The first thing you should consider when you are considering adopting one of these gracious Belgian originated shepard dogs, is their physics. Especially dogs from working lines can be quite large and have huge strength. Your puppy might grow up to be a real strong dog with a mind of its own.
There are two lines of breeding: show dogs, that are on average shorter and calmer than working lines. And lines that grow bigger stronger, larger and more muscled. Most belgian malinois are bred to be working dogs and studs can even grow up to 25 inch of shoulder high and weight up to 70 pounds. Bitches are on average a bit shorter.
Beside that, they are very strong. Most belgian malinois can easily breach collars and lines designed for regular dogs their size and weight. Best is when you walk them and you have a subburn pulling dog or one going though puberty, to walk them out with two leaches and best is to use a chain to train them.
When you have back and shoulder problems, or physical or health issues, this dog might just be to strong to handle for you. Keep in mind they are strong enough to dislocate your shoulder, to break your bones with bumps of their head and they are also very agile. Yes, they are dogs that have the physics to kill an adult human being.
Also they are dogs that have a split personality, which makes it extra important for this breed to be well socialized. Belgian malinois has the habit on being very friendly and loyal to his family, but to be very mistrusting, even on the edge of paranoia toward strangers.
So they are strong dogs and have the personality to serve and protect. Now you may understand why they are great working dogs for police work.
But as a family dog, they need very special attention. They need to be well socialized, since a badly socialized belgian malinois will always be a treat to any person this dog does not know.
So you need to socialize a belgian malinois. This is most prior to any training, since they can otherwise become dangerous. Still many people keep a dog as a killing machine, that only they can handle. Don't worry, any well trained belgian malinois will never let a burglar get away from your home in one piece.
Belgian malinois are very protective and active, even nervous dogs, that need a lot of excersise and attention. So can you spend lots of time training your dog?
If belgian malinois do not get enough training and attention, they get bored and find out ways to keep themselves busy. Best case scenario, they might reshape your furniture, in worst case scenarios they might even get mad and become aggressive and get personality disorders. In some cases putting the dog down is the only option left.
But if you are sporty and consider training your dog in a decent dog school and have enough time and space, your belgian malinois may be the best companion you can imagine.
Most working line belgian malinois do well on agility and ring sports. Ring is about the hardest training and most people only know the attacking the person in the thick suit on command, but there is much more to that, like agility, searching and protecting. Also rejecting offered food is one of the elements, since people with bad intentions might poison a watch dog before striking.
A decent socialized belgian malinois can actually be thought to bite and attack on command, without becoming dangerous or aggressive. Most ring trained dogs will only see the attack as a game. Still you better train this under professional supervision.
Belgian malinois are great dogs for sports and for advanced dog owners that know how to handle strong, large dogs with a personality, but they are dogs that need a lot of attention and training.
They make perfect dogs for sports, protecting areas and people. As family dogs, they will do great with kids when well socialized, but never keep them together without surveillance. Small children and dogs never go together alone.
So when you have a large house, domain an much time, will to train your dog and the ability to make sure a strong fence, you may be the perfect owner for a belgian malinois. They are not really great dogs to be kept in an apartment by people with little time for them.
Also those dogs need owners in good physical condition. During puberty they might actually go through a stage of aggression and will try to bite their owners. Therefore they are not always the kind of dogs that can be trained gently. Some might need a hard handed human that keeps fighting the alpha position during this period of time. But studs between 6 months and one year old can be strong enough to bite you severely.
Belgian malinois have the worst bite of all dogs, causing a lot of injury. Unlike flat mouthed dogs like pit bulls, they grab your limb, drive their teeth into it and shake their head to tear muscle from bone. When you like to defend yourself, byt hitting their nose, they see it coming, let go and grab you in another place, while pit bulls grab you and cannot let go. Worst case scenario they tear pieces of skin and muscle out of you, leaving some ugly scars, but belgian malonois will just dismember your limbs, tear of tendons and deeply tear your skin. People ever being the apache in ring sports know why they wear this protective suit. And even than they might still feel something and often get bruised.
Their attack is to make sure damage and disable their victim and since they can do this on command, they are well respected additions to police force and military. When a crook is ahead of you and making an escape, letting the dog grab him leg will stop him. Most criminals arrested this way, end up on the surgery table prior to interrogation.
Also security agents are getting to know this dog and because it is not so likely to hip trouble as german shepards, belgian malinois is becoming more and more popular in defence services.
Maybe I scared you a little with this article, but I rather have you thinking twice about owning this fantastic breed of dogs, than having you owning one you cannot handle. Most people bitten by dogs are the owners themselves.