Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: What’s The Difference?

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on 22 September 2022

Do you know the difference between a Belgian Malinois and a Rottweiler?

If you’re looking for a dog that can act as an active, loyal and loving pet, you may have come across the Belgian Malinois and Rottweiler breeds.

These two powerful dogs can also be trained as excellent guard dogs due to their deep-rooted loyalty to their owners and desire to protect the family.

While the Belgian Malinois and the Rottweiler may have some traits in common, they’re two different dog breeds.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at Belgian Malinois and Rottweiler to examine the similarities and the differences between the two breeds.

With the introduction over, let’s get started in our Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler comparison article.

What Is A Belgian Malinois?

Belgian Malinois catching a frisbee (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois catching a frisbee (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Belgian Malinois is a dog breed that originally hails from Belgium. The Belgian Malinois is a member of the American Kennel Club’s herding group. While they were initially bred to be herding dogs working on Belgian farms, they commonly work as police dogs, military dogs, protection dogs and family pets in the 21st century.

What Is A Rottweiler?

Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Rottweiler is a German dog breed that was originally bred to drive cattle to market and pull carts for butchers in their native land. Rottweilers are members of the AKC’s working group. In modern society, Rottweilers can function as police dogs, military dogs, protection dogs and family dogs.

Where Do Belgian Malinois Come From?

Belgian Malinois in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois in the woods (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Belgian Malinois was first bred in the Belgian city of Malines. They were one of four closely related dog breeds that were developed to work as herders (the other breeds are Tervuren, Laekenois, and Belgian Shepherd (aka Groenendael).

Nicknamed the Mal, they were bred by Belgian sheepherders and cattlemen, developing a reputation for being world-class workers. They were exported outside of Belgium in the early 1900s before the two World Wars stunted their numbers. However, by the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Belgian Malinois’ numbers started to soar once again.

The Belgian Malinois was recognised as a dog breed by the American Kennel Club in 1959. They’ve established themselves as excellent police, military and protection dogs as well as loyal pets. At the time of writing, the Belgian Malinois is ranked as the 36th most-popular dog breed in the USA.

Where Do Rottweiler Come From?

Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Rottweiler breed can trace their ancestry back to Ancient Rome. All-conquering Roman legions brought their “tough, durable dogs” to battles with Germanic armies aka the Barbarian hoards. The founding stock of the breed was thought to be the Asian Mastiffs. Once the Roman Empire collapased, these Roman dogs found themselves in the cattle town of Rottweil. They became the founding stock for a lot of German dog breeds.

These powerful, versatile dogs got the name Rottweiler Metzgerhund (translated to the Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil). While they were initially utilized as cattle dogs or cart dogs, Rottweilers earned a reputation for being highly-dependable police dogs, diligent protectors and versatile dogs capable of carrying out all manner of tasks.

The Rottweiler was granted status by the American Kennel Club in 1931. At the time of writing, the Rottweiler is the eighth-most popular dog breed in the USA.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Size

Belgian Malinois have an average height range of between 22 and 26 inches and can weigh from 40 pounds to 80 pounds. Rottweilers will usually grow to be 22 and 27 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 80 to 135 pounds.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Appearance

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois have a short coat that is comprised of short hairs. They’ve got a coarse outer coat and a dense undercoat to protect against the elements. Belgian Malinois typically have a fawn coat or a mahogany coat with a black or dark brown mask on their face and black or dark brown ears along with black tips on their hair. They can have some white markings on their chest or toes. Here’s what their breed standard states:

The Belgian Malinois is a well-balanced square dog, elegant in appearance with an exceedingly proud carriage of head and neck. The dog is strong, agile, wellmuscled, alert and full of life. He is hardy and built to withstand the rugged Belgian climate. He stands squarely on all fours. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. His elegance and expression denote great strength of character, reflecting his heritage as a herding breed.

Like the Belgian Malinois, the Rottweiler has a short double coat that is comprised of a straight outer coat and dense under coat. They’ve got a black coat with rust to mahogany markings. These markings can appear over their eyes, face, muzzle, chest, legs and tail. Rottweilers have an imposing appearance with their impressively-muscled hindquarters. The AKC states:

The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact and substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Temperament

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Belgian Malinois is a clever, hard-working, loyal and obedient dog that can thrive in a family environment or as a selfless worker. They’ll be affectionate, friendly and loyal to their fellow family members, but Mals can be aloof or reserved around new people. This is one of the reasons why they can make excellent watch dogs.

They’re extremely intelligent and they’ve got an underlying desire to perform a task.

Belgian Malinois will require regular training throughout their lives as well as lots of mental stimulation. The Belgian Malinois breed standard states the following on temperament:

Correct temperament is essential to the working character of the Belgian Malinois. He is alert, intelligent, inquisitive and confident, showing neither fear nor aggression. He is energetic, ready for action, yet highly responsive to his owner’s direction. His lively character should be evident in his proud carriage and sparkling attentive eyes.

The Belgian Malinois is an exceptional watchdog. Vigilant yet responsive, he balances all the qualities needed in a stock dog, protector and sensible working partner. He is firmly loyal to those he loves but may be indifferent with strangers.

The Rottweiler tends to be confident, courageous, loyal, outgoing and relaxed. While they’re often stereotyped as being aggressive dogs, their breed standard emphasises that they should never be aggressive to people without cause. The Rottweiler can make excellent family pets as they’ll be extremely loyal to their owners.

They do have an underlying desire to protect the family and the property so they make superb guard dogs.

Like the Belgian Malinois, they’ll require consistent training from a young age as well as a sufficient outlet to exercise and put their smart brains to work. The Rottweiler breed standard states the following on temperament:

The Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.

A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment. He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Exercise

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois have significant exercise needs. They’ll need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. As an extremely smart dog that’s eager to please and likes to perform tasks, you’ll have to think outside of the box to keep your Mal physically and mentally stimulated. Aside from obvious forms of exercise like going for walks, hikes and runs, a Belgian Malinois could thrive in agility or sports.

The AKC warn that the Belgian Malinois is not a dog breed that can be left in the backyard and daily walks are not enough.

While Rottweilers don’t have quite the same demanding exercise needs, these powerful German dogs will still need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They’ll require daily exercise of around 60 minutes.

The AKC state online that Rottweilers love swimming, walking and trotting.

The breed can excel at herding, tracking and obedience seeing as these traits are in their DNA. Rottweilers can be prone to obesity problems so it’s another reason to ensure your Rottie gets sufficient daily exercise.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Hypoallergenic

Neither the Belgian Malinois nor the Rottweiler are hypoallergenic as they shed quite a bit. If you’ve got allergies to pets then you’ll need to continue your search for a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Shedding

Belgian Malinois are moderate shedders and they’ll shed to some degree throughout the year. However, the breed will shed more heavily during the changing of the seasons. It’s a good idea to brush your Belgian Malinois at least once a week and step up your grooming routine to a daily brush during shedding season.

Like the Belgian Malinois, Rottweilers will shed throughout the year but the amount of dead and loose hair will increase at least twice a year. Rottie owners will probably need to commit to a daily brush during the shedding season.

Both Belgian Malinois and Rottweilers will need to have their teeth checked and nails trimmed on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to check their skin, nose, mouth, eyes and ears when you do groom your dog to make sure everything is ok.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Price

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois have an average price range of $1000 to $2000 (£800 to £1000) but some Mals may cost more depending on the breeder and their lineage. Rottweilers have a suggested price range of $1000 to $2000 (£800 to £1000) but some Rottie pups could cost up to $2500 (£2200).

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler: Life Expectancy

Belgian Malinois have an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years, while Rottweilers have a shorter life expectancy of 9 to 10 years.

The Difference Between Belgian Malinois And Rottweiler

Although the Belgian Malinois and Rottweilers have a lot in common, there are some notable differences between the two breeds. The Belgian Malinois are a more energetic breed with much more demanding exercise requirements. These Belgian dogs have a longer life expectancy than the Rottweiler.

The Similarities Between Belgian Malinois And Rottweiler

Belgian Malinois and Rottweilers can both make excellent police dogs, military dogs, protection dogs and family pets. If you’re looking for a guard dog or watch dog, you could consider either of these breeds. They both like to have a sense of purpose and will thrive doing tasks that work both brain and brawn.

Belgian Malinois Vs Rottweiler – In Conclusion

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Belgian Malinois vs Rottweiler (Photo: Adobe Stock)

We’ve reached the end of our Belgian Malinois and Rottweiler comparison feature.

Belgian Malinois are a Belgian dog breed that were initially bred to be herders. However, they’re more commonly used as service dogs or treasured family pets.

Rottweilers are instinctive guardians and protectors of the family despite their ancestors being used as cattle herders and butcher’s dogs. These muscular dogs can excel as a family pet and dependable guard dog or working in a professional capacity.

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