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The Belgian Malinois is one of the most loyal, hardworking breeds there is. They’re often confused with German Shepherd Dogs, which are bigger and heavier-boned than the Malinois. Malinois also have their own unique work ethic, and they excel at a wide variety of tasks. Here are more interesting Belgian Malinois facts.

1. Belgian Malinois Were Named for a Belgian City

The Belgian Malinois (pronounced “mal-in-wa”) was developed in the Belgian city of Malines and was thus named for its birthplace.

2. Belgian Malinois Were Bred to Be Herding Dogs

The Belgian Malinois is actually one of four breeds of Belgian sheepdogs that were all bred for herding and were developed in different parts of the country. Over the last century, Mals have expanded their resume far beyond herding and have proven themselves to be extremely versatile.

3. They Have Long Worked With Police Officers

Today, the Belgian Malinois is one of the top breeds chosen by police departments around the country. They are excellent at apprehending suspects. As a herding breed, they have the strength and smarts to help restrain a potentially dangerous individual.

4. Belgian Malinois Work With Navy SEALS

Today, Mals are incredibly important members of the U.S. military. Most of the dogs that work with the elite Navy SEALS are Mals, including Cairo, the brave canine that helped SEAL Team 6 take down Osama bin Laden in 2011. SEAL dogs like Cairo are given their own special body armor and even get their own night-vision goggles.

5. Belgian Malinois Skydive

One of the reasons Belgian Malinois are favored over German Shepherd Dogs for many military operations is that Malinois are better skydivers. Malinois are lighter than German Shepherds, so it’s easier for military parachutists to do tandem jumps with their dogs strapped to them. Mals can even be trained to jump on their own, which is safer for the dogs when they land in the water.

6. They Make Great Guard Dogs

Actress Eva Mendes depended on her Belgian Malinois, Hugo, to keep her feeling safe and secure when she had to get a restraining order against a stalker in 2011. Malinois are extremely protective and make excellent guard dogs.

Belgian Malinois running across a grassy field.
©brusnikaphoto -

7. The AKC Recognized the Breed in 1959

The Belgian Malinois was officially recognized by the AKC in 1959. This was 48 years after the first two Mals were registered in the AKC studbook.

Related article: Blind Belgian Malinois Pieces Beats Odds and Excels at Scent Work
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