We are all familiar with the ever popular German Shepherd, and to some extent, the Belgian Malinois. Both of these dogs are extremely loyal, strong, and and intelligent. But what if you were to combine these two amazing breeds together? You get the Malinois Shepherd!
A combination of a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois produces a level-headed and energetic dog that is hard-working, devoted, and protective. They are on the larger side and have a thick coat that comes in many colors and needs to be groomed regularly. Because they can be challenging to train, this dog is not recommended for first-time dog owners.
In this article, we are going to take an all-encompassing look at the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix and provide you with all the information you need to decide whether you’d like to get one.
What Is a Malinois Shepherd?
The Malinois Shepherd is, as you might expect, a crossbreed between a Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd. They are a relatively new hybrid mix of dogs, and they are also known as the Malinois X or a Shepinois.
German Shepherds and Belgian Malinoises look relatively similar to each other in terms of coat colors and general body build.
However, the German Shepherd is a little bit larger than the Belgian Malinois. Some of the most notable features that are present in all Malinois Shepherd mixes are:
- Flat skull, proportionate to the rest of the body
- Longer muzzle
- Black nose
- Deep-set almond-shaped eyes
- Brown eyes
- High-set pointed ears
- Sturdy, athletic body
- Coarse, double-layered medium-length coat
Their parents’ coat colors are also quite similar, making the coat colors of these mixes relatively predictable. They are most commonly black, brown, blue, fawn, tan, and white.
Size and weight might vary slightly, depending on how much of each parent’s DNA is presenting, but generally, Malinois Shepherds stand at around 20-26 inches (51-66 cm) and weigh about 65-85 lbs (29-39 kg).
Their life expectancy is set at around 10-14 years.
Is a Malinois Shepherd the Right Breed for Me?
If the Malinois Shepherd is starting to sound appealing to you, that’s for good reason, because they are a wonderful breed of dog.
However, there are a few things you need to take into account before you decide to procure one of these dogs, such as how much space you have in your home and whether or not you have time for and access to professional training services.
Do You Have Enough Space?
Though these dogs are not the largest to ever exist, they are a very active breed and will need a lot of space to run around and play. They are best suited to someone who has a large house with a yard big enough for them to run around in.
They are not particularly suited to apartment living unless your apartment is on the larger side, and you have enough time to take them out to a park or on a walk a few times daily.
In terms of sleeping space, if you don’t have space on your bed or don’t want your dog sleeping in your bed, you’ll need to provide them with an adequate sleeping setup.
A large dog mattress, like this Furhaven Pet Orthopedic Dog Bed will work wonders to give each of you your own separate space. We like this bed because it’s great for your dog’s joints, comes in a ton of different colors, and it also has a great warranty.
If your pup prefers a cage, which many actually do because it is their own safe place, then take a look at the MidWest Folding Crate for Extra Large Dogs.
This is a great product that will be last create that you’ll ever own. It has really sturdy hinges and a strong sliding bold, and it also comes with a divider that you can adjust as your dog gets exponentially larger – as these dogs will most certainly do!
Do You Have Access to a Professional Dog Trainer?
These dogs need a particular type of person to be their owner. They need someone who is committed to being the alpha of the pack and someone who will be a firm yet positive trainer.
You’ll have to spend a lot of time socializing these dogs and give them a lot of mental and physical exercise. They are working dogs, after all.
This hybrid mix is an intelligent one and will significantly benefit from regular training and being kept on their toes with new tricks or commands to learn.
They do best with an owner who has experience training dogs or someone who has access to a professional dog trainer to guide them in training.
If you have a dog trainer or a dog training club nearby, this breed will really benefit it if you attend a couple of times a week.
German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois Basic Facts
We’re going to take a close look at the two breeds that make up this loyal and active dog in order to give you a clear idea of what this mixed-breed is actually like.
As we discuss these dogs, keep in mind that each dog is unique. Just like us humans, their offspring may take more or less, genetically speaking, from each parent.
We would also like to remind you that finding an ethical breeder is an absolute necessity. And by all means, please stay away from puppy mills!
German Shepherd Basic Facts
The history of the German Shepherd can be traced all the way back to the 1890s, when a former military commander, Max von Stephanitz, sought to find the best working dog he possibly could.
He found what he thought to be the perfect example at a show in the latter half of the 1890s. The dog was named Hektor Linkrhein, and he impressed Max so much that he immediately bought the dog.
Hektor was then renamed “Horand von Grafrath” and became the first recognized German Shepherd. German Shepherds are currently ranked as the second most popular dog breed in the USA and the seventh most popular breed in the UK.
They are known to be intelligent, loyal, and strong dogs, who are even-tempered for the most part but can be a bit wary around strangers.
They are also naturally protective, but can become very easy-going, fun-loving dogs with proper training and socializing.
For more on these aspects about German Shepherds, be sure to check out the following articles:
German Shepherds are active dogs and need a lot of mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They are okay to be left alone for a little while but may become bored and destructive if they are left alone for too long.
Their great mental and physical capabilities make them an excellent choice for working dogs. They are often used in search and rescue missions, narcotics and bomb detection, and guide dogs for the visually impaired.
In terms of their appearance, German Shepherds are of the most easily recognized dog breeds out there. They have long, lean bodies, big brown eyes, and many different coat colors, namely black, white, a mix of black and tan, blue, blonde, and even red.
Here are a few great articles all about a few of the variations of German Shepherd coat color that we’ve just mentioned:
German Shepherds have a double coat of medium length hair, which sheds quite a lot, meaning that your cleaning routine might get significantly longer.
They are on the larger side of the dog size spectrum, often standing at around 22-26 inches (~55-65cm) tall when fully grown. They can also weigh anywhere between 49-88 pounds (~22-40 kg) depending on their age and activity level.
German Shepherds usually live around nine to thirteen years long. How long German Shepherds live is a question that we deal with quite often, so we’ve written a comprehensive guide on this topic for you right here:
If you would like to know basic facts about German Shepherds, here is an informative video for you to watch:
Belgian Malinois Basic Facts
The Belgian Malinois is not as well known as the German Shepherd internationally, but they are still considered the best herding breed in its home country, Belgium.
They originated in the northwestern Belgian city Malines in the late 1800s, along with other variations of the breed, the Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Groenendael, and the Belgian Laekenois.
The Belgian Malinois is the most popular of the four Belgian Shepherd breeds because they are the easiest to take care of and train.
They were developed by trainers and working competitors to become service dogs, but they were originally used by sheepherders and cattlemen.
These dogs first arrived in the USA in 1911 but weren’t recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1959. They are now ranked as the 41st most popular dog in the US and have had a surge in popularity over the past decades.
They are also good and intelligent working dogs, like the German Shepherds, and are used in police applications, search and rescue, service purposes, guard purposes, sledding, herding, therapy, tracking, obedience competing, and agility.
These dogs are also an extremely active, smart, and eager breed that needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They are happiest when they are playing and exercising with a loving owner.
The Belgian Malinois also looks quite similar to the German Shepherd; however, there are still a few distinguishing factors.
They have a slightly bigger head and are leggier than the German Shepherd. Their coat colors can range from fawn to mahogany, with an occasional sighting of a black-tipped fawn.
They usually grow to stand at around 22-26 inches (56-66cm) and usually weigh between 55 and 75 pounds (25-34 kg). Their life expectancy is around 12-16 years.
Here’s a video with some interesting Belgian Malinois facts for you to check out:
What to Expect With the Crossbreed
Now that we’ve gone over the basic facts about both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois separately, we will take a look at what you can come to expect when the two breeds are mixed together.
Eager to Please
These highly intellectual dogs like to use their intellect and will try everything they can to impress you.
Whether this is quickly learning a new trick or being obedient to your commands, Malinois Shepherd mixes are eager to please and love being rewarded for doing so.
They don’t like to be neglected or ignored, so when they do something well or do something nice for you, be sure to let them know your appreciation.
If they are not praised for their obedience and integrity, they could quickly become disobedient and defiant when you ask them to do something.
Coming from two very loyal parent breeds, you can expect the Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix to be a very devoted canine companion.
They want to make sure you are safe and to know that you know that they are loyal to you.
This may lead to some overprotective behavior at times; however, these dogs are not intentionally malicious. They’ll only protect if they feel that there is something you need protecting from.
They can become more easy-going with good socializing and positive training, so don’t punish them if they become aggressive around people they don’t know well; instead, show them that they are your friends and don’t pose a threat to you or your dog.
Coat and Grooming
The Malinois Shepherd mix is likely to have medium length, high-density straight hair that is relatively coarse. They also shed quite a bit of hair, which means that this dog is not hypoallergenic.
As mentioned before, they come in a variety of colors, such as fawn, tan, brown, black, blue, and white.
Their coats need to be brushed two to three times a week normally, daily once they start their seasonal shedding.
Using a pin brush, like this Hertzko Pin Brush for Dogs, and an undercoat deshedder, like this PetNeat Professional Deshedding Tool, will help keep their coat shiny and healthy-looking, as well as helping to remove loose hair.
They only need to be bathed when they are really dirty so as not to unnecessarily remove the hair’s natural oils.
You’ll also need to trim their toenails unless they are kept ground down from your dog’s daily activities and exercise. You can use a canine nail clipper, like this BOSHEL Dog Nail Clipper, to do this.
Your hybrid’s ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly to ensure there aren’t any pests or debris in them. Some simple ear wipes like these wipes from PetMD will go a long way toward preventing ear infections.
Additionally, you should brush their teeth at least three times per week, though daily is preferred if possible.
You should also make sure to keep up with dental exams, eye exams, and routine physical exams with your veterinarian to keep this hybrid in peak condition.
Both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois are known to have a few health issues, and their offspring may develop some of the same diseases and/or health problems. Here are the major health concerns of the mixed breed.
Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV), is a potentially life-threatening medical emergency for your canine friend.
It happens when a dog’s stomach fills with air, building up pressure and cutting off blood flow from the heart to the back legs and abdomen.
This makes the blood pool at the back end of the dog’s body and will lead to your dog going into shock. As the pancreas becomes more oxygen-deprived, it will start to produce toxic hormones, one of which could potentially stop your dog’s heart if it is not treated quickly.
Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease more common in older dogs; however, it sometimes occurs in young dogs.
It is a progressive disease of the spinal cord, in which the transmission fibers in the spinal cord degenerate.
This happens in two different ways, namely demyelination, which strips away the insulation between the nerve fibers, and axonal loss, which is a loss of the actual nerve fibers.
This interferes with the communication between the brain and limbs and leads to a loss of coordination, dragging or knuckled-over feet, and eventually weak or paralyzed limbs.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a group of degenerative diseases that affect the retina’s photoreceptor cells.
The retina is a layer of cells at the back of the eyeball that converts the light that enters the eye into electrical signals, which are then sent to the brain for processing and interpretation.
This disease causes these photoreceptor cells to deteriorate (a.k.a. atrophy) over time and will lead the affected dog to eventually become blind.
Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, EPI for short, is a congenital (present from birth) or inherited (genetic) disease that causes an inability to produce enough pancreatic enzymes that help digest fats and proteins, and carbohydrates.
It can also be acquired because of pancreatic inflammation, infection, or injury. This is a disease that could be inherited from the German Shepherd parent in your mix.
The main cause is a progressive loss of pancreatic cells, but chronic pancreatitis could also be a cause.
Because of this, difficulty digesting certain foods leads to poor absorption of nutrients, which causes your dog to lose weight even if they have a normal (or perhaps even increased) appetite.
Dogs with this condition usually have large amounts of plaque and fatty feces, known as steatorrhea. There is no known cure for this condition, but it can be managed with the right medications and diet.
Here are some of the minor concerns:
- Bone and Joint Problems
- Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Cataracts are occasional diagnoses.
Here are occasional tests you should have done:
- Dental Examination
- Ear Examination
- Eye Examinations
- Complete Blood Count
- Internal Imaging (X-Ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.)
- Blood and Urine Analysis
If you are concerned your dog might have one of these health problems, or if they are showing any signs of illness, it is always best to consult your vet, as they will be able to help diagnose your dog and provide you with the necessary medications or advice to treat them.
It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!
Malinois Shepherds come from two highly intelligent parents, and as such, they are quick learners. However, this intelligence also makes them a potential challenge to train.
They enjoy learning new commands and tricks and will do their best to master anything you try to teach them.
However, they can be strong-willed or hard-headed at times, so it might be a good idea to train alongside a professional dog trainer, at least for the first few months after you get your Malinois Shepherd.
You also need to establish yourself as the alpha of the pack to prevent your Malinois Shepherd from challenging you too much.
You may have to do this a few times, as your dog will try to test your limits, especially as they go through their teenage years.
German Shepherds and Belgian Malinoises have long been scrutinized for their aggression, and this will likely trickle down into the hybrid mix.
However, it is important to note that they will only become truly aggressive if they sense a threat nearby.
They are always a bit stand-offish and wary around strangers, but once they get to know someone, they will love them just as much as they love you. (Perhaps not exactly as much, but they will love them!)
In general, the cross between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois will produce a hard-working dog.
They are known to be athletic, level-headed, and loyal while also having a watchful attitude. They are affectionate with their owner(s) and like to be the center of your attention.
If they are socialized and trained well from a young age, Malinois Shepherds can also get along very well with other household pets and children.
However, it is always recommended to keep an eye on your dog if they are around young children, as the child might unintentionally do something your dog doesn’t like, and it will react accordingly.
Malinois Shepherds are medium-to-large dogs and are also very active, and so they require the right nutrients.
They need the right amount of protein and healthy fats to keep their bones, muscles, fur, and skin healthy and strong. Proper nutrition will also ensure that your dog lives a long and healthy life.
You can expect your Malinois Shepherd to eat anywhere from 3 to 5 cups of food a day, depending on age, sex, and activity level.
Ask your vet to help you fine-tune the right diet for your specific mix of Malinois and Shepherd to ensure they get the best possible nutrition.
To get a relatively good idea of the feeding requirements of this dog, be sure to take a look at the article linked below:
This is literally the best article on the internet about feeding a German Shepherd through all stages of life – and we stand by this claim.
These hybrid dogs are highly energetic and need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Neglecting their mental and physical needs will lead to an unhappy and sometimes destructive dog.
To keep them mentally stimulated, you could try teaching your dog tricks, and obedience commands regularly, as well as testing them on their skills often once they have mastered them.
If you are unsure how to do this, you can consult a professional dog trainer and ask them to show you some basic tricks, commands, and how to train your dog to do them.
We’re also big fans of interactive puzzle toys for keeping your dog occupied and mentally stimulated. There are many on the market to choose from, so we’ve taken the time to compile some really good choices for you in the following two guides:
In terms of physical activity, this hybrid mix needs a lot of it. They are the dog for you if you often skip several days at the gym or don’t get out of the house at least once every day.
You can expect to spend around 2 hours of your day being active with your Malinois Shepherd mix every day. Y
ou can split these into several short bursts throughout the day or spend around an hour playing with them and going on two thirty-minute walks during the cooler hours of the day.
You should be walking around 10 miles (16 km) a week with these mixes.
These dogs enjoy playing with a frisbee, playing fetch, doing earth dog training, or doing obedience training as part of their exercise routines.
It may also be a good idea to take your dog out to a park a few times a week to let them run around and play with the other dogs there. Just always keep a watchful eye on them if there are any small children around.
The average price of this hybrid breed can vary greatly. Belgian Malinoises can go for anywhere from $1000 to $2000, while German Shepherds are slightly more affordable, coming in at around $800-$2500.
So getting an accurate price for one of these dogs is difficult, but it is safe to assume that one of them will cost you around the $1000 mark.
Consider the following factors into the cost of getting one of these mixes:
- Veterinary bills
- Pet insurance
- Toys, a collar, and leash
- Neutering and/or microchipping
These will vary greatly depending on your dog’s general health, as well as how much you want to spoil them. You can expect food for this breed to be in the ballpark of $470-$625 a year.
Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix is an interesting breed and will bring you a lot of enjoyment if you treat and look after your mix properly.
Remember that they are best suited to someone who has enough space for them to live, as well as someone who will play with them until they tire out.
If you’re considering getting a Malinois Shepherd, you should contact a reputable breeder in your area.
Be sure to request to visit before you make your decision so that you can see how the puppy interacts with the other dogs around it. Also, ask to see the parents’ AKC or UKC papers and documentation of veterinary visits.
Consider also going to your local rescue shelters and breed-specific shelters in your area to see if there might be a Malinois Shepherd in need of a new home that you can foster and/or adopt.