Malinois are proportionate and square – they are as long as they are all tall. They are sturdy, muscular dogs, but are not heavy on their feet, and given their size are surprisingly agile, and carry themselves with pride and grace at all times. They have deep, broad chests, long legs and round, cat-like feet. Malinois have large heads with long, tapered (but not thin) muzzles. Their eyes and noses are dark, and their ears sit high on the head and are erect and alert at all times. They sport short, thick coats and range in color from fawn to mahogany with a black mask on the face, black ears, and black tips on the hairs. Lighter colored Malinois can have a small bit of white on the tips of their toes or on the chest.
Size and Weight
Mature males in this breed should be between 24 and 26 inches at the withers; females should be between 22 and 24 inches in height. Males under 23 or over 27 inches, and females under 21 or over 25 inches, are disqualified under the American breed standard. The average adult Belgian Malinois weighs between 45 and 65 pounds, with males typically being slightly heavier than females.
Coat and Color
Belgian Malinois have short hair that is crisp to the touch. Their double coat is thick, with an extra dense undercoat and thick topcoat that provides protection from water and extreme weather conditions. The hair lays flat against the body and is slightly longer around the neck.
Malinois range in color from fawn to mahogany with a black mask on the face, black ears, and black tips on the hairs. Lighter colored Malinois can have a small bit of white on the tips of their toes or on the chest.
Belgians are a snap to groom, as their short coats do not require trimming or stripping. They shed heavily year-round, so weekly brushing is a must. They will shed profusely at the change of seasons, so Spring and Fall may require daily brushing. They only need to be bathed as-needed, when they get extra dirty or start emitting a doggy odor. Active Belgians can wear down their toenails naturally, making nail trimmings unnecessary, but if the dog's nails click on hard floors, they are too long. Regular teeth cleaning and ear cleaning can keep harmful bacteria from growing, and help keep the dog healthy.