Malinois X Pros and Cons

helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on January 24, 2020
Fact Checked

The Malinois X is a unique mix of two herding dogs.

This cross breed is the result of breeding between a Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd.

As with any mix, there’s no guarantee what traits a Malinois X will inherit from each parent.

Although Malinois X is perhaps the most common way to refer to these dogs, you can also call them German Malinois and Shepinois.

Alternatively, you could refer to them as a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix.

They’ll usually grow to a height between 22 and 24 inches and weigh from 40 to 90 pounds.

Both of the parent breeds are recognised as intelligent and energetic dogs that require lots of mental and physical stimulation.

In fact, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are two of the most popular breeds with the army, police and other services.

In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of the Malinois X, with help from Shepinois owner Nicole and her dog Jacali.

Pros

Jacali the Malinois X (Photo: @jacalidog / Instagram)

Jacali the Malinois X (Photo: @jacalidog / Instagram)

Intelligent

The German Shepherd is the third most intelligent dog in the world, according to the Intelligence of Dogs. Belgian Malinois are ranked 26th in the same book. Whether that source is outdated or not, it’s generally accepted that both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are intelligent and quick learners. They’re eager to please their handlers or owners. So it’s safe to say a Malinois X should be a reasonably smart dog. It’s a good idea to start training from a young age to lay down a solid foundation by setting ground rules.

Here’s what Jacali (@jacalidog) has to say about Malinois X intelligence:

The GSD x Malinois is very intelligent. Jacali tends to know what she can and can’t. She also learns very quickly, meaning I can teach her a new trick or command within a day (and strengthen it with daily repetition onward), and she is quick to learn what I approve of and don’t.

Protective

While you’ll almost certainly have heard of the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois are less common. One of the Belgian breed’s biggest traits is their instinctive protectiveness. While this characteristic isn’t quite as emphasised in German Shepherds, it’s generally acknowledged that GSDs are protective of their owners. Hence why many German Shepherds are used as protection dogs or security dogs, just like Belgian Malinois. While there’s no guarantee which traits a Malinois X will have, we can say that they’re likely to a have protective streak to some degree.

Emotionally receptive

It’s no secret that our dogs can often be in tune with our emotions. That’s especially true of some breeds. Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds are two breeds that build a deep bond with their handler or owner, especially given they love to take an active part in their human’s lives. This is also true of a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd cross.

Let’s hear a little more from Jacali (@jacalidog) on this subject:

They are emotionally receptive. Jacali seems to be very in tune with how I’m feeling, whether I’m stressed, excited, angry, or sad. She will try to comfort me when she feels I’m distressed by nudging or sitting up against me. They are always ready. No matter what time of day or what we’re doing, if I get up and say let’s go, she is up and ready to go. I love the go-getter attitude and mentality of “if you’re ready, I’m ready!”

Love to exercise

The Malinois X is the result of breeding between two very active dogs. Yes, Belgian Malinois like to exercise but it goes deeper than that. Simply allowing a Malinois to run around in your backyard or garden won’t suffice. The American Malinois Club write that these dogs excel at obedience, tracking, agility, flyball, herding, showing, Schutzhund and other protection sports, search and rescue, police work, and just about anything else a dog can do. So you might need to think outside the box when it comes to exercising your Malinois X. Not a necessarily a bad thing if you’re a person who likes to be outdoors.

Loyal

Given their protective streak, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Malinois X are considered loyal dogs. They develop a positive bond with their owner. While you may think of loyalty as a protective aspect, it can also be relevant when it comes to a Belgian Malinois German Shepherd mix listening to commands.

Jacali (@jacalidog) explains further:

They are loyal. Even though Jacali loves people and other dogs, she won’t listen to anyone else like she listens to me. If she’s having a blast at the park and I say “let’s go,” she goes. She is always by my side and always has an eye on me.

Cons

Jacali the Malinois X (Photo: @jacalidog / Instagram)

Jacali the Malinois X (Photo: @jacalidog / Instagram)

Stubborn

Malinois X are likely to be smart dogs given the genes they’ll inherit from both parents. As we’ve already touched upon, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are known for their high IQ, ability to learn and obedience. However, just like most intelligent dog, this can result in stubbornness at times. Malinois X have been known to push boundaries set by their owner.

Jacali (@jacalidog) has some advice for dog owners on this subject:

They can be stubborn. With an intelligent dog comes a potentially stubborn dog. They know how to push your buttons and can try to outsmart you. By reinforcing obedience training, you can minimize and eliminate these behaviors. However, dogs do have a mind of their own and may slip up, so you must teach them to abide by your rules and be clear and distinct about what is and isn’t allowed.

Endless energy

If you’re a very active person, a Malinois X’s energy levels could be perceived as a good thing. However, the extent of their energy knows no limits. If you’ve got a busy work life or enjoy an active social schedule, the Shepenois might not be the right fit for you. If you work extended hours, travel a lot or have other commitments that keep you away from your dog, you’ll want to think twice before getting a Malinois X.

Don’t believe us? Here’s Jacali (@jacalidog) to shed more light on this:

They have endless energy. These dogs can go on forever in a game of fetch and don’t seem to tire. If you don’t have the time or energy to allow the dog to exercise and tire from mentally and physically, they can be destructive and their pent up energy may be relieved through chewing on shoes, furniture, their crate, etc. So always make sure your dog has an outlet to direct their energy. A tired dog is a happy dog.

Not your average pet

Where the Belgian Malinois is concerned, these are not your typical pet dogs. It’s something the American Belgian Malinois Club state clearly on their website. Although your Malinois X will have a mix of characteristics from both parent breeds, you’ll need to be an experienced dog owner prepared to meet your Malinois X’s specific and unique needs. They demand and need commitment from their human companion to have a happy life.

Aggression

When you hear Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd, the general stereotype is that these are two aggressive dog breeds. It’s an image portrayed by Hollywood and in the media. The GSD and Malinois were bred to be herding dogs, so they’ve got a natural instinct to protect the flock and the shepherd. However, these dogs should have the ability to know when agressision is required. If they’re bred well, they’ll be able to evaluate each individual situation and ascertain what response is required. Having said that, consistent and firm training is a good idea from a young age to lay down the ground rules and ensure your dog is in tune with the handler’s voice.

Read what Jacali (@jacalidog) recommends for Malinois X owners on the issue of aggression:

These dogs, being bred for work, are typically hard-headed and tend to be more alpha. You must understand this behavior, and be firm with them. If not kept in check, the dog can get into trouble and may get into fight with other dogs. Not all of them will exhibit this type of behavior, but many would, and it’s important to not be overly-aggressive in correcting them. Always try to be calm but firm and set clear boundaries. Correct socialization will help but learning to recognize the signs of dog communication and knowing when and how to respond/redirect them is key to raising/rehabilitating a dog with aggression issues.

Suspicious

Malinois X can be aloof and suspicious around people they don’t know if they haven’t been properly socialised. Just like any breed or mix, it’s recommended that you socialise your dog as much as possible from a young age. You’ll want to safely expose them to different puppies and dogs (with all the relevant vaccinations covered) as well as different people and different situations.

Check out our full interview with Jacali here.