Malinois dog temperament: are belgian malinois aggressive?

Belgian Malinois is an exceedingly loyal and devoted dog breed that is confident and protective in any situation. In addition, it is capable of forming an unbreakable bond with its owner. Malinois dogs are highly people-oriented dogs that can be depended on to do whatever you need them to do. 

They possess high energy; hence, it’s important to note that they always need a job that matches their physical and mental needs, so if you’re someone who likes to challenge your canine companion mentally then working together will be great for both of you!

Are Belgian Malinois Considered an Aggressive Breed?

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Belgian Malinois can be aggressive and dangerous in case it has been poorly trained. Moreover, this dog breed displays aggressive symptoms when you do not fulfill its basic needs or force it to socialize against its desire. The dog is also aggressive when strangers are around. 

The Belgian Malinois is a highly energetic, intelligent working breed. They require a great deal of attention and exercise. 

If a malinois is aggressive, in most cases it means that the owner is incapable of satisfying its physical needs, nor its mental needs.

The Standard Temperament of a Belgian Malinois Dog

Belgian Malinois is an obedient dog by nature. They are easy to  train with  their innate intelligence, as they don’t need as much repetition as some other dogs to get it right.  This dog breed has special traits of being quick-witted and defensive. In addition to this, they are neither aggressive nor shy by nature and react according to the situation at hand. 

Their speed makes them alert and ready to fend off any potential threats from those around them, making them a favorite of police and military forces across the globe who value discretion and loyalty in their canine officers. 

They love spending time with their owners but not so much with strangers, so training them can be a bit of a challenge if you want them to be able to adapt easily to new people.

Let’s take a closer look at the temperament of malinois dogs.

Are Belgian Malinois Friendly?

Belgian Malinois are generally friendly, sensitive, affectionate dogs that are not recommended for homes with children. They do, however, make great companions for adults, especially those who are active. This is a high energy breed of dog, so they need a great deal of daily exercise, preferably in the form of a long walk or run. 

As for training, this is a breed of dog that requires a firm hand. They are extremely intelligent, so they are able to pick up training quickly, but they are also stubborn if they are not trained properly.

The nature of malinois dogs depends on different situations like the person they are facing and what kind of training they have received. Some malinois dogs are amicable because of the reason that they have been adequately prepared for socialization. But, at the same time, others are aggressive to strangers because of their natural protective instinct. 

Are Belgian Malinois Protective?

Belgian Malinois dogs have a powerful sense of protection. They also possess territorial instincts. Belgian Malinois are excellent protection dogs as they are intelligent, alert, athletic, and always confident. These dogs also have a natural inclination to protect the owner, their family, and their property. There are reasons behind malinois’ protective nature. 

  • First, their ancestors were bred as herding and guard dogs. Belgian Police started using them as guard dogs because of their protective instinct. 
  • The second reason is their temperament. Malinois dogs are affectionate towards their people but reserved towards strangers. This character makes them extraordinary family protection dogs.  

Are Belgian Malinois Aggressive With Other Dogs?

Belgian Malinois can be quite aggressive towards other dogs and pets if not trained to socialize well. As these dogs have strong territorial instincts, they might show aggression when in close vicinity of other dogs. If you want your Malinois to be friendly towards other dogs, give them early training for behaving well around other animals. 

If your dog hasn’t received any such training, you should be very cautious when your dog is in the company of other animals because they can end up being hurt by your Malinois. 

Are Belgian Malinois Good With Cats?

The Belgian Malinois is not very good with cats. As these dogs have a powerful prey drive, they can chase small furry animals, especially cats. That is why if you own a cat, it’s not a good idea to keep them together indoors. However, I think if you get a Belgian Malinois puppy and bring him up at his early age with cats around, he will make sure that they are not hurt and will be a great protector for them.

Are Belgian Malinois Good With Kids?

Belgian Malinois can be good around kids if they are well socialized. However, as they are herding dogs by nature, they would herd and nip at children and toddlers. Thus it’s a bad idea to keep a malinois if you have children at home. 

If you still want to give it a try, make sure your dog is adequately trained for behaving around children. Keep a close check when Malinois is around kids. Take the dog and kids on a walk together so that the dog can get used to their company. 

Make the dog familiar with kids’ toys, so it doesn’t get aggressive on hearing the noise of toys. 

Besides training the dog, you should also teach your kids to behave properly around malinois dogs. For example, teach them not to pull the dog’s fur or tail and avoid groping them without their will. Otherwise, the dog may become aggressive and bite your kids.

Are Belgian Malinois Aggressive Towards Family Members?

As with any breed of dogs, there are always some outlying cases of aggressive behavior towards family members. Malinois are, however, generally noted for their loyalty, intelligence, protective nature, and trainability. So it’s quite unlikely that a Malinois will ever show aggressive behavior towards family members.

The right family for Belgian Malinois is the active one who provides the dog with the right enthusiasm and stimulation it craves for. The perfect family environment will allow the Malinois to prove themselves as excellent family dogs. 

Are Belgian Malinois Aggressive Towards Strangers?

Belgian Malinois is reserved and aggressive towards strangers, and it is because they usually have an instinctual nature to guard and protect. That is why when they face someone unfamiliar, they become uncomfortable and tend to increase their distance. They do so by becoming aggressive or running away. 

The cause behind running away, can be because they are experiencing fear and anxiety as they are not trained for such situations beforehand. 

To help your dog overcome the anxiety, train them by slowly exposing them to different kinds of people. For example, let them have treats from strangers so that they realize over time that the scary person is not that bad. This will eventually change their underlying emotions of fear and anxiety into friendliness and happiness. 

Obviously, if you want to train your Malinois as a guard or protection dog, these tips are not for you. In most cases, you will want to maintain this “aggressivity and distrust” towards people outside your family.

On the contrary, you will have to train your dog to the point of making him a safe and balanced dog, and above all teach him to react quickly and correctly to every situation.

Common Belgian Malinois Behavior Problems

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Belgian Malinois is an excellent dog breed but needs a lot of training because this furry guy has a lot of behavioral problems. I will share a few of them experienced by Belgian Malinois owners. 

  • Belgian Malinois have strong territorial instincts; thus, when you invade their space, like cutting grass from their territory or taking away their food bowl, they develop aggressive fear with biting as a result. 
  • The dog is super active; thus difficult to control the whole walking. It continuously tries to pull on the leash and makes it hard to tame the dog. 
  • Belgian Malinois is a very obedient dog and makes an unbreakable bond with the people around it. Hence you cannot leave it alone for a long time. If the dog has a habit of eating in your presence, it won’t even touch his food unless you return. 
  • Malinois dogs always want to accompany you, thus will try to enter the house all the time, causing you a nuisance. 
  • Aggression towards other dogs, cats, and strangers.
  • Unwanted behaviors associated with excessive barking.
  • Destructive chewing of household objects.
  • Digging holes in the garden.
  • Nervousness and hyperactivity.

What Makes a Belgian Malinois Dangerous or Aggressive?

There are multiple reasons behind the display of aggressive and dangerous behavior by Belgian Malinois. 

  • Their genes are to blame for their aggressive attitude because it’s hard for them to overcome these hurdles as they are instinctual and dominant dogs.
  • Another reason is incomplete or lack of training. These dogs are highly adaptable; thus, if you don’t teach them from the start, their aggression becomes challenging to control in the future.
  • Lack of socialization is another reason behind their aggressive attitudes. 
  • Belgian Malinois have high energy reserves, which they need to spend to be at ease. If their activity time is not enough, they are prone to irritation and aggressive behavior.
  • Malinois dogs make a strong connection with their owner, and they need constant approval from them. If you are not an athletic person, things will be pretty challenging to manage. 

How to Calm and Stop a Belgian Malinois From Being Aggressive

Firstly get your Malinois from a reputable breeder with a history of providing good temperament dogs. To help your dog avoid aggression, follow the tips mentioned below.

  • Start early training when the Malinois is still a pup. Earlier training gives better results because the dog will have plenty of time learning and building social skills. 
  • If you see your dog developing aggressive behavior, consult a professional dog trainer immediately who will help train the dog to obey commands dutifully.
  • Expose your dog to different people, situations, and animals to help them understand different interactions. This will decrease their aggression when they face strange people or problems next time. 

How to Train Your Belgian Malinois

Training is essential for a Belgian Malinois if you have the intention of keeping it as a house pet. Of course, you can train the dog yourself, but that will need a lot of time, effort, and devotion. And in case you spot any bad behavior in Malinois, such as barking at night or growling at strangers, make sure to consult a professional for help. 

Following are some training tips that can be helpful for you. 

  • Start social training at an early age, preferably from 8 to 14 weeks of age. 
  • The more your dog trusts you, the more confident he will feel about doing the things you ask him to do.
  • This breed is extremely energetic and needs a lot of exercise. Never let a Malinois lack both physical and mental stimulation.
  • Teach your Malinois to obey different kinds of commands.
  • Don’t forget to be gentle during the training to avoid any violent behavior.
  • Spend quality and meaningful time with your dog, such as playing and hiking, etc. 
  • Join an online community & dog training course like brain training for dogs.

Want to learn more about this magnificent dog breed? Read my in-depth guide about Malinois dogs.


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Belgian Malinois is a perfect family dog only if you try to remain consistent with whatever you do that includes training, socialization, walk time, exercises, playing, hiking, etc. I also recommend maintaining a schedule for each activity so that your dog knows what to expect at which time. 

Overall, the Belgian Malinois is a friendly and loyal dog if appropriately trained.