The Belgian Malinois is an impressive sight to behold. Imposing in size and with a proud, majestic carriage, this dog has a bit of a reputation for loving you from a distance. However, according to many owners, the Belgian Malinois is an incredibly affectionate dog that loves to cuddle, but this doesn’t mean that every dog of this breed will be a big cuddler.
In this post, we’ll discuss generalizations about the Belgian Malinois’ temperament and what they’re like as family dogs. To understand a dog breed better, you have to go back to the beginning, so let’s kick off with a bit of history.
Belgian Malinois: Origins
The Belgian Malinois gets its name from Malines, a city in northwest Belgium. This marks the area around which the breed originated. Those who initially bred Belgian Malinois needed an excellent working dog to herd livestock, and the Belgian Malinois’ personality traits—confidence, intelligence, versatility, and a strong work ethic—made them perfect for the role.
Throughout history, the Belgian Malinois has fulfilled various working roles in addition to livestock herding, including within the police force and the military, where they are highly valued for their working drive and quick brains.
Are Belgian Malinois Good Family Dogs?
There are no two ways about it; the Belgian Malinois is not a dog for those who aren’t ready for a challenge. These are high-energy dogs that can, at times, be strong-willed, so training them can be a bit overwhelming for first-time owners. Their natural protectiveness also means they’re often reserved around new people.
That said, if you take the time to properly socialize and train your Belgian Malinois early on, they make sweet, loving, and fiercely loyal family dogs that get along well with children and other dogs. Whether or not they get along with non-canine family members like cats also depends strongly on their socialization, as Belgian Malinois have a strong prey drive that makes them want to give chase.
The Belgian Malinois does best with an experienced and kind but firm owner that uses lots of positive reinforcement and would consider enrolling them in obedience and socialization classes for extra support.
Are Belgian Malinois Cuddly?
According to most owners, Belgian Malinois are very cuddly and love to be close to their people. Many have mentioned that their Belgian Malinois are serious “snuggle bugs”, love to be petted, and, in spite of their size, will hop up onto their owners’ laps at any given opportunity, like a big cat.
One thing that’s important to bear in mind, however, is that every dog’s personality and need for attention are different. Not every Belgian Malinois will be a big fan of cuddling, as some owners have attested to, and some only enjoy cuddles now and again.
My Belgian Malinois Isn’t Cuddly, Does This Mean They Don’t Like Me?
Not being cuddly doesn’t in any way indicate that your Belgian Malinois doesn’t love you. Some Belgian Malinois are simply more independent than others and prefer to show their love in other ways. Perhaps they can’t get enough of sitting at your feet while you scratch behind their ears, or always seem to be near to you, even if they’re not glued to your side.
There is a multitude of ways in which dogs show their affection, so don’t be disheartened. Work on bonding with your Belgian Malinois through daily training sessions, play, and petting sessions. This is a breed that thrives on being given a job to do, so you can use obedience training as a way to build that unbreakable bond between the two of you.
Brushing is another great way to bond with your Belgian Malinois. Many dogs love the feeling of a brush, even if they’re a bit suspicious of it at first. You never know—your usually non-cuddly Belgian Malinois could love brushing so much that they simply melt into you while you do it!
As is the case with any dog breed, some Belgian Malinois are very cuddly, others are sometimes cuddly, and some prefer to abstain from it altogether, and there’s nothing abnormal about that. Don’t worry if yours isn’t the cuddling type—these dogs still have plenty of love to give and heaps of ways to show it that don’t involve cuddling!