Most dog breeds are created and developed for a specific purpose.
However, throughout history, some breeds expand their range of abilities and become useful for plenty of tasks besides the one they were originally bred for.
One of those breeds is certainly the Belgian Malinois.
They were originally bred in the late 19th century in Belgium to be herding dogs.
Still, even then, they proved to be more than capable of performing various other tasks for the Belgian farmers.
As time went by, their versatility only expanded, and today they’re one of the most sought-after working dog breeds.
Nowadays, they’re recognized as one of the smartest, hardest-working, most energetic, and trainable breeds.
They provide invaluable help and companionship to humans all over the world.
Below, you’ll find out what are Belgian Malinois used for and I’ll try to explain what makes them so good at what they do.
What are Belgian Malinois Used for?
The traits and qualities that made Belgian Malinoises excellent herding dogs more than a century ago are still very much alive today.
They are essential to them being so valuable in so many different lines of work.
Like most herding dogs, they’re extremely energetic and very active.
In addition, they are one of the smartest breeds around and very obedient when with the right trainer.
This means that they can be trained to do almost anything.
Furthermore, Mals are very alert, protective, and demonstrate unwavering loyalty to their owners.
The Most Common Uses of Belgian Malinois
All these qualities make Belgian Malinoises perfect for work in police and the military.
They’re often compared to German Shepherds but have overtaken them as dogs of choice in law enforcement and the army.
They also excel as search and rescue dogs and are often employed by rescue organizations.
In addition, due to their alertness and the fact that they’re rather reserved towards strangers,
Belgian Malinoises make great protection and watchdogs.
The fact that they are easy to train and very attached to their owners is the reason why they often serve as assistance or guide dogs.
As they are very trainable and agile, they do very well in dog sports, such as agility, herding, obedience, tracking, and protection competitions.
Of, course, they are still sporadically used in their original role -taking care of the livestock.
Why are Belgian Malinois Used as Police Dogs?
Nowadays, the most common role of Belgian Malinois is in law enforcement.
Their build, athleticism, excellent nose, smarts, and willingness to work make them perfect for various police tasks.
Due to their fantastic “sniffing” ability, these dogs are often used by police officers as they search for drugs, bombs, weapons, and other illegal and smuggled goods.
Their perfect scent is the reason why they are also often employed by customs and border patrols.
They can frequently be seen doing their job at airports, train stations, and in the subway.
When properly trained, they can easily find and identify different scents and alert their handlers.
In addition to a powerful “sniffing” drive, the thing that qualifies Belgian Malinois for police work is also a strong protective instinct.
They’re extremely loyal to their humans. Once they form a bond with their handler, Malinoises will do anything to protect them.
They’re not very aggressive naturelly, but can be taught to attack if the situation requires them to do so.
As they were originally developed for herding, Belgian Malinoises are very alert dogs.
While taking care of livestock, they needed to know where their flock is at any moment and be prepared to react when needed.
These traits are still there and quick reaction is often crucial in performing various police tasks.
In addition, while not as calm as German Shepherds, Mals can be taught self-control and safely used in situations with crowds of people.
Tireless and Athletic
While mental traits are very important for all police dogs, they also have to be quick, agile, and strong.
These dogs may often find themselves in situations where they have to chase and take down a suspect. This is another area where Belgian Malinois excels.
Although they’re not that big, they’re very strong, sturdy, and quick on their feet.
Plus, they have a strong working drive and stamina. Thanks to this they can keep working all day long.
Why are Belgian Malinois Used in the Military?
Besides police work, Belgian Malinoises are frequently used in the military.
They have a long history of military service. During World War I, they were enlisted in the Belgian Army where they served as messengers, Red Cross assistants, and helped pull carts with guns and ambulance carts.
Since then, their military use has greatly expanded, and today they are used for a variety of military tasks.
Some of the world’s most elite military units have Belgian Malinoises in their ranks.
This includes Navy SEALS, Israel Defence Forces, Australian Defence Force, as well as US Secret Service.
Famously, one Belgian Malinois was a part of the Navy SEALS operation of tracking down and killing Osama Bin Laden.
In the Army, Mals are used to track the insurgents, sniff out the bombs, and take down armed terrorists.
Which Belgian Malinois Traits are Useful for Military Service?
All the traits of Belgian Malinoises that make them great for police work are also very useful in the military.
In addition, before they join military ranks, they go through rigorous training aimed at developing an additional set of skills.
The main quality of Malinoises that makes them suitable for military use is their bravery.
They’re often tasked to do things that are too dangerous for soldiers and they do them without blinking an eye.
They have proven to be fearless even in the middle of gunfire.
Their controlled aggression comes in very handy in dangerous situations. Unlike German Shepherds, they never hesitate to stick their necks out.
Their bravery is also very important as military actions often require them to fast-rope out of helicopters or parachute out of planes.
Their compact stature and light weight make it possible to tandem jump out of the planes with their handlers.
Are Belgian Malinois still Used for Herding?
Although they now mostly do their work in the police and military, Belgian Malinoises have not lost any of the traits that made them great herding dogs.
They are still used on farms and they still excel in their shepherd duties.
However, due to several reasons, mainly their price, they are less common on the farms than some other breeds.
With all the qualities I’ve mentioned above, it’s easy to see why Belgian Malinoises are considered to be a top asset for any police or military unit in the world.
They possess a rare combination of intelligence, bravery, trainability, athleticism, and drive that make them one of the most versatile workers in the dog world.
Moreover, they love to work and are the happiest when they are given a task to perform.
Besides being fantastic working dogs, Malinosies can be a joy to have around.
They are loving, loyal, and playful. When properly trained and socialized, they make wonderful family dogs and companions.