large, strong dog, you should not use dominance-based training techniques. Instead, you should use a positive reinforcement, as they react better to it. In general, large dogs resist domination-based training because it uses coercive techniques to change the behavior that generates stress.

Just like the Malinois, it is a great obligation. They are large dogs that are intelligent and can become destructive if they are not properly cared for and trained. German shepherd dogs need an owner who has a lot of time to get involved in their training and daily practice needs.


Pedigree German Shepherds should cost between 500 and 1500 US dollars depending on the breeder and descent. If you want to adopt an older German shepherd, this costs about 50-150 USD in donation fees.

Life expectancy

A healthy, well-groomed German shepherd gets between 7 and 10 years old. That’s one of the major differences in the Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd battle. The Malinois lives quite a bit longer.

Summary Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd

After reading our complete guide, you will now know the most important differences between the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois.

Both breeds were originally bred as herding dogs and are therefore both intelligent and high in energy.

The German Shepherd has a slight advantage in terms of training ability, but both would give away loving pets in the family.

What both races need is a responsible owner who has a lot of time to get involved in these races. Both require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, otherwise they can become destructive.

FUN FACT: Still can’t decide between these two? Well, lucky for you there is actually a Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mix dog. Read more about him HERE.

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.