Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Long Do Belgian Malinois Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

two female belgian malinois

If you’ve considered adopting a family pet, the Belgian Malinois is an excellent choice. It was named for a specific region in Belgium, and although the breed was developed for herding, it has become a beloved companion animal.

You can expect a Belgian Malinois to reach between 22 and 26 inches in height and weigh 40 to 80 pounds when fully grown. They have short coats and gorgeous fawn colors.

However, many pet owners wonder about the lifespan of the Belgian Malinois. How long do they live? The average lifespan of the Belgian Malinois is between 12 and 14 years. Keep reading as we discuss further.

Divider 8

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Belgian Malinois?

Since it is the ultimate dog for working, the Belgian Malinois is energetic, athletic, and usually pretty healthy. The dog is also loving and loyal and can be protective of its family.

Why Do Some Belgian Malinois Live Longer Than Others?

A few factors contribute to how long any dog will live, and the Belgian Malinois is no exception. Nutrition, environment, housing, size, sex, genetics, and more play roles in why some Belgian Malinois live longer than others.

1. Nutrition

Your Belgian Malinois’s diet can greatly impact how long the dog lives and how healthy it is overall. High-quality kibble should be your dog’s primary food source, but you can also feed it healthy treats. However, the Belgian Malinois is an active canine that may require meals with a higher protein content than those suitable for less-active dogs. If you’re unsure which brand is ideal for your pet, ask your veterinarian for advice.

belgian malinois dog sitting with a bowl
Photo Credit: BoJack, Shutterstock

2. Environment and Conditions

You may know that the conditions and environment a dog lives in will directly impact how long it lives. The Belgian Malinois does not do well in cramped spaces and requires plenty of room to run around. Since they have a working-dog lineage, they can become destructive and upset if they become bored. They thrive in active households where family members have the time to play with them and keep them entertained.

3. Housing

A dog that lives inside most of the time will certainly live longer than a dog that is left outside and not taken care of correctly. However, the Belgian Malinois needs to spend a few hours outside every day to exercise and burn off energy. A homestead, small farm, or property with a large yard is ideal for the dog.

belgian malinois relaxing in the bed
Photo Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

4. Size

The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized dog, and it has a higher life expectancy than most larger dogs. However, if the dog becomes obese, it will shorten its lifespan. Dogs that are overweight and not getting the proper exercise will have health issues.

The Belgian Malinois is an energetic dog that is used to working. Ensuring it gets the daily exercise will go a long way toward helping the dog reach its average life expectancy.

5. Sex

The sex of your Belgian Malinois can have an impact on how long the dog lives if you don’t have the dog spayed or neutered at an early age. There are health conditions that can be prevented by having this surgery, and it’s less likely that your dog will try to run away when in heat to find a mate. Males are larger than females, but the females have the same temperament and drive to herd small animals.

male and female belgian malinois
Photo Credit: Eudyptula, Shutterstock

6. Genes

Genetics also play a key role in the lifespan of a Belgian Malinois, as there are certain health issues they are predisposed to. These conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy, among others that most dogs are prone to develop.

Make sure you take your Belgian Malinois in for regular checkups to catch any problems before they worsen.

7. Breeding History

The breeding history of your dog can play a crucial role in how long the dog lives. It’s essential to research your breeder extensively so that you know the breeder is reputable. An experienced and ethical breeder will show you the dog’s health records, including information on vaccinations. They’ll also allow you to see the parents and inspect the facilities.

Belgian Malinois in the forest
Photo Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

8. Healthcare

The type of healthcare your dog receives is essential as well. Taking your Belgian Malinois to the vet at least twice a year is essential for its health. Although some pet owners only visit the vet for an emergency, regular checkups ensure that vets can catch troubling illnesses or diseases early. With prompt treatment, most dogs can recover quicker than if they’re treated when a condition has progressed.

Divider 4

The 4 Life Stages of a Belgian Malinois


belgian malinois puppy running on grass
Image Credit: Anton Kudryashov, Pexels

The Belgian Malinois is in the puppy stage from birth until around 12 weeks when they should be up and moving around on their own but still not straying very far from their mother.

Young Adult

From 10 to 18 months old, your Belgian Malinois will reach sexual maturity. You’ll want to have the dog spayed or nurtured so you don’t risk puppies if you’re not looking to breed your dog. The dog will be energetic and playful during this time.

Mature Adult

belgian malinois playing ball
Image Credit: jotoya, Pixabay

From 18 months on, your dog is considered a mature adult. They’ll enjoy joining you on hikes, long runs, and most outdoor activities. The Belgian Malinois is an athletic canine that excels in canine sports, and if you have an agility course nearby, your pup will be happy to run through it.


As your Belgian Malinois reaches old age, it’ll slow down and may be happier lying around than walking with you or running in the backyard. Still, ensure the dog gets exercise and visits the vet more frequently.

Divider 8

How to Tell Your Belgian Malinois’s Age

The best way to tell your Belgian Malinois’s age is by taking it to the vet. However, you can examine the dog’s teeth and eyes to get an idea of its age. Seniors often have missing, broken, or plaque-covered teeth, and they may have cloudy eyes from cataracts.

Divider 5


Belgian Malinois Dogs have an average life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. However, quite a few factors, such as genetics, environment, and nutrition, impact how long the dog will live. Make sure that you feed your pet a high-protein, high-quality kibble, take it for regular checkups with your vet, and give it the love and care it needs, and you’ll live a good long life together.

Featured Image Credit: Julia Malsagova, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!