Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd – The Interesting Differences To Note

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(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)

Many people can’t decide whether to expand their families by adopting a Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd. The reason for that is that these two breeds are so alike that some people consider them as two variations of the same breed. However, even though they look a lot like each other, they are two completely different breeds once you get to know their temperament.

About the Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois is a dog breed that was first bred in Belgium way back in the 1800s. It is also known as Pastor Belga Malinois and the main goal of creating this breed was to make the shepherding easier. Even though this breed was popular in the past not many people know about it today.

Later, people trained Belgian Malinois for protection to be guard dogs, military dogs, police service dogs, and family pets. This dog breed is sensitive, and they generally don’t respond too well to harsh training.

These dogs are very active, and they have a fawn in color on their short-haired coats. Even though people often confuse both, the Malinois is smaller, and their coats are often fawn, red, and brown. Their life expectancy is from 10 to 12 years.

About the German Shepherd (GSD)

Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are hardworking, intelligent, and they too can be trained to become police and military service dogs. In addition to that, GSDs are often trained to become guide dogs for people with disabilities.

They are easily recognizable due to their sturdy bodies and pointed ears. German Shepherd as a breed is around for almost hundred years.

Their fur is often in tan and black. This breed is even considered as national heroes in the United States due to the fact that they were crawling through the ruins of the World Trade Center right after the 9/11 attacks.

This dog is great for almost any family because they are loving, devoted, and protective companions.

More about the Long Haired GSD breed

Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd Temperament

The GSD is a type of dog that loves you for life. Once he makes a friend, that bond is almost unbreakable and he will stay loyal to you. They are also easy to approach by loved ones, and they can be used as a guard dogs due to their protective nature. This dog is extremely intelligent which means that they can be trained to do almost anything; from being guide dogs to being a military and rescue dogs.

The important thing you need to know about this breed is that they don’t lie to be alone for extended periods of time. If your GSD becomes bored or if he gets filled with excess energy, he might get destructive by digging, barking, and chewing on things.

The Malinois is generally peaceful and calm dog ready for cooperation if he doesn’t feel threatened. They are great guard dogs because they are loyal and most of the time reserved towards the strangers. They will do anything to protect their families and companions.

Belgian Malinois can also be trained to do all kinds of different things just make sure that you aren’t too harsh on him. The most important thing is to start socializing them while they are still puppies.


Even though the GSD are intelligent, they also can be quite stubborn. If you wish to train German Shepherd properly, you need to start training him while he is still young and make sure that you reward him often. This breed loves training, but they can be difficult to work with in the first couple of sessions.

Belgian Malinois is much easier to control and train in comparison. Even though both breeds are intelligent, the main difference is that it is often more involved in the training and other activities. Since they are very curious, they don’t mind learning new things.


Just like many other pure breeds, GSDs are prone to several health conditions. Before you get a puppy, you should check the medical history of the parents to make sure your puppy won’t suffer from inherited health problems.

Medical conditions you should keep an eye on are hip dysplasia, gastric dilatation-volvulus, allergies, elbow dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy.

The Malinois is generally healthier. There are just couple of health conditions you will need keep in mind.

Also, before adopting, make sure you know everything about the parents. Including their medical history. Belgian Malinois are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and aesthesia sensitivity.


When it comes to exercise, both breeds are very much alike. Both German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are highly energetic dogs that thrive in outdoor activities. They are not suitable for apartments or homes without a backyard. It is important to take them for long walks and make sure that they spend their outdoor times spending all of their energy.

Spending time outdoor is not just good for their physical but also mental health.

If you don’t spend your time with your dog and if you don’t play with him, all of that excess energy will be manifested via destructive behavior. If your dog is not exercising enough, you will have a problem with barking, chewing, and destroying things.


Now that you know a little bit more about Belgian Malinois VS German Shepherd, you can see that they are two completely different breeds. Even though they might look almost identical, their temperament and other traits are what makes them apart. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that both these dogs are loveable, protective, and loyal.

They are easy to train and control, but if you are a first-time dog owner, you should go with Belgian Malinois because they are easier to train.

1 Comment

  • Ruby says:

    Both breeds are not the best if first time owners due to their activity levels. However a Belgian tends to be more active and aggressive breed a GSD especially a showline one is a lot more mellow. So I would recommend a GSD for a less experienced owner to a Malinois.

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