The Belgian Malinois
is often confused with a German Shepherd.
Here are guidelines that will help identify the differences.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Most Malinois gives the appearance of a generally square
dog being about as long in body as it is tall. The Malinois is a very natural
looking dog and will give an appearance of "balance" not too long, in body, or
too tall. Many Malinois are not square however so there can be exceptions.
Malinois walk very upright on their toes and light on their feet. The Malinois
will give an impression of agility, activity, and speed. The Malinois head is
generally more "refined" than a GSD, being more "clean cut" and less heavy than
a GSD The GSD has a generally longer body in relation to his height and is
rectangular in shape. The GSD tends to have a heavier longer stride moving
lower on its feet as it walks.. A GSD tends to have a more "sloping" (topline)
back, from its withers to hind quarters.
SIZE: Male Malinois are generally 23-27" tall, 55-75#, Females are generally
21-25" tall 40-60#. It is not at all uncommon for a Malinois to be shorter or
taller than these guidelines. Malinois are generally not as "heavy" in body and
bone than a GSD.
COAT & COLOR: "Most" Malinois have a double coat that includes varying amounts
of undercoat [like a GSD] some Malinois have minimal undercoat. A dog with
out any undercoat, or a slick coat of a Dane or a Doberman, should be
questioned as being pure. The Malinois is fawn color, ranging from the color
of sand, to a deep reddish brown. Malinois will have varying amounts of black
tipped hairs often seen on the chest and throughout the body. Most Malinois
have black to brown ears, and will have some blackening on the topside of their
tail. Malinois may have white markings on their chest and toes. The Malinois
coat is a double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a more harsh and
straight topcoat. The length of a Malinois coat can vary on individuals and
family lines, from about 1.5" to 3.5" in length. The coat is somewhat longer
on the back of the rear legs, on the tail and around the neck forming a
collerette. The coat is very short on head, ears and lower legs. Most
Malinois have a "black' mask on their face, for some individuals it is minimal
or faded, other masks will to cover the entire head. It is not uncommon for
young adults to have white "frosting" on around their gums and muzzle. Malinois
are not seen with a "black" saddle like you may find on a GSD, or a GSD mix.
GSDs generally have a thicker and longer coat and commonly have a black saddle.
EARS: Malinois ears are dark brown/black in color, are triangular and should be
stiff and standing and erect They are generally smaller than GSD ears.
EYES: Malinois eyes can be light to dark brown.