Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)

Lifestyle Needs

The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) is a large dog with a working background.  He has strength and intelligence and would need an owner who is firm, experienced and would give him the physical and mental challenges he deserves.  He needs to live in a  house with a garden.  He needs two good walks a day with plenty of opportunity to run free.   His shortish, firm textured coat needs grooming regularly.  Due to his size, strength and working background the Malinois does not make an ideal family pet.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 2.8% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

None known

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability) breed mean score 8.5 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow dysplasia (abnormality of the elbow joint causing pain and disability) score should be ideally 0:0
  • Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (HC)  (annual screening)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Cancer: seminoma, haemangioma
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
  • Glomerulocystic kidney disease (acute renal failure in juvenile dogs)
  • Hereditary spongiform degeneration with cerebellar ataxia (rapidly progressive neurological degenerative disease with signs from 2 weeks old)
  • Epilepsy

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds