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12 Belgian Malinois Colors & Patterns (With Pictures)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

belgian malinois dog lying on the concrete outdoors

The Belgian Malinois is smart, confident, and loyal and a hard worker. The average dog stands at between 22 and 26 inches tall and weighs between 40 and 80 pounds as an adult. Originally bred to herd livestock, these dogs have strong, well-defined muscles and signature black “masks” (muzzles) on their faces. They come in a variety of different colors and patterns, five of which are considered “standard” by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Here are the 12 different Belgian Malinois colors and patterns that you should know about.

We divided them into these categories:

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The 5 AKC Standard Coat Colors & Patterns

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1. Fawn

belgian malinois dog in the park fields
Image Credit: Irantzu Arbaizagoitia, Shutterstock

This is one of the most common coat colors of the Belgian Malinois. Think of mixing yellow and tan together, and the resulting color is about what you should expect a fawn-colored Belgian Malinois to look like. The shade can range from light to dark and may change over time as a dog ages.

2. Fawn Sable

sable with black mask working belgian malinois dog doing agility
Image Credit: Lisjatina, Shutterstock

This coat color is the same as the fawn color, but it includes a sable pattern, which means the tips of the hairs are black. This gives the appearance of a darker fawn color, though many times, you can’t see the sable pattern just by looking at the dog. Some owners don’t even know that their fawn Belgian Malinois really has a fawn sable coat until their veterinarian tells them so.

3. Mahogany

black and mahogany belgian shepherd dog standing on the lawn
Image Credit: frgrapher, Shutterstock

This is a less common coat color than the standard fawn and red coat colors. The mahogany can range in hue from a light reddish-brown tint to a hue that is so dark red, the coat looks almost black. Belgian Malinois with mahogany coats are usually so dark that their black muzzles are not as noticeable as they are on fawn, red, and other similar-colored dogs.

4. Red

red belgian malinois shepherd dog training in a green meadow with a red and white cone
Image Credit: Julia Malsagova, Shutterstock

Simply put, this coat color is a shade of red. It can be so light that it almost looks pink or so dark that it looks ginger. Sometimes, the coloring can be muted. When this happens, a red Belgian Malinois may be mistaken for one with a fawn coat. Dogs with red coats typically have black noses and ears.

5. Red Sable

red sable with black mask belgian shepherd malinois dog lies outside dog at obedience competition
Image Credit: L Lisjatina, Shutterstock

This color and pattern are like the fawn sable coat, but with red coloring instead. Sometimes, the red is so dark that these dogs end up looking almost completely black by the time that they are fully grown adults. For this reason, it can be hard to tell the difference between this coat color and pattern and the black coat indoors. It’s easier to tell the difference in the sunlight, though.

Divider 3The 7 AKC Non-standard Coat Colors & Patterns

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6. Black

black belgian malinois dog
Image Credit: msgrafixx, Shutterstock

As you might expect, Belgian Malinois with black coats are completely black from nose to tail, aside from a small patch of white, which is typically located on the chest. It is impossible to distinguish where the black muzzle starts and stops. These dogs even have black toenails. What’s interesting is that they usually have light-colored eyes.

7. Brindle

brown brindle belgian malinois dog with water droplets dripping from mouth while playing in the river water
Image Credit: Sorrel Ireland, Shutterstock

This is the most exotic coat color and pattern that you’ll find a Belgian Malinois sporting. Brindle is a coat pattern with striped markings, kind of like those of a tiger. Any Belgian Malinois that has black stripes of any shape or thickness are considered to have brindle coats. Brindle dogs have a base coat that is usually fawn or red.

8. Cream

While cream is a common coat color among many dog breeds, the same cannot be said for the Belgian Malinois. A cream Belgian Malinois is a rare breed indeed. This color is much lighter than fawn, so it’s tough to get them confused with one another. These dogs usually have dark eyes, noses, and paw pads.

9. Cream Sable

This is an uncommon coat color and pattern for the Belgian Malinois, simply because cream is not typical for them. The sable markings on this dog are more noticeable than on a fawn or red sable dog because the cream and black contrast so much. Therefore, it is possible to see the individual black tips even indoors and away from sunlight.

10. Gray

Gray Belgian Malinois have a genetic disposition that dilutes their black coloring, which results in a charcoal grey color that breeders sometimes refer to as blue, as the coat can seem to have a blue tint under intense light. Dogs with this coat color also have gray eyes, noses, and paw pads.

11. Gray Sable

This coat is just like the fawn, red, and cream sable colorings and is extremely rare. It is extremely hard to see the black coloring on the tips of the hairs, so they are almost indistinguishable from completely gray Belgian Malinois. Some people never know that their gray dogs actually have gray sable coats.

12. Liver

A dilution gene is responsible for creating the liver-colored coat color that some Belgian Malinois proudly sport. Depending on the intensity of the dilution, these dogs may appear to be shades of red, cream, or yellow. They seldom have any grey or black hair, and they almost always have amber-colored eyes.

What Is the Difference Between AKC Standard & Non-standard Coat Colors?

The AKC recognizes both standard and non-standard coat colors and patterns for the Belgian Malinois. The standard coats are considered to conform with official club standards, while the non-standard colors fall outside of such standards. Dogs with non-standard coat colors and patterns may be enrolled in the AKC, but they are not permitted to compete in any official competitions.

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There are many varieties of Belgian Malinois coat colors and patterns, some more prominent and common than others. However, adopting a dog because of coat color and/or pattern is never a great idea. You should choose a dog with a personality and temperament that best fits in with your household dynamic and family lifestyle.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Olga Ovcharenko, Shutterstock

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