Aphrodite ☼ asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

Malinois vs. German Shepherd Dog?

I found a good debate topic! lol

I know relatively little about both breeds, even less about Malinois.

I know they are both working breeds and have good drives, so being a Doberman owner, I may actually find one of these breeds to my liking one day.

So tell me, what are the pros and cons of both breeds and which one would you rather own? (I like to learn lol)

21 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I have been involved with Malinois longer then most people here have been alive. First back in Europe in the KNPV and then the NVBK. I knew what a Malinois was when 98% of people had never heard, never mind seen one. I owned the first Malinois in the USA to work the streets as a police dog, I have imported and trained hundreds upon hundreds of them.

    Based on that, I have seen what most lines have to offer and have seen some good and some bad ones and I will tell you what I know.

    The Dutch Mals are mostly mixes of Mals and GSD's, Great Danes, Pit bulls, you name it, its in there. There are no papered dogs in Holland and the 2% that are come with "false papers"!!

    The KNPV requires dogs that will eventually do police work and as a result their dogs have a ton of prey drive and some defense. They are not challenged enough in my opinion by the helper nor the environment, therefore that is reflected in their quality.

    KNPV, just like FR and Sch is a choreographed routine, not very exciting to watch, other then the courage test!

    I have imported a TON of them here, wayyy back when a titled one was selling for $1200 as opposed to the $6500 now and I know that while they can do police work, they are lacking in nerve.

    The Belgian dogs out of the NVBK ARE bigger then all other Mals because of certain breeding standards within the program. The NVBK produces Mals that are monsters, my personal dog here was 92 pounds, HUGE by Mal standards.

    Those dogs have nerves of steel and balls of Iron. Clear heads and no environmental sensitivities.

    They have good prey drives, but, are CIVIL as all hell and their aggression levels are legendary.

    Those are the dogs that not too many people can actually handle. There is no set program in the NVBK, the judge decides that day on what the dog will do and face in the ring.

    The rest of the Mals that are doing Sch and FR are, in my opinion nice little dogs that do well in anything that is asked of them, as long as they can bite.

    I have worked these dogs in detection, I have worked them in apprehension, I have taken them with me to the Middle East and I have tested them more severely then they would ever be tested here...so far, no failures or disappointments.

    In the last 20 years they have dominated the working dog arena by being more available, more workable, cheaper and easier to get. Because I am not blind to my breed, I will tell you now that a lot of them suffer from weak nerves and those that don't know it will just think its prey drive.

    They are not easy dogs to handle because of that huge prey drive and most of them do not have an off switch, hence they suck as house dogs.

    I can go on and on, but, if there are any questions, I will be happy to answer them, so....

    As far as GSD's...some of them look really nice!!!

    Source(s): Realist
  • 1 decade ago

    I like the German Shepherd better, Belgians seem to be very hyper compared to the German Shepherd, I guess if your using the Belgian for apprehension work that's a good thing but I wouldn't want a Hyper dog during a Bomb search.

    We have both a Mal and a GSD on our DP. I have my own GSD I have seen both dogs at work and it seems that while the Mal has the best ball drive and more hyper, the GSD is more focused and obedient, to say the least. The Malanois definitely is hyper and has a severe "separation anxiety" from her handler.

    Here is a recent case about a Mal, I noticed quite a bit of Mals have problems letting go, and sometimes even listening. Maybe about 3/10 have that problem but that is 3 to many.

    An Alameda police dog trying to flush out a burglary suspect was shot and killed by an officer Thursday after the dog attacked her and bit her arm,

    Billy, a Belgian Malinois, and his handler were among those responding to a burglary at the Coast Guard recruiting center at 660 Central Ave. shortly before 6:15 a.m.

    Billy bit a uniformed officer assisting on the call. The dog did not let go when his handler ordered him to do so, and the officer being bitten shot him three times, killing him.

    @Kaper: Yeah I think 3 shots was a alittle to much I don't understand why they wasn't able to get the dog to release I guess the Officer that did get attacked went into panic mode, either way it seems like it was a messy situation. From what I heard the Officer that did get attacked was chasing the suspect when the K-9 Handler released his dog, and the Officer that got attacked was in the K-9s Site. Here in Florida when you release a dog all other Officers need to back off and stay back, not run with the dog or it will spell disaster.

    After talking about all this, it reminds me of this chase.


    Youtube thumbnail


    I don't know how other Depts train their dogs but I hear some strange stuff sometimes.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    First off, I understand you don't want a bully breed... but why not get a bully breed, train him well... and put an effort into dismissing the notion that they are bad dogs? Prove them wrong! But I understand if you don't want a certain kind.. to each his own... The Belgian Malinois is a beautiful, athletic dog... they need exercise as does the other 4 breeds.. a ten minute walk will not cut it. More like a 30 minute run a couple times a day. These dogs were bred to run all day in a field... the less exercise they get, the more destructive they become, and if you plan on being away for a long period of time.. except them to destroy your home. Dog's also are better trained when they are tired and devoid of pent up energy. The German Shepherd is the largest of the 5 breeds you mentioned. They also are pretty strong willed. What does this mean? You have to really know your stuff, and know it well enough to be truly confident in your ability to control this dog. If not, he will not respect you... you can shout and scream at the dog all you want, he will not respect you. You have to be his master by being calm and assertive. I would not recommend this for a first dog simply because of the issues you will face learning how to control him. Nothing says you will not be a great owner, and I am sure there are many people who have had a GS for a first dog and did just fine... but compared to the rest.. this one will be the most difficult to handle. This would be a great dog for home defense if properly trained... but make sure he doesnt slip through the door when the pizza guy comes :) Both the Malinois and the GS need socializing at an early age along with consistent exercise. they are very bright and obedient dogs, they are determined and observant with strong protective and territorial instincts.You need a firm hand to handle these dogs, but their mental capacity and athletic ability are very high... I simply do not recommend these breeds to a new dog owner. The Border Collie is probably one of the most intelligent and athletic dogs out there... They are smart, and learn quick.. and will astound you at what they can accomplish... This dog requires a LOT of exercise but for someone who runs or jogs, it shouldn't be a problem. They will certainly let you know if someone is trying to break into your home... but they probably wont be able to physically stop someone attacking you. If you can exercise them enough, I believe they would be the perfect dog for you. If you are looking for home protection, they will be more likely to lick the hand of the burglar than to bite him... But I own a corgi who can only bark.. and no one comes near my house without me knowing.. and that right there, helps more than you can imagine. The other two dogs, I am not so familiar with, but they are similar to the Border Collie... the Australian shepherd is very playful and energetic but without mental stimulation and exercise, they can become destructive at home... I would recommend the Border Collie!!!! All of the dogs make great watch dogs to inform you of what's going on... hope this helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    On average, mallies are smaller than a GSD, lighter in build, less health issues, high prey drive, lower threshold to prey drive, much less of an "off switch", and generally worse nerves/more sensitive than your average working line GSD.

    I like the saying that a malinois is basically a small german shepherd on crack cocaine.

    I wouldn't get a mally unless you wanted to actually work the dog every single day. If you are more into having a family pet that you can also do schutzhund with in the weekends, or a dog that will protect your family against an intruder but hang out with your kids during the day, then a GSD would win hands down.

    Some mallys that I've met are very, very sharp and a liability to own. Pick your breeder carefully.

    Source(s): Own a mally, have worked GSD.
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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Depends on your lifestyle. Belgian Malinois are found most popular and happiest when working or competing in a sport. Theu aren't good family dogs for the novice dog owner. You need experience to own a Malinois. Very high energy, capable of anything, they are more itense than the German shepherd, so you see kore Malinois as police k9s or military dogs. The people who do own a Malinois often are involved in a sport or the dog is a worker. Others spend hours everyday doing obedience, let me say Malinois are an endless source of energy. They do have an off switch, but very rarely you will see it.

    German shepherds are less extreme, not as high energy and don't require as much attention. German shepherds are more laid back, and are more popular as a family dog. They're perfect for first time dog owners.

    But honestly it depends on you. How much experience, time, and patience you have will measure it out between the two.

  • 1 decade ago

    The malinois is becoming more common in working as a police dog.

    The Malinois is used in personal protection, detection, police work, search and rescue, and sport work.

    German Shepherds have always been the top breed of dog to work with police.

    German Shepherds are used in police work such as tracking down a criminal, patrolling troubled areas, detection and holding of suspets, and some are also trained to parachute from from air craft.

    They are both great working dogs, but if I could have my choice I think....oh this is hard, well both?

    As appearance goes, I like the nicely reputably bred GSD's with a good temperment. How ever all I see here are untrained, bad tempermented, long legged, and long snout what they call "german shepheds". I haven't been impressed by one because I only see the BYB bred ones, never a reputably bred one.

    As for the malinois, I like them because they are a slight bit leaner, but the German Shepherd is more common for "work"

  • 1 decade ago

    As far as looks I think I prefer a well bred malinois. Shorter hair and a bit leaner in general. Plus I feel that GSD are far to popular for my liking (even though APBTs are too). I think some of the popularity of the breed and bad breeding/examples of the breed has sort of ruined it for me ever wanting to own one.

    I have not worked with well bred working examples of the breeds so I can't say anything about that. Although watching different protection and working videos it seems that the mals have a higher prey drive. I could be wrong, but that's just what I have noticed and I am sure it also depends on the individual dog and the lines.

    ETA: Mal people is this a good example of what the breed should look like? I love this look and I also tend to like the more driven difficult dogs for some reason (ie bully breeds lol)


  • 4 years ago

    Call your dog's name (once) and treat him when he looks at you. After awhile, praise most of the time and treat occasionally. Learn here https://tr.im/qadDG

    Start inside, then work your way outside on the leash. Let him sniff around and call his name when he seems focused on something else. Treat and praise if he looks at you, take him inside if he doesn't. Keep doing this ( for weeks/months - real training takes time) and work your way off leash. Eventually your dog will stop what he's doing an focus on you when you want him to.

    The problem that most people have with teaching a recall (come) is that they only try to do it when the dog is doing something far more fun than performing the command. You have to teach the dog that coming to you when you call is the very most fun thing he could do. Go outside with a friend and a big bag of treats split between you. Go about 10 feet from eachother, then take turns saying the word "come" once and making a HUGE deal of praising him with each step he takes towards you, then treat and praise even more when he gets there. As he gets better, work your way further apart. When he's mastered that, include other distractions like other dogs or noisy toys. Keep making a HUGE deal of praising him when he does it right, and he will learn a flawless recall.

  • Coley
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Ok I am not overly familiar with either breed. With that said my experience with a Mal has been 2 dog, both trained narcotics dogs. My experience with GSD has been other peoples pets. So can you honestly compare?

    Looks...I Love the Mal. Esp the ones with the very dark faces. I love the size, the smoother coat, the more athletic agile build. Just a sexy beast in my eyes :p

    Temperament. I can see the Mal is higher strung. More energy to harness. They seen to be a very intense and alert dog. If that is the word for it? When I spoke to the handlers of these dogs both said they have a high capacity for learning but need a very strong consistent person to teach them. Both dogs had tons of drive...again working dogs so they were chosen for that. I really fell in love with them. Both were dogs we ended up boarding and they minded like no ones business for me. However, one of our techs was a bit of a softy and push over and you could see the dog identified that right away. I would have to say for the typical family seeking a pet...I do not believe this is a good choice at all! I think this breed is all working dog. I also agree with others that it is far less ruined than the GSD.

    Biggest con for the GSD is health and indiscriminate breeding. I think it would be harder to find a well bred GSD. I think this would make a better family dog as they do tend to be mellower and easy to work with in relation to the other.

    If I had to chose between these 2 dogs...I would probably go with the GSD now. Only because I have a family and more time restraints. But it is the Mal I certainly prefer. If I were single I would have chosen the Mal with no hesitations as I would have had the time to properly train and exercise and just work a dog of this caliber.

    It's not much but my 2 cents hehe (sorry)

  • 12345
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I do love this debate too. At heart, I am a GSD girl, but seeing some of the video Greek has has made me think about switching sides, just to see.

    I only recently met working Mals. WOW. That is all I can say. We have one GSD here that even comes close to the, um, intensity of these dogs.

    Starred for those who know both breeds much better.

    It is much harder to find a good (ie working ability) GSD than it is to find a Mal.

    @Pride - really? he shot the dog 3 times? The US is so different from Canada.

    First, even if he didn't "out", the handler should have been able to at least hack him off.

    Second, 3 shots?


    He better have been going after my throat for me to fire my weapon.


    Oh my, that was hilarious. How embarrasing.


    As for looks, IMO there is nothing that tops a well put together GSD. I love their look and their movement.

  • I'm not going to pretend to know any of this stuff from experience (since I don't really have any!), but it is to my understanding that the Malinois has more drive and is less popular. Since it is not even close to being as popular as the GSD is, the breed is not being ruined by show breeders and BYBs like GSDs are.

    Malinois = fewer genetic health problems and higher working drive(?)

    GSD = Health problems galore and prone to weak temperaments because of BYBs and show breeders.

    I myself still prefer a working line GSD for their look and just because I'm more familiar with them. If I had the choice between the two breeds, I'd still choose the GSD.

    I'm waiting for the experienced answers.

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