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Have you ever confidently guessed the breed of someone’s dog, only to be corrected with a breed you’ve never heard of? That is exactly what happened to me, the first time I ever met a Belgian Malinois.
The Belgian Malinois is a determined, working breed favored for their stamina and intelligence. They are often mistaken for the German Shepard. These athletic beauties are simply one of a kind, especially when it comes to working, and are regarded as one of the world’s smartest dog breeds!
You may be wondering though, do Belgian Malinois shed?
If you’re currently looking for a new fur-baby, it’s crucial to do your research on different dog breeds. You’ll need to ask yourself questions like, “What’s right for my family and my/our lifestyle?” Another question that many people forget to consider is, “What kind of temperament am I looking for in a dog?
It’s important to note that Belgian Malinois are high energy dogs. They are not known to be a typical family pet, but with proper training can make great companions. Getting the best dog collar for your Belgian Malinois is very important to train them.
However, these dogs are like workhorses and are not meant for being idle. If you’re not an active person, I would suggest something more like a Basset Hound, as opposed to a Belgian Malinois.
These dogs are incredibly athletic and require at least 2 hours of steady exercise per day. It’s crucial to get them into obedience training as soon as possible to ensure that they have manners and, you know, will listen to you.
Like a hyper child, a dog that doesn’t know any better can become a handful very quickly. Their high energy and rugged athleticism can get them into a lot of trouble, which can be overwhelming for someone who isn’t ready for it.
Another important factor that will influence your choice of dog breed is allergies in your home. Short hair does not always mean less shedding. Truthfully, all animals with fur will shed. There is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent shedding completely.
What this means is that no dog is purely hypoallergenic. The term implies that they shed the least, making those breeds the least likely to trigger dog hair and dander allergies. Poodles and Schnauzers are among the hypoallergenic breeds, but the Belgian Malinois is not.
Please feel free to read our guide called Are Belgian Malinois Hypoallergenic?
So, Do Belgian Malinois Shed?
Short Answer. Yes, they do.
Long Answer: The Belgian Malinois is characterized as an average/seasonal shedder, which means they shed year-round, but they shed more heavily during shedding season.
These dogs are perfect for being outdoors and their coat is specifically tailored to withstand all types of weather. They have a waterproof double coat that they will drop twice a year to adapt to the different seasons. Their coat is versatile and tough, just like they are.
Shedding is a natural process and is nothing to be that concerned about. If you’re willing to brush your dog a couple of times a week, you’ll be just fine in the shedding department.
To learn more about how a Belgian Malinois coat works, let’s peek into these super dogs’ history!
Belgian Malinois History
Where do you think the Belgian Malinois is from?
You guessed it! Belgium!
Named after the region they come from, these noble canines are from the Malines Region in Belgium. They are descendants of the Belgian Shepard and were bred in the 19th century for herding and other farm purposes.
They soon caught the Western world’s attention and eventually made their way to North America in 1911 but weren’t officially recognized as a breed until the 50s. By this time, the Malinois population had been seriously affected by both World Wars because they were used for medical and ammo transport.
Nowadays, Belgian Malinois are highly sought out for law enforcement, security, and military purposes as well. They’re one of the most revered breeds used by the Navy SEALS and can even be trained to skydive! Now that is bravery!
Here’s a cool fact for you!
A Belgian Malinois named Cairo was a crucial part of SEAL Team 6 and helped capture Osama Bin Laden. If you can’t already tell, Malinois have a lot of heart and is among the most dedicated and fearless working breeds globally.
Belgian Malinois Coat Characteristics:
Belgian Malinois have a two-layered weather-resistant coat that protects them from all the elements of an outdoor working dog. Their sturdy coat is almost as finely engineered as the breed itself is made to withstand the elements of an outdoor lifestyle.
Their dense undercoat helps to keep them warm during the winter months. It’s made up of shorter and thicker hair. At the same time, their longer outer layer has a rougher, almost stiff feeling, attributing to the coat’s water resistance.
It’s quite common for a Malinois to be mistaken for a German Shepard, even though they are leaner and typically have shorter coats. Their closest relative is the Belgian Shepard. Other dogs that look like Belgian Malinois are the Dutch Shepard, the East-European Shepard, and the Tervuren.
The “standard” for the Belgian Malinois coat is typically fawn, which is a lighter shade of tan, with black tips. This creates a sort of ombre or marbling effect in some dogs.
Other colors can range from all black to mahogany. The common feature among every color variation is the black “mask” covering most of their face, from their eyes to their nose.
When Do Belgian Malinois Shed The Most?
The shedding season for the Belgian Malinois happens twice a year, in the spring and the fall. Though they shed throughout the year, this is when your dog will start dropping clumps of hair, instead of just the regular strands that you can get rid of with a lint roller.
In the spring, you’ll notice your Malinois shedding more than usual. You may even start to ask, “Why is my Belgian Malinois shedding so much?”
Don’t worry; they’re just getting rid of that fluffy winter coat to make room for a thinner undercoat for the warmer months ahead. Their outer coat will stay slightly longer to keep them water-resistant.
They’ll still have an undercoat during the summer, but it will just be much thinner to keep them cool. When the weather starts to cool off again in the fall, they’ll shed the thinner summer coat and grow their thicker winter coat again.
As whacky as it sounds, their undercoat helps to keep them cool during the summer. That’s why most groomers recommend against clipping a dog “down to the bark”. This is similar for other breeds with thicker coats like the Golden Retriever, German Shepard, and Bernese Mountain Dog.
Not only does it provide an extra layer of protection from the sun, but their undercoat also helps your Malinois regulate their body temperature. So, if you remove it, your pup can overheat in the sun.
During the shedding season, you’re going to want to brush your Malinois every day to help them along with the process and get rid of any dirt or bacteria build-up. Brushing will make shedding season a breeze!
Can I Change How Much My Belgian Malinois Sheds?
It’s important to remember that it’s impossible and unethical to prevent any animal from shedding. It’s a natural process the Belgian Malinois has to go through, whether we like it or not. That being said, Malinois shedding is manageable.
Many factors play into how much your dog will shed. You already know that the seasons will affect how much your Malinois will shed, but there are other components.
Another critical element is exercise. Is your dog getting the proper amount of exercise time every day? Remember, they’re high energy dogs that require a good workout.
Other things that can affect shedding is age. Belgian Malinois puppies have different fur than they do when they’re adults. You’ll probably notice your new puppy shedding his fuzzy coat, trading it in for a much sleeker look. This usually happens when they reach six months.
Older dogs will shed a little more frequently than a younger adult, which is equivalent to our grey hairs. They may also need more grooming than before.
When dogs age, they tend to produce more oil, which can build up and cause skin conditions for your dog. We’ll get into skin conditions in a moment.
Regular grooming can make all the difference. Grooming your Malinois will involve more brushing than bathing. You’ll probably bathe your Belgian Malinois after they go for a run in the mud or a roll in the pasture. As a rule, they only need to be bathed once a month.
Brushing your Malinois just once a week can vastly cut down the amount of hair they regularly leave behind them. During shedding season, bump that up to once a day. Using the right brush for a Belgian Malinois can make grooming so much easier.
When you’re choosing a brush for your pup, you’ll want to find a fine-tooth brush that gets right down to the undercoat. A fine-tooth brush is the best brush for Belgian Malinois. The Furminator is a popular favorite among Malinois moms and dads!
Are There Any Health Issues Related To Their Coat?
While often overlooked, your dog’s physical health can typically be shown by his coat. If it’s dull, dry, and shedding during the off-season, it may be due to a lack of vitamins and nutrients.
Belgian Malinois use up a lot of energy and nutrients, which needs to be replenished by a wholesome, protein-rich diet.
Consult your vet to see what food is best for your fur-baby. After all, “you are what you eat.” When they eat well, it’ll show.
Skin conditions are also a big part of how much your pup sheds. It’s common for Belgian Malinois to have thyroid deficiencies, which leads to dry skin and unusual loss of fur.
Mange is a disease caused by mites that causes rapid hair loss. This skin disease is unfortunately quite common in canine species like fox and coyotes. It can easily be transmitted to your dog.
If your Malinois is a farm dog that works on livestock protection, you will want to beware of them attacking predators like these. If they’re close enough to bite a coyote, they’re close enough to contract mange.
Fleas, ticks, and lice are other pests that can cause your Malinois to scratch or bite their fur right off. Remember to use vet-recommended flea and tick control and regularly check for them!
When it comes to man’s best friend, you can never be too safe. With the growing number of ticks, it’s just the smart thing to do!
Other conditions include allergies, which can vary from food allergies to the type of shampoo you’re using to bathe your furry friend.
Could you be bathing him too much? The Belgian Malinois doesn’t need to be bathed more than once a month, or if they go for a mud bath!
How often do you brush your dog? If you’re not brushing enough, or with an improper brush, he might drop a little more hair than usual.
The Belgian Malinois is an incredibly versatile breed that demonstrates skills like no other! Their obedience and trainability make them highly sought out for working purposes, which they love to do.
These Belgian beauties love to work, and they live for that purpose, whether it’s herding or skydiving! They are true athletes with a whole lot of heart and a whole lot of hair.
While many factors can play into how much your Malinois can shed, it’s fair to say that they do shed regularly. You should be ready to brush them daily during the shedding season.
Remember that the Belgian Malinois coat can stand up against the weather. Their fur is custom made for them and plays a significant role in protecting your fur-baby from the elements.
All this being said, Malinois shedding is 100% manageable. The amount of hair left behind is just a small price to pay for such a terrific dog.
They may not be for everyone, but if you’re up for the energy and willing to put in the effort to train them properly, the Belgian Malinois can be the “pawfect” pup!
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Belgian Malinois.
Do Belgian Malinois Like To Cuddle?
Typically, you wouldn’t think to pick a dog as active as a Belgian Malinois to be your first choice of cuddle-buddy, especially when most pictures of these magnificent creatures are Military photos. It could be intimidating for someone who doesn’t know how great a Malinois can be!
Even as a dog primarily used in war, their handlers have often reported having significant bonds with their dogs and often end up adopting them upon their military discharge.
They’re not your average family pet, that’s for sure. But they are fiercely loyal and devoted to their owners. They can even be quite affectionate and very protective of children. When trained and handled correctly, they could be a great addition to your family!
As a dog breed known for Olympian-level stamina, they can run for hours. But, after a long day of herding, protecting, or just running, your Malinois wants nothing more than to cuddle up with you and drift off to sleep.
While cuddling may not always be on the agenda, it is good bonding for you and your pup at the end of the day. All it takes is a proper exercise routine to mellow them out enough for some snuggles!
No matter what you’re doing, your dog will always want to be with you, and that’s what matters! Make a nice couch cuddle a part of your regular relax routine after taking your Malinois for a nice long run!
Do Belgian Malinois Need Haircuts?
The nifty thing about the Belgian Malinois is that they never need a haircut! It’s recommended that you never clip or shave a Belgian Malinois. They don’t need it; that’s why shedding season happens in the first place.
Many Malinois moms and dads believe that shaving them is good for them and will keep them cooler in the summer. Shaving them is a myth (and a bad idea). As I mentioned earlier, the Belgian Malinois coat is perfect for withstanding all the elements, even the heat.
They have an undercoat during the summer, but it’s much thinner, which still protects them from the sun and the heat while letting in more airflow to help cool them down.
Their coat is helping them to keep cool by providing that double layer of sun protection. The undercoat naturally thins out during the spring and summer, so you will not have to do it.
Another myth is that giving your Malinois a haircut will decrease shedding. This will more than likely increase shedding because the natural response of your dog’s body is to grow a new coat after losing a substantial amount of fur.
In all honesty, Belgian Malinois are a low-maintenance breed for a dog with a double coat. You don’t need to clip their fur, and bathing is pretty minimal unless necessary; once a month is just fine.
All you need to do is brush them weekly and keep them healthy, and you got yourself a good-looking dog! Daily brushing will be essential during the shedding seasons.
How Long Do Belgian Malinois Shed?
The Belgian Malinois sheds all year. During the spring and autumn, this shedding steadily increases as your dog grows a new coat to fit the season.
Typically, one shedding season can last from four to eight weeks. Of course, this can vary due to health, age, and other factors.
Where you are in the world can also affect what kind of coat your dog will have. For example, if you live in a colder climate, your Malinois will have a thicker coat than if you lived in the desert. Their coat is highly adaptable to almost any climate.
Even in a wet climate, the Belgian Malinois can thrive with their longer waterproof outer layer and warm undercoat. They may not be all that fluffy, but they do just fine in the cold.
They are the true all-terrain dog! This is yet another reason why the Military so highly regards them. These dogs have been posted in the desert, in the Mountains, and beyond! No matter where you are in the world, the Malinois will thrive!