Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: 2022 Comparison

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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Though similar in several ways, the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherds are also very different animals.  They are capable of the same types of tasks, but you will get two very different dogs.

The two are both beautiful canines, and if you are looking to get a dog of this size, make sure you know what you’re getting into with either of these pups before a new dog comes home with you.


Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd - Appearance

Though both a Belgian and a German stand at roughly the same height, there are a few physical traits that help tell them apart.  Both dogs will have a height between 22-26 inches at the withers.  The colors will also be similar, except the Malinois will be a bit lighter in color. 

The Malinois will also be two toned, where Germans can be solid colored, as well as the traditional black and fawn.

The overall weight of a German Shepard is about ten pounds heavier than the Belgian.  The German is also less angular, and the Malinois will have ears that are much closer to triangles than the German.  Overall, both are handsome dogs bred from good herding dog stock.



Both of these dogs are highly intelligent. So intelligent that they are both dogs that need to be trained or given some kind of purpose. As both canines come from herding ancestry, the need for a job is paramount to their mental health and wellbeing. 

If you don’t have the time to commit to this, maybe consider a dog that doesn’t have such specialized needs.

Although both dogs are loyal, the Malinios is loyal to his owner in a way that is a little different.  A Malinois bonds with one person over everyone else. 

They are fierce when it comes to protecting their person, and they will use all their skills and strength in order follow their commands and protect the family, whom they consider a pack,

Favored by Law Enforcement and Military

Favored by Law Enforcement and Military

The German has long been known to be the K9 companion of choice for the military and urban police as well. But, you probably are unaware that what you believed was a German Shepard was more than likely a Malinois.

Though Germans were bred to be the “perfect dog” the Malinois has characteristics that are better suited to Police or Military applications.

To Protect and Serve

Malinois and Germans have found their place as military and police dogs.  Especially the Malinois.  Their desire to protect and loyalty make them born to follow commands and be trained for search and rescue as well as to take down a criminal suspect.

They are also more compact, being a bit more square than a German which allows them into tight places.  This also is noticeable in agility challenges.

This is the main reason that Malinois are the dog of choice for military units like the Navy SEALS.  When they are in the field, with their lives at risk, these operators will gladly leave their lives in the hands of their Malinois partners, knowing the dog has definitely got their six.


Both of these handsome creatures are excellent choices when you are considering getting a guard dog, or at least a dog who will be ready to do anything to ensure the safety of his family. 

Malinois tend to be a bit less aggressive with people, overall, but both dogs will lay their life on the line to protect.  Be careful though as a German is more likely to bite a person than a Malinois.



German Shepherds are prone to a few more inherited conditions than a Malinois. In fact, the overall health of a Malinois is fairly stable with no conditions that are seen in every generation.  While they can suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, this is not common in the Belgian.

Shepards, on the other hand, are known to frequently have hip dysplasia, as well as are prone to having issues with their backs and spine. 

This could be due to poor breeding practices, but it is more likely it has just become more pronounced, as more and more generations of the German are seen as a dog who lives only 10-12 years, while the Malinois is a pup that, when cared for and given a job to do, will like a few years longer.


Both the Malinois and the German are recognized by the American Kennel Club and therefore can compete in competitions with proper paperwork.  They have been accepted by the organization for some time and both are having a surge in popularity.

Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd Final Verdict

If you are looking for a smart, loyal, and undeniably attractive canine, either of these dogs is a fantastic choice.  Remember to get plenty of work, and plenty of love. 

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.