The Origin of the Belgian Malinois


The Belgian Malinois, often simply referred to as the Malinois, is a remarkable and versatile breed known for its intelligence, agility, and unwavering dedication to its tasks. This breed’s history is deeply intertwined with the heritage of Belgium, where it originated. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating origin story of the Belgian Malinois.

The Belgian Connection

Belgium, a small European country renowned for its rich culture and history, is the birthplace of the Belgian Malinois. In the late 19th century, Belgium was already well-known for its shepherding and herding dogs, but there was a need for a breed that could excel in various roles such as herding, guarding, and police work. This need led to the development of the Belgian Malinois.

Herding Origins

The Malinois shares its ancestry with other Belgian shepherd breeds, including the Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog, and Belgian Laekenois. Initially, all these breeds were considered variations of a single Belgian shepherd breed, distinguished mainly by their coat types and colors. The Malinois, with its short, dense, fawn-colored coat, was one of these variations.

Professor Adolphe Reul

The Belgian Malinois’ development can be attributed to the efforts of a Belgian veterinary professor named Adolphe Reul. In the late 1800s, Professor Reul recognized the need for a herding and working dog that could adapt to the rapidly changing demands of the industrialized world. He began selectively breeding dogs with desirable traits, such as intelligence, agility, and a strong work ethic.

Foundation Dogs

Two foundation dogs, in particular, played a crucial role in the creation of the Belgian Malinois breed. These dogs were named “Tom” and “Poes.” They possessed the characteristics that Professor Reul aimed to establish in the breed, including a strong instinct for herding and guarding.

Official Recognition

The Belgian Malinois breed started gaining recognition in the early 20th century. In 1901, the breed was first officially registered by the Société Royale Saint-Hubert (Royal Saint-Hubert Society) in Belgium. It was named after the city of Malines, which is now known as Mechelen. This recognition solidified the breed’s identity and its separate existence from other Belgian shepherd dogs.

War and Work

As the 20th century progressed, the Belgian Malinois proved their worth in various roles, especially during both World Wars. These dogs served as messengers, search and rescue dogs, and even as soldiers on the battlefield. Their bravery and dedication further established the breed’s reputation as a reliable and versatile working dog.

Modern-day Belgian Malinois

Today, the Belgian Malinois is recognized worldwide for its exceptional abilities in police work, search and rescue operations, and as loyal family companions. They excel in dog sports like obedience, agility, and protection work. Their adaptability and intelligence make them a popular choice for various demanding tasks.


The Belgian Malinois’ journey from the fields of Belgium to becoming a respected and sought-after working dog worldwide is a testament to the breed’s remarkable attributes and the dedication of those who shaped its history. As we appreciate the Belgian Malinois for their incredible abilities and loyal companionship today, we should also remember their humble beginnings in the heart of Belgium, where it all began.


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