The Dutch Shepherd and Malinois breeds were both bred for similar purposes – to be working dogs. As a result, these dogs have plenty in common, but their unique histories mean that there are some distinct differences as well. Here is a comparison of the Dutch Shepherd and Belgian Malinois:
A Quick Overview
Here is a brief comparison of the two breeds:
|Average Height||21.5 – 24.5 inches|
|Average Weight||42 – 7lbs|
|Life Span||11 – 14 years|
|Coat||Double coat, Shorthair, Long hair, Wirehair|
|Dog Friendly||Moderately, with proper socialization|
|Preferred Climate||Moderate to cool|
|Average Height||22 – 26 inches|
|Average Weight||40 – 80lbs|
|Life Span||14 – 16 years|
|Coat||Double coat, short|
|Preferred Climate||Moderate to cool|
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois – Breed History
As their name suggests, this breed originates from the Netherlands. What makes them special is that they are a naturally-bred dog that has evolved without the help of crossbreeding programs.
The Dutch Shepherd is a versatile dog who could perform a wide variety of tasks. This included herding livestock, keeping hens in line, gathering cows for milking, and even pulling carts.
They may not serve these purposes any longer, but the Dutch Shepherd is still an important part of society. They work as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even guide dogs.
In addition to this breed’s many capabilities, they are considered hardy. Dutch Shepherds are capable of surviving in harsh and spartan territories.
The Malinois was first bred around the city of Malines in Belgium. Breeders placed a sharp focus on work ethic and character. The result was one of the best livestock herders of all breeds.
Their fame as a working breed ensures that these dogs continued to be recruited and trained as military and police dogs, even today.
It should be noted that the Malinois is closely related to other Belgian herding dogs – the Tervuren, Laekenois, and Belgian Shepherd. In certain regions, they are considered as a single breed and are referred to as the Belgian Sheepdog.
In the United States, however, they are considered a separate and unique breed.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois – Physical Characteristics
Here is a closer look at how the Dutch Shepherd and Malinois differ in terms of their external appearance:
General Physical Appearance
The Dutch Shepherd has a wedge-shaped head that is proportionate to its body, with a powerful jaw. Their eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and almost always dark. Their ears are small but erect.
The Malinois bears a startling resemblance to a German Shepherd, with a chiseled face and an erect head. Their eyes may be brown or dark brown and are medium-sized and slightly almond-shaped. Their ears are triangular, with noticeably pointed tips.
Size and Physique
The Dutch Shepherd is more likely to fall into the category of mid-sized dogs, although some may be closer to a large breed. There isn’t as much discrepancy between males and females.
This dog has an athletic but lean physique, with a deep and long chest where the ribs are slightly sprung. The chest is well developed and the stomach is slightly tucked in, in comparison.
Their legs are powerful and well-muscled. The tail hangs straight down when at rest, although it can have a slight curve.
The Malinois is a larger, well-muscled dog. The females of the breed tend to be smaller than the males. Some dogs can be larger than the average, although this isn’t considered a breed standard.
The dog is well-proportioned with a moderate-sized chest that is prominent but doesn’t hang overly low. The abdomen is slightly tucked in, but this is not as noticeable as in the Dutch Shepherd.
The legs on the Malinois are muscular but not overly bulky.
Dutch Shepherds have one of three types of coats. In the short coat, the outermost layer is shorter, with the longer one being thick and woolly. It is long and straight, although it can feel quite rough to the touch.
The rough coat has a tousled texture, with the outer coat being dense and rough. The undercoat is just as dense and woolly.
The most common coat color for Dutch Shepherds is the brindle pattern, where the base color is golden or silver. The other shade in the pattern may be black or brown, with some white patches.
With Malinois, the coat is short and straight, with a weatherproof topcoat. The undercoat is thick and fluffy. Their coloring tends to range from a fawn to mahogany color. These dogs will have a black mask on their face.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Life Expectancy and Health
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Thyroid conditions
The Malinois does have a higher-than-average lifespan and can live several years longer than other medium-sized to large-sized breeds. The conditions to watch out for with this breed are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Ophthalmological conditions
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Temperament
The Dutch Shepherd is a great family dog who is highly affectionate and loves humans. They may not be the best dogs to have around kids, though. They are a high-energy breed with a tendency for herding. As a result, it’s best to always keep an eye on your dog when they are around little ones.
These dogs have a protective streak and will defend its family, no matter the circumstances. They are also quite playful and love being active with people they love. The Dutch Shepherd is quite adaptable and can handle new situations without too many problems.
It should be noted that these dogs can be rather aloof around strangers, however. Due to this, it is important to socialize your dogs at a young age. This breed may not always get along with other dogs but proper socialization and growing up around dogs can help this situation.
The Malinois is also a family-oriented dog, although you may find this pup bonding to one individual over others. When it does form a bond, though, you can guarantee that it will be a strong one.
Not only will this dog be incredibly loyal, but the Malinois requires a great deal of attention from its humans as well. If you ignore your dog or leave it alone for long periods, this pup will act out. So be on your guard, and don’t neglect them.
Due to their high energy and herding tendencies, these are not the best dogs to have around very young kids. These dogs may also not take to strangers too kindly and you will need to socialize your dog early on.
If trained properly and raised alongside other dogs, this breed may be able to get along with other dogs, but there is no guarantee.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Feeding Requirements
Neither the Dutch Shepherd nor the Malinois has any special nutrition requirements. You simply have to choose a high-quality food that contains high-quality ingredients without any fillers or preservatives.
When choosing a dog food, make sure to select one that is right for your dog’s size. As for the serving size, follow the instructions for your dog’s age, size, and activity level.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Exercise Needs
The Dutch Shepherd is a relatively high-energy breed and does require regular exercise. This pup must get at least one long, vigorous walk each day. To cater to your dog’s exercise needs properly, aim to play with them for at least half an hour every day as well.
The Malinois needs a significant amount of physical activity every day. One walk every day isn’t going to be enough. Try to break up their exercise into two or more sessions each day. In addition to an energetic walk, you will also need to play fetch and Frisbee with them.
Don’t be afraid to take your dog on walks or see if they take to dog sports, either.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Training
With the Dutch Shepherd, obedience training should start at a young age so that your it won’t develop an independent or dominant streak. Early socialization is key as well.
Due to their keen intelligence, the Dutch Shepherd can be taught a wide variety of commands. It is important to keep training sessions short, though, as your dog will pick up things quickly. Carry on for too long and your pup may get bored. Positive reinforcement should be your main focus – stay away from punishment.
For the Malinois, you need to start socialization and training from the moment your dog is brought home. This can help them overcome certain instinctual traits that may cause them to be destructive.
This breed is quite intelligent and does take to training quite well. You will be able to teach them numerous commands and tasks. Just remember to always use positive reinforcement to make the lessons stick in their mind.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Space and Living Requirements
The Dutch Shepherd and the Malinois have similar space requirements. These dogs do best in homes, preferably those with yards. This allows them to get exercise throughout the day.
These dogs may be able to thrive in apartments, but they must be given enough daily exercise every day.
As for the climate, the double coats of both dogs mean that they can handle cooler temperatures. They may prefer it as well. It is important to remember that these dogs will not handle the bitter cold very well, though.
If the temperatures are close to freezing or if it is snowing heavily, it is unlikely that these dogs will be able to spend more than half an hour outdoors. They should never be left by themselves for extended periods.
They do not do well in warmer climates. As such, they should be kept inside for most of the day during the summer, preferably with a fan or air conditioning. Try to take out these dogs only when the sun is low – either early morning or late in the evening.
Dutch Shepherd vs. Malinois: Grooming
The long-haired Dutch Shepherd needs to be brushed once a week, while a short-haired dog can be brushed occasionally. Wire-haired Dutch Shepherds can be combed just once a month, but you will need to hand strip it twice a year. When the dogs enter the shedding season, you should increase the frequency of brushing.
Depending on how much your Malinois sheds, you can brush them once a week or several times a week. Apart from this, though, they don’t require much upkeep. You can brush them every day when shedding season begins.
Dutch Shepherd vs Malinois: Which Is the Right Breed For You?
In the end, you need to determine which breed is right for your current situation and environment.
If you are looking for an affectionate dog with a moderate amount of energy, intelligence, and good work ethic, the Dutch Shepherd should be at the top of your list.
On the other hand, if you prefer active dogs who will love you just as much as you love them, the Malinois is a clear choice. This pup also has the additional benefit of living longer than a Dutch Shepherd.
This isn’t a light decision so always consider your options carefully. Remember, regardless of which dog you choose, you will need to care for your dog every day. This includes giving them plenty of nutrition, love, exercise, and healthcare. So, you need to think long and hard before deciding as it will affect your dog’s future and wellbeing, as well as yours.
Some dogs like the Malinois can require a bit more attention, as they need a greater amount of exercise. These dogs can be quite clingy as well. These are all things that you should factor in before settling on a dog to bring home to your family.