You may have seen a Belgian Malinois dog breed and not realized it. He is somewhat similar to a German Shepherd which is what we expect to see when we see a police dog. However, since the Belgian Malinois is becoming more popular as a police dog, it is possible that the police dog you saw was a Belgian Malinois. As a police officer, my dad had a Belgian Malinois name Carlos. Carlos was used more as a drug sniffing dog but the Belgian Malinois does well in other police dog activities such as search and rescue or catching and holding dangerous suspects.
The Belgian Malinois dog breed has a few distictive similarities which confuse him with the German Shepherd. His coat color is almost the same and his ears are pointed and erect. But he is more similar to the Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Groenendael (Belgian Sheepdog). Unlike the German Shepherd, these Belgian breeds are more elegant and lighter boned. Their muzzles and heads are more chiseled. Their feet are defined as cat-footed. And their backs are straight as compared to the sloping backs of the German Shepherd. All three of the Belgian Sheepdog breeds were developed in Malines, Belgium. They are similar to each other in body style and temperament. The differences between the three are the Belgian Tervuren has longer hair and the Belgian Groenendael has longer hair and is black.
The Belgian Malinois dog breed has a straight short coat which needs weekly brushing when shedding. His coat is rich fawn to mahogany tipped in black with a black mask over his face and ears. The Belgian Malinois dog breed stands about 22 to 26 inches tall and weighs about 60 to 65 pounds. He has a flat skull, almond-shaped eyes, and erect triangular ears.
The Belgian Malinois dog breed a very intense high energy dog. He is intelligent, courageous, and makes a good watchdog. These traits makes him great for sheep herding and for being a police dog. The Belgian Malinois can also be very playful. But as a working dog, he is serious about his work. As a family dog, the Belgian Malinois is good with other pets and will do well with children if raised with them. He will need lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation.
The Belgian Malinois dog breed is easy to train, although he can be a bit domineering. Reward-based training is better for this dog breed than negative reinforced training. Most Belgian Malinois police dogs are trained using a special toy as a reward. The toy can be anything so long as the dog loves to play with it but what makes it special is that this toy is only given as a reward for a job well done. He is not allowed to have it at any other time.
If you are considering a Belgian Malinois dog breed for a pet, be prepared to provide lots of exercise and training. Without proper exercise or mental stimulation, the Belgian Malinois is likely to develop behavior problems such as digging, barking, fence jumping, and/or chewing. Be sure to get your Belgian Malinois from a responsible dog breeder. A responsible dog breeder will most likely be a member of the American Belgian Malinois Club and the parents of the pups will be OFA Certified. OFA is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and they test dogs for hip and elbow dysplasia (a common problem in large breed dogs like the Belgian Malinois).
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