Meet the Malinut
The Malinois (Mal’-N-Wah), or as he is affectionately called, the Malinut, is an active, beautiful, intelligent Belgian breed. The Malinois is the prototype Shepherd breed. It is from the Malinois that his longhaired cousins—the Tervuren and Groenendael (Sheepdog), come from. The Laekenois (the "other" Belgian Shepherd variety), with its hard wiry coat, pre-dates the Malinois. But the history of the Laeken and the Malinois are inextricably intertwined. The Malinois coat consists of a resilient, somewhat water repellent outer coat and a soft downy undercoat. The base color ranges from fawn to rich mahogany, with a black mask and tipping to the mane and tail. The coat is short, a little over an inch long, with slightly longer hair on the mane and tail, especially in males. Do not be fooled by the short coat. Malinois do shed seasonally—but for most dogs it’s over in a week with some dedicated raking, and back to being a wash and wear dog.
While a few Malinois are still used for herding today, the Malinois has transferred his talents very successfully to other arenas. Malinois are the premier choice for law enforcement–excelling at patrol work, narcotics and explosives detection, tracking/trailing, and search & rescue. They also excel in the European ring sports, schutzhund, obedience, agility, flyball, scent hurdle, and weight pull. The Malinois has been bred to do a job, and do it well.
It is precisely this "get the job done" attitude that appeals to many people, but ownership of a Malinois is not to be taken lightly. The Malinois can be a nonstop blur of activity–racing from one activity to the next. If you don’t provide an activity for him, he’ll find one himself. If you do not have the time or inclination to provide daily, strenuous exercise, do NOT get a Malinois. As a shepherd breed, the Malinois possesses a certain amount of inherent watchfulness. New owners need to expose puppies and young dogs to new situations and people of all ages–if you’re unwilling to do this, do NOT get a Malinois. If, on the other hand, you want a sensitive, devoted, demanding, physical(!) companion that’s up for anything you could ask–get a Malinois.