Malinois vs Dutch Shepherd: what are the differences?

malinois dutch shepherd

Both the Belgian Malinois (pronounced Mal-in-wah) and the Dutch Shepherd are loyal, sensitive, and proud canines that are expert workers. They were both originally bred as herding pups and farm dogs and can spend hours putting their strong bodies and intelligent brains to good use.

In this blog, we're going to have a look at both breeds individually as well as the Malinois Dutch Shepherd mix (as you can imagine, they're a hard-working, no-nonsense kind of dog). They're also highly intelligent and make wonderful pets for the right owners!

Belgian Malinois History

malinois dog laying

The Belgian Malinois was originally bred in Malines, a city in northwestern Belgium. Breeders set out to produce a hard-working, active, intelligent dog that possessed all the best traits of other herding pups around at the time. Performance and stability were crucial factors, as were speed and eagerness to learn.

Malinois were first brought to America in 1911 where they gained popularity as an excellent herder and all-round farm dog.

When World War II broke out, breeders were unable to import European canines and so the numbers and popularity of the breed declined. It wasn't until the 1960s that the Malinois was again recognized as an excellent working dog.

They weren't just put to work in the farms and fields but were highly sought after as rescue and police dogs across the country.

Dutch Shepherd History

dutch shepherd running

Just like the Belgian Malinois, the Dutch Shepherd is an amazing herding dog. Unlike the Malinois, however, Dutch Shepherds were not intentionally bred. In fact, they're a naturally occurring breed from the fields of Holland.

These pups were first used to do a bit of everything. They could herd cattle, pull large milk carts, look after children, and even work as watch or guard dogs. For many Dutch Farmers at the time, they were the perfect farming dog.

The breed was initially recognized in 1898, but in 1914 Kennel Clubs decided to change the standards so that they could only have a brindle coat. Before then, many colors had been accepted. This was mainly to distinguish them from the very similar German Shepherd breed.

With the invention of new farming equipment, these dogs were left largely unemployed. That's until they, too, were discovered as excellent police and military pups.

Temperament of the Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is an active dog that forms very strong bonds with its owner. They do not do well being left alone! They're very active dogs and need lots of vigorous exercise to keep them happy.

In fact, they'll be happy doing any type of sport with you. A good way to keep Belgian Malinois entertained is to enroll them in canine classes. They're exceptionally good at agility, herding, and tracking.

Because the original Belgian Malinois (Belgian Sheepdog breed) grew up on farms, these dogs shouldn't be kept in apartments. They can easily get restless without space to roam. A large yard is really what these pups are after. Belgian Malinois are also great watchdogs. They're very rarely aggressive but are incredibly alert and only use force when needed.

They're happy to please and eager to learn – meaning training isn't too difficult. Like all pups, they need lots of socialization (exposure to people, dogs, sounds, and sights) from an early age. Without this, they could potentially become nervous and aggressive.

Temperament of the Dutch Shepherd

The Dutch Shepherd personality is unique. They're pretty much good at everything. Both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois are very hard-working pups that can do anything when they put their minds to it. They're very intelligent dogs and love to learn new commands. Just like the Malinois, they do really well in classes. These dogs do, however, need a confident trainer who can manage their slightly aloof personality.

Whilst an affectionate family companion, Dutch Shepherds can be a bit independent. They're certainly not as needy as the Belgian Malinois. They require lots of early socialization and fun things to do to keep them entertained and to stop their independent streak from getting the better of them.

As you can imagine, these dogs love lots of exercise. Like the Belgian Malinois breed, they're excellent working dogs that can be put to use on a farm or as police dogs. For the right owner with enough space, the Dutch Shepherd makes a wonderful family pet.

Appearance of the Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are strong and muscular dogs that aren't bulky or boxy. They have very athletic bodies and large ears. They can grow to be 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 80 pounds.

Malinois can come in a number of different colors ranging from mahogany to fawn. Their double coat has a short and dense outer coat and a softer undercoat which helps them to be able to work in all weather conditions. It's common for them to have slightly longer hair around their necks which almost gives them a mane!

Belgian Malinois have a black mask that can expand over their ears too. Because of their coloring and body shape, many mistake these herding dogs for German Shepherds or a German Shepherd mix.

Appearance of Dutch Shepherds

These athletic dogs are fairly similar in appearance to a Belgian Malinois. They too have strong bodies that allow them to work on a farm and chase cattle all day. They have big, alert ears and an inquisitive expression which reflects their curious nature.

These doggos can grow to be 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 70 pounds – although a female Dutch Shepherd will be smaller.

As already mentioned, Dutch Shepherds were originally accepted in many colors although now, the AKC only recognizes them with a silver or gold brindle coat. They can have short, rough, or long hair and all are fairly easy to groom. A weekly brush should be enough to remove dead hairs (especially from the soft undercoat).

So, what about a Malinois Dutch Shepherd mix?

With parent breeds such as the Malinois and Dutch Shepherd, you can imagine just how athletic, hard-working, and alert this mixed breed is. But can you always predict exactly how they'll turn out?

History of the Dutch Shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix

Because this mixed breed is fairly new, there's not that much information on when the first Mali-Dutchie was born. And of course, it's possible that they existed naturally before intentional breeding took place.

It's thought that the two breeds were first mixed to create an excellent working dog that would excel in various jobs whilst also making a good family pup.

Temperament of the Mali-Dutchie

Mali-Dutchies can vary a lot in terms of temperament and appearance – even within the same litter.

That being said, because both parents are working dog breeds, you can expect your Mali-Dutchie to enjoy having a job to do. They have a lot of energy and can easily become destructive if they don't have their job and exercise needs met.

This mixed breed is also very intelligent and will learn fast. They too can be used for police work or other jobs such as search and rescue. They'll enjoy learning new tricks and will be eager to please you. Although it's possible, it's unlikely that your Mali-Dutchie will be as independent as the Dutch Shepherd. They're more likely to be as much of a people pup as the Belgian Malinois.

You can expect this breed to be curious and welcoming around children and other pets but it's not advised to leave unsocialized or young dogs unsupervised. Their herding instincts can sometimes get the better of them which might be a problem.

Overall, these dogs are alert, hard-working, and fairly serious. They can make great family pets for the right family that can offer them plenty of exercise, fun training sessions, and (preferably) a job to do.

Appearance of the Mali-Dutchie

Even though their appearance can differ a lot, there are a few physical characteristics you can expect this mixed breed to have. Nearly all Mali-Dutchies have an athletic body that's strong and confident. Some may even say intimidating. They're graceful and you can tell that they're built for speed and endurance. It's also likely that they'll have a strong jaw and a long muzzle which makes them stand out at the dog park!

Based on both parent dogs, it's very likely your Mali-Dutchie will have a double coat that helps keep them warm or cool in different weather conditions. They come in an array of different colors – everything from a light fawn color to black brindle. They're very attractive dogs that can grow to be 26 inches and weigh 80 pounds, which is sure to turn some heads!

Belgian Malinois vs Dutch Shepherd vs Mali-Dutchie

Whichever of these three dogs you decide to go for, you can be sure you'll be getting a hard-working, highly intelligent, and alert dog.

They may not be as cuddly as a Golden Retriever but they are very loyal (and won't mind the odd night cuddling up on the couch). They really need an active owner who has space for them to play in and who can help them put their intelligent brains to good use!

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