10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois

When we think of the beautiful country of Belgium, the first thing that comes to mind is their mouthwatering, fluffy waffles and their delicious, creamy chocolate that will leave you wanting more. However, this Western European country is not only known for its delicious treats, but it is also home to some of the most loved four-legged companions, better known as the Belgian breeds.

According to Playbarkun, these Belgian dog breeds were originally bred for herding purposes, which is the reason behind their highly active nature, supreme intelligence, and outstanding wit. They were later domesticated and have become man’s favorite companions for jogging, walking, and hiking. For instance, the Belgian Malinois is one of the Belgian breeds known to make excellent pets. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the 10 dogs similar to the Belgian Malinois.

Belgian Sheepdog

10. Belgian Sheepdog

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Height: 23 to 25 inches
  • Average Weight: 55 to 77 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
  • Coat and Color: Thick double-coat, black color
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 14 years

The Belgian Sheepdog, also known as the Belgian Groenendael, is a medium-sized and very affectionate dog breed that loves the outdoors and human interaction. This means that they will not only be obsessed with you but will also require plenty of high-energy play time with you. A short walk around the block for fresh air will be enough, provided you also put in plenty of time for long hikes and runs.

According to Purewow, the Belgian Sheepdog is characterized by a long, thick black coat. This Belgian dog breed was named after the village of Groenendael, where the Belgian Sheepdog is believed to have originated. Back then, this dog breed was mainly used to herd cattle and sheep, but today the Belgian Groenendael is commonly used as service dogs trained for police work and search and rescue duties. Furthermore, they are used as therapy dogs and competitors in performance sports like agility, tracking, obedience, and more.

Belgian Laekenois

9. Belgian Laekenois

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Height: 24 to 26 inches (males), 22 to 24 inches (females)
  • Average Weight: 55 to 65 pounds
  • Coat: Medium-length; double coat with a curly and wiry texture
  • Coat color: Fawn, grey, or red with hints of black on the tail and muzzle
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

The Belgian Laekenois is among the four related Belgian shepherd breeds: the Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, and Belgian Malinois. The Laekenois is the rarest breed of the four and is named after the town of Laeken, part of the Brussels region. This Belgian dog breed was initially used to herd and guard livestock and safeguard people and their property. The Belgian Laekenois breed is characterized by a distinctive wiry coat that gives the dog a tousled appearance. Moreover, Laekenois are highly trainable dog breeds who often love plenty of action-packed playtimes.

They are also very protective of their families and are highly devoted to their owners. This breed is also affectionate with people and interacts impressively well with other dogs, making it the perfect family companion. Maintaining the Belgian Laekenois dog breed is easy since all you need to do is trim their distinctive coat at least twice a year. Trimming should be done by a professional to avoid trimming your dog’s fur too short, which may affect its appearance for a long period.

Belgian Tervuren

8. Belgian Tervuren

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Height: 24 to 26 inches (males), 22 to 24 inches (females)
  • Average Weight: 55 to 75 pounds (males), 45 to 60 pounds (females)
  • Coat: Thick, double coat
  • Coat color: Fawn, black, grey, and red, with stripes of black
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

Compared to the other Belgian dog breeds, the Belgian Tervuren breed is the one that closely resembles the Belgian Sheepdog. Both breeds are characterized by the same long, thick, double coat, but the Groenendael has a solid black coat, and the Tervuren’s coat has shades of tan with a black muzzle. The Belgian Tervuren is named after the town of Tervuren, where it is believed to have originated. Like the Belgian Malinois, the Tervuren dog breed requires plenty of exercises to burn its high body energy.

The Belgian Tervuren is a gentle and agile shepherd dog breed that is often considered a favorite due to its ability to adapt to its immediate environment. That said, you teach them intelligent dog skills and tricks with ease. These dog breeds often require a lot of attention and are very affectionate with their owners. Once fully accustomed to their new environment, you will easily notice their cheerful, heart-warming personality.


7. Schipperke

  • Group: Non-Sporting
  • Average Height: 10 to 13 inches
  • Average Weight: 10 to 16 pounds
  • Coat and color: Abundant, straight, and slightly rough to the touch. Shorter fur on the face, medium length of the body, and fronts of the legs; solid black coat.
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Schipperke dog breed is believed to have originated in the Flemish regions of Belgium, where they date back hundreds of years up to Medieval times. According to The Spruce Pets, this breed’s Flemish name translates to ‘little captain’ in English. Schipperkes were also very common in Belgian dockyards since they provided important services such as acting as guard dogs and companions to boat laborers. They also killed any disease-carrying rodents on the canal boats and barges. Like the Belgian Malinois, Schipperkes are characterized by small, cobby-like, thickset, sturdily built bodies and tailless, giving them a square appearance.

Despite its small body frame and stout legs, the schipperke breed is energetic enough to handle the long-miles run around the park comfortably. This dog breed is also characterized by strong front legs and jaws and is highly aware of their immediate environment, making them excellent watchdogs. Originally bred as vermin killers, Schipperkes will happily eliminate rats or other rodents in and around your home. These dog breeds are extremely charismatic, protective, and affectionate with their owners.

Brussels Griffon

6. Brussels Griffon

  • Group: Toy
  • Average Height: 7 to 10 inches
  • Average Weight: 6 to 10 pounds
  • Coat and colors: Slightly rough to the touch, coat in black, tan, beige, solid black, and red
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

According to I Heart Dogs, the Brussels Griffon is one of the smallest dog breeds native to Belgium and are best-known for its big personality. While the Brussels Griffon dog breed was originally used as a ratter in horse stables, it eventually made its way to royalty after Henrietta Maria, Belgium’s Queen was amazed at the dog breed in the late 1870s. As of today, the Brussels Griffon breed is considered the ultimate lap dog and companion.

While this dog breed may be ideal for apartment tenants because they do not require much space, they are more likely to upset your neighbors with their frequent barking. The Brussels Griffon is also considered a favorite due to their adorable scruffy face, charming nature, and soulful eyes that will certainly elevate your mood. Since they often crave human attention, it would be best if you do not leave them alone for a long time.

King Shepherd

5. King Shepherd

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Weight: 40-68kg
  • Average Height: 64-81cm
  • Coat: Long, rough, wired hair
  • Coat Color: Black with tan, sable, or black sable
  • Lifespan: 9-11 years

King Shepherds are a giant shepherd dog breed developed by American dog breeders David Turkeimer and Shelley Watts-Cross. They created this dog breed by using genes from the European German Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, American, and Alaskan Malamutes. Compared to the Belgian Malinois, King Shepherd is a highly trainable dog that is more muscular and powerful but is less aggressive. This dog breed was originally used as herding dogs, but today they are commonly used as watchdogs due to their huge body size and constant awareness of their immediate environment. Despite their large body stature, King Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and sweet and love to spend time with their owners.

Shiloh Shepherd

4. Shiloh Shepherd

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Height: 65-76cm
  • Average Weight: 40-59kg
  • Coat: Long, rough, wired hair
  • Coat color: Black with tan, sable, or black sable
  • Life Expectancy: 9-14 years

According to Pethelpful, the Shiloh Shepherd is one of the rarest dog breeds and looks very similar to the Belgian Malinois but with the Alaskan malamute genes. Shiloh Shepherds are very intelligent and energetic dog breeds; thus, they require plenty of exercises and a large amount of space to run and play. If you fail to do them with adequate exercise, Shiloh Shepherds tend to become aggressive and destructive. The breed’s long, rough, wired fur coat is mainly attributed to the Alaskan malamute gene.

Additionally, the Shiloh Shepherd is a highly trainable dog breed and often requires frequent mental stimulation to keep them calm and relaxed. Today, this dog breed is commonly found working with the local authorities, military, and search and rescue tasks. While they are considered much of a working dog breed, the Shiloh Shepherd loves plenty of playtime and attention from their owners. Provided you can fully accommodate their daily requirements; the Shiloh Shepherds will happily become an amazing addition to your family.

Bohemian Shepherd

3. Bohemian Shepherd

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Height: 55-65cm
  • Average Weight: 22-40kg
  • Coat: Long, thick fur with a rich undercoat
  • Coat Color: Black with tan, sable, or black sable
  • Life Expectancy: 9-13 years

The Bohemian Shepherd, also known as the Czech Sheepdog, Chodenhund, and Bohemian Herder, is a medium-sized dog quite similar to the Belgian Malinois. While major kennel clubs do not recognize this dog breed outside of the Czech Republic, Bohemian Shepherds have not been allowed at Danish kennel club events since 2013. The Czech Sheepdog is very similar to a German Shepherd with its deep brown eyes and tan coat colors but is less aggressive and more friendly. Furthermore, the Bohemian Shepherd dog breeds are usually smaller in size, less muscular, and have distinct personalities compared to the German Shepherds.

Since the 1300s, when the Bohemian Shepherd was commonly used for herding and guarding homesteads, they have adapted to more calm and relaxed family life. These shepherds are incredibly intelligent and very energetic, which means they make excellent watch dogs and don’t get bored easily. It would be best if you provide them with daily strenuous physical exercise and training to keep your dog distracted and out of trouble. Compared to the Belgian Malinois, the Bohemian Shepherds are low maintenance and have no major health complications.

Bouvier Des Flandres

2. Bouvier Des Flandres

  • Group: Herding
  • Average height: 24 to 28 inches
  • Average weight: 59 to 88 pounds
  • Coat and color: Long, shaggy, wired double coat in gray, brindle, fawn, black, or salt and pepper
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

As the name suggests, the Bouvier des Flandres breed originates from the Flanders area of Belgium. Like the various popular Belgian dog breeds such as the Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog, Laekenois, and Malinois, the Bouvier des Flandres was originally used as a livestock herder and a general farm dog. Bouviers are more powerful, and a bit larger than the other Belgian dog breeds with their heavily built bodies. The Bouvier des Flandres is distinctively known for its tousled rough fur characterized by lovely shads of brindle, black, salt and pepper, grey, and fawn.

Another notable characteristic of this dog breed is its calm and steady nature, which is unlikely for herding dog breeds. However, do not be fooled by the calm and friendly nature the dog displays with its owners and other familiar faces; the Bouvier des Flandres is very protective of its family and will immediately alert you of the presence of strangers. They also do not interact well with other pets, so it is advisable first to socialize them with your other pets beforehand.

Dutch Shepherd

1. Dutch Shepherd

  • Group: Herding
  • Average Height: 55-65cm
  • Average Weight: 23-32kg
  • Coat and color: long, rough, wired coat; black with tan, sable, or black sable
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

According to Rover, the Dutch Shepherd is a highly active herding dog breed that has been around for more than one century. This breed is often confused with the German Shepherd due to their similar stunning brindle coat. Dutch Shepherd dogs were originally bred by the Dutch farmers and shepherds who forced them to adapt to the tough farm conditions.

Apart from being considered the best shepherd dog breed and most competent at guarding, agility, obedience, and herding, the Dutch Shepherd is an amazing companion who is very affectionate and protective of its owners and family. They are also believed to be highly trainable dogs and easily socialize with other animals. Dutch Shepherds are incredibly alert and energetic, making them the perfect watchdogs.

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