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Some dog breeds are laid-back and easy-going, content to lay at their owner’s feet after a long day. Other breeds are workers with a strong instinctual drive to carry out specific tasks like herding, tracking, or protecting their territory. The Belgian Malinois falls squarely into the second group. Often trained for military and police work, the Belgian Malinois breed can also be the perfect companion for individuals or families who live an active lifestyle.

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1. Malinois are a lot of dog, packed into an agile, elegant body

Belgian breeders named the breed after a town called Malines. Breeders created this short-haired, medium-to-large size dog for herding, which requires not only agility but an innate protective instinct and high energy levels. They stand between 22 and 26 inches in height when they reach adulthood and weigh anywhere between 40 and 90 pounds. Females tend to be a bit smaller than males. They belong to a group of herding dogs called the Belgian Shepherds, which includes the Belgian Tervuren, the Belgian sheepdog, also known as the Groenendael, and the Laekenois. Although the Malinois’ appearance is similar to a German Shepherd Dog, it has longer legs and smaller bones.

shepherds tervuren sheepdog malinois Eudyptula / Getty Images
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