Although the Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd seem similar and share some characteristic traits. There are some variations between the two that you should consider before choosing which dog is best for your family.

single or double coat
Two German Shepherds – image by anna Dudkova from Unsplash

Both dogs are classified as military dogs and are members of the German Shepherd breed. They are frequently mistaken for one another due to their similar looks and fur coat. However, they also differ in a number of other aspects, particularly in terms of behaviour, lifestyle, and physical traits.

Compared to Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds are often less aggressive and move more slowly while attacking. As a rule, Belgian Malinois are also smaller.

Belgian Malinois And German Shepherd Overview Table

Dog breed Belgian Malinois German Shepherd
Breed type Herding dogs Herding dogs
Height 56 – 66 cm 55 – 65 cm
Weight 20 – 30 kg 22 – 40 kg
Lifespan 10 – 14 years 9 – 13 years
Coat colour fawn, mahogany, red, red sable, fawn sable. black, sable, black & tan, black & silver, grey, red and black
Temperament smart, obedient, friendly, assertive, high prey drive, loyal. Stubborn, intelligent, loyal, alert, obedient, protective, curious, brave
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Belgian Malinois And German Shepherd Origin

Although the Malinois and German Shepherd dogs are descendants of cattle herders and belong to the herding group. As their names imply, the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois were created in Germany and Belgium, respectively.

At the end of the 19th century, four different breeds of Belgian Shepherd Dogs were in use, with the Malinois being one of them. Professor Adolphe Reul was the first to notice it. He described the breed as a square, medium-sized dog with trapezoidal ears and dark brown eyes.

The name of the four breeds of Belgian Shepherds refers to the region around Brussels where it originated, with the Malinois coming from the Malines district.

Captain Max von Stephanitz also created the German Shepherd in the late 19th century. He sought to develop the ideal canine breed. The variety of herding dogs that Von Stephanitz observed around Germany astounded him.

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In 1899, he went to a dog exhibition in quest of his ideal medium large-sized dog with an independent, tenacious, and submissive nature. He found and bought a dog there. When von Stephanitz established the German Shepherd Dog Club, the breed’s creator, this dog was the first to be officially registered there.

Overview Of Both Breeds

The German Shepherd

german shepherd vs belgian malinois
German Shepherd – image by K Zoltan from pexels

In case you didn’t know, the German Shepherd is one of America’s most popular dog breeds.  You can train this capable dog for military and law enforcement activity.

German shepherds frequently serve as blind people’s guide dogs. They stand out physically thanks to their powerful bodies, firm ears, and pointed ears.

Belgian Malinois dogs

Belgian malinois – image by Katrin B from pixabbay

Breeders first bred these furry companions as herding dogs. The Belgian Malinois is still used today as a police dog, guard dog, and amiable family member.

This athletic dog is usually short-haired and light brown. Developed in Malines, Belgium, the dog breed is extremely tenacious and skilled in various activities.

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Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Fur Coats

The hair of German Shepherds is long, straight, and close to the body. The hair can occasionally be wiry and wavy. The coat has various colours: black, sable, silver, and red. Additionally, you should be aware that GSDs are year-round heavy shedders. You should probably be prepared to clean up the mess if you decide to place this wager.

In contrast to GSD, Malinois has short, straight, light brown hair. They have a tough topcoat and a thick undercoat that shield the dog from inclement weather. They typically have light brown skin and black ears. Typically, fawn Malinois have a tiny white patch on their chest or the ends of their toes.

Temperament Of German Shepherd And Belgian Malinois Dogs

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dogs may appear distant, yet they are not timid creatures. Even though reserved dogs don’t typically make friends quickly, you can count on them to be incredibly devoted to you once they do.

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German Shepherds are friendly and accessible to family members, and they make excellent watchdogs since they are naturally protective.

You can train this intelligent canine breed to do a wide range of tasks, including guiding a disabled person and saving survivors from an avalanche.

German Shepherds tend to have separation anxiety, which prevents them from being left alone for extended periods despite all their wonderful traits. An untrained, bored dog is likely to exhibit all of its twisted emotions by barking, gnawing, or engaging in other harmful habits.

Belgian Malinois

Like the GSD, the Belgian Malinois is a superior working dog who  appears wary of strangers. Malinois also makes an excellent guard dog, guarding his family and other companions. The breed of dog is trainable to protect humans and their belongings. They will cooperate if you don’t threaten Belgian Malinois, who are calm and pleasant dogs.

Like other dogs, the Malinois’ personality is influenced by several things, such as socialisation, genetics, and training. Start early with socialisation and expose your young dog to various situations and people.

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Additionally, meet one of the parents, preferably the mother, to discover more about the dog’s disposition. The dogs’ personalities can also be determined by meeting their siblings or other family members.


German Shepherd Dogs are jokingly referred to as “German Shedders” because of their constant shedding and reputation for massive hair loss twice a year.

Dog owners must be ready to clean up the mess because there isn’t a quick fix for the issue. To speed up the process, brush your dog’s coat two to three times every week. We advise purchasing a portable vacuum cleaner just in case.!

You’ll be happy to learn that Belgian Malinois are simple to groom because of their shorter and sleeker hair. Use a firm bristle brush to brush the dog’s coat once a week, and bathe the dog only as needed.

The only times of the year when Malinois dogs shed heavily are in the spring and fall. To prevent tartar accumulation, remember to brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week. Wash your pet’s teeth daily to reduce the chances of developing periodontal and gum disease.

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Exercise and Training

Both dog types are highly active and well-suited for outdoor pursuits. Dogs with lots of energy shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods.

Allowing your pet to spend time outside and taking long walks will help it maintain its physical and mental wellness. Please keep your dog engaged in various activities to prevent your pet from engaging in harmful behaviour like chewing and barking.

Both are brilliant dogs who, in the right hands, are incredibly trainable.


They react to training that uses rewards and positive reinforcement. Although they are huge breeds, avoid unpleasant methods at all costs. Punishment is known to both trigger and aggravates harmful behaviours.


They are more likely to repeat the behaviour if there is a favourable outcome. If your pets don’t act as you want, ignore them, divert their behaviour, or motivate them to do something positive, then praise or reward them for it.

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We’ve reached the end of the article that talks about Belgian Malinois And German Shepherd: Differences & Similarities. Stay tuned for more articles related to the topic; Belgian Malinois And German Shepherd. You might find the article What Type Of Dogs Scare Burglars Away? interesting.

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