Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherd: 6 Must-Know Differences

These dogs come in their category, and they’re a force to be reckoned with. While Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd dogs share German Shepherd ancestry, their appearances and personalities are so different you’d be hard-pressed to confuse the two.

Both the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd are large, powerful, and often “watchdog” dogs. Still, there are some differences between the two breeds, and it’s essential to know the differences between the two breeds.

As a pet owner, you must know that there are many breeds of dogs that are better suited to a particular kind of life than others.

Some dog breeds have existed for hundreds of years, while others have been created in modern times to cap the popularity of previous breeds. So, what is the difference between Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd?

1. Size and Appearance


One of the best things about owning a Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd is that they are not just great guard dogs but also great-looking dogs.

The two breeds certainly do not share the same looks, but they are both very impressive-looking dogs. They are both large dogs with lots of muscle, and both need regular exercise. However, how do they differ?

The first thing you’ll notice is the size. The German Shepherd is a much larger dog, standing at a height of up to 25 inches. The Belgian Malinois, on the other hand, will only grow to a height of 21 inches.

The Belgian Malinois is known as a compact dog, while the German Shepherd is known as a large dog. Belgian Malinois are usually about 2 inches smaller than German Shepherds. They are also more slender in size but have a powerful musculature.

The Male Belgian Malinois weighs about 25-30 kg, and The female is 20-25 kg. The Male German Shepherd can grow about 30–40 kg, and the female is approximately 22–32 kg.

The German Shepherd is a large breed dog. However, most of them don’t have a double coat. The Malinois is a smaller dog with a double coat. Malinois is a short-haired breed of a dog, while a German Shepherd has longer hair.

The general difference between Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd is the head shape. In Belgian Malinois, the muzzle is longer but shorter than the jaw. The German Shepherd’s head is square, the muzzle is short, and the jaws are short and strong.

The German Shepherd is famous for its good looks and is an elegant dog, while the Malinois is one of the most powerful dogs in the world.

There are also differences in the color scheme of the two dogs. The overall color scheme of the Belgian Malinois is very dark, while the German Shepard is lighter in color with white patches on the chest, neck, and tail.

2. Lifespan 


The Belgian Malinois has the edge in terms of longevity, but the German Shepherd makes the most suitable pet for people with children, according to a new study.

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The Belgian Malinois is known for its intelligence but is prone to aggression. The German Shepherd is known for its intelligence but is not aggressive.

The lifespan of a dog can vary considerably depending on its breed, but most Belgian Malinois dogs have a maximum lifespan of around 10-14 years.

On the other hand, the German Shepherd is known for its longevity of around 9-13 years, with most dogs reaching their 10th year.

3. Strength & Reliability


The Belgian Malinois is a big, hardworking sheep-herding dog that originated in Belgium. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are descended from Germany’s local sheep-herding dogs. They are both known for being incredibly reliable and intelligent.

Not surprisingly, the Belgian Malinois is significantly stronger than the German Shepherd, but the strength gap is not as large as you’d think.

The older Malinois dog also has a larger frame, which gives it more area to support its weight. The larger frame also makes it easier for the Malinois to jump higher, sprint further, and take corners quicker.

Both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are strong dogs that are used for dogfighting, but there is a slight difference in the amount of strength that they possess.

Although both dogs were bred to be strong, Belgian Malinois are slightly stronger than German Shepherds, but only slightly. This is mainly because German Shepherds are not as tall as Belgian Malinois but are still very strong.

Although Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd dogs are both relatively large and powerful, they do have a few things in common: they both excel at obedience and tracking, and they both excel at hearing and hearing alone.

However, their temperaments and physical appearance are very different. These two breeds were bred for two completely different purposes. 

Malinois is the first Belgian Shepherd breed ever developed, and it is renowned for being tough, intelligent, tough, and smart. As a result, the Malinois was developed to work alongside the French paratrooper units.

On the other hand, German Shepherds were developed to help the police officers control the public and are more docile. Malinois are known to be better hunters, but German Shepherds are better protectors.

Which is more reliable is a tough question because both are very well-known breeds, but there are also some differences between them. The German Shepherd is a very powerful breed, so they are often used for police work.

German Shepherds are also very high intelligence, so they are often used as guide dogs to help the blind. The Belgian Malinois is a very well-known breed too, but they are also used for work. They are often used as guard dogs, and they are also used to guard airports and other high-security locations.

4. Temperament & Socialization


The difference in temperament between Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd is one of the most frequently asked questions.

The different breeds of dogs, with their distinctive characteristics, are often pitted against each other in the dog-loving community. The Belgian Malinois seems to be the more aggressive breed.

While both Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd dogs are incredibly intelligent, each has different temperaments. German Shepherd dogs are considered to be more trustworthy and friendly, while Belgian Malinois dogs are known to be more dominant and aggressive.

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For the uninitiated, the Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd are two of the most popular dog breeds in Europe. The two dogs share similarities in appearance and temperament, but there are certain key differences between the two.

For starters, while both dogs are commonly used in law enforcement and policing roles, the Belgian Malinois is more of a guard dog and is generally more aggressive than the German Shepherd.

The Belgian Malinois also tends to be more prone to biting and nipping, though this is due entirely to the dog’s temperament and not its breed.

It’s not uncommon to hear of “dog-gone-tough” Malinois that has been through the wringer, and now they’re prone to being somewhat jolly or playful. On the other hand, German Shepherd dogs tend to be a bit more reserved and a little hard to rattle.

Though both are great family dogs, the BMD canines have different personalities, which affect their longevity. This difference is due to the dog’s breed.

The Malinois is an active working dog which is ideal for police and the military because it is brave and reliable. But due to his breed’s hit and run attitude, he is unsuited for life in a family household.

The German Shepherd is a non-working companion dog and is a great family dog. He is a gentle, friendly, and well-mannered dog, making him a perfect family dog for beginners.

5. Intelligence & Training Requirement


There are many similarities between the two breeds – both are highly intelligent, trainable, extremely protective dogs.

The Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd are two of the most popular military working dogs due to their hardworking and loyal traits. Their tenacity and versatility make them ideal candidates for police and security work (such as the Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd Dog).

Both breeds can be skilled in various activities, including sniffing, apprehension, guarding, tracking, and many more. But there are also differences.

The two most common guard dog breeds in the world (in terms of numbers) are German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois.

These two breeds are similar in appearance and temperament, and both are used for guarding and guarding the criminal and the criminal itself.

However, there are some differences between these two breeds in terms of size that make the Belgian Malinois more suitable for guarding and the German Shepherd more suitable for the security of the criminal.

The German Shepherd is the breed of dog used in guarding military bases in Germany. The Malinois is much better at guarding, climbing, and handling weapons than the German Shepherd. However, the German Shepherd is much better in obedience training.

The intelligence difference between the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois is probably the most controversial topic among dog owners.


Most people believe that the German Shepherd is the smarter dog. There are several reasons for this opinion. First, the German Shepherd is a much older breed.

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It is believed that the breed became popular after World War I and was used as a war dog due to its intelligence and ability to withstand harsh conditions, and was much better suited for that purpose than other breeds.

German Shepherds are known for their military training background. They are the most popular breeds in the United States and are viewed as effective in police work.

Malinois is the second most popular breed in the world and is known for its police work, but also in military training. Both are very intelligent in their work, but the Malinois in the military training situation is more intelligent in mental capacity.

Malinois are known for being very aggressive, but the German Shepherd is known for being more aggressive in their police work.

Belgian Malinois are said to be difficult dogs to train, and this makes them more suitable for police and military work because of their exceptional obedience, reliability, and overall intelligence.

On the other hand, German Shepherds are very easy dogs to train, making them better for dogsled races and obedience competitions, like Schutzhund.

When it comes to working dog breeds, the German Shepherd is the undisputed champion, with the Belgian Malinois coming in a close second. Both are extremely tough, but each has its unique strengths, making them harder to train.

6. Grooming and Shedding


Malinois and German Shepherds are both highly intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs, but they differ in two key areas: grooming and handling.

The differences range from slight to significant. Most importantly, the grooming styles of the two breeds differ significantly.

When it comes to shedding, the Belgian Malinois is described as having a dense coat that is easy to maintain. The German Shepherd is known for having a “shaggy” coat that sheds out more easily.

Among the many differences between the two breeds, one can be noted as the coat. Malinois shed more frequently than GSDs, but the difference is not as drastic as it is between the two breeds.

GSDs shed a lot, but their shedding is much less frequent. Malinois’ shedding is more frequent, but the amount of hair is lesser. German Shepherd sheds once a year, but Malinois sheds twice a year.

One of the questions people ask a lot is which is easier to groom a Belgian Malinois or a German Shepherd. From a grooming perspective, they can both be difficult.

The Belgian Malinois has a very dense, hard coat that requires a coarser, more thorough grooming than does the German Shepherd. On the other hand, the German Shepherd has a softer coat that requires more frequent combing than the Belgian Malinois’s dense coat.


In summary, the German Shepherd is an intelligent, strong, loyal dog that can help police track perpetrators or rescue people. The Belgian Malinois is also an intelligent, strong, loyal dog that can help police track perpetrators or rescue people.

But the German Shepherd is an older breed compared to the Belgian Malinois. But both are great breeds, with people who love them.

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