Male vs. Female Belgian Malinois: Which Is Better?

Male and female Belgian Malinois tongue out

Both the male and female Belgian Malinois are clever, energetic dogs that excel at a variety of jobs, including herding, police work, search and rescue, and agility competitions. But do they have differences?

Generally, the female Belgian Malinois is closer to its owners and is easier to handle due to its smaller stature and more submissive nature. Meanwhile, the male Malinois is bolder, more playful, and a little bit more stubborn. Depending on your lifestyle, one of the two will suit you better.

Deciding on whether to get a male or a female pup requires weighing many of their differences. That is why in this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the differences between male and female Belgian Malinois.

Physical Differences

Male and female Belgian Malinois sitting on the stairs

Male Belgian Malinois

A male Belgian Malinois is typically larger than a female, as is the case with the majority of canine breeds.

Male Belgian Malinois dogs usually weigh between 60 and 80 pounds and stand approximately 24 to 26 inches tall from the shoulder.

Due to their higher testosterone levels, males may also be significantly more muscular, though it will be difficult to tell through their thick fur. 

Appearance-wise, it shares the same fur colors, like brown or black, black paws, and long head structure as its female counterpart. Moreover, males also have an exceedingly proud gait, similar to females.

Female Belgian Malinois

A female Belgian Malinois should stand 22 to 24 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 60 pounds, making it a few inches shorter and lighter than a male.

Due to their smaller size and relative ease of handling, trainers and seasoned Belgian Malinois owners frequently suggest females to novice owners.

Even with the apparent differences in height and weight, it can be challenging to determine the sex of a Belgian Malinois based solely on appearance.

Like the male Mali, a female Belgian Malinois will also have an elegant short brown fur coat with distinctive black shades on the head and feet. They will also have erect ears and a long head structure.

In a nutshell, a female Malinois will look exactly the same as a male Mali, only with a lighter muscle structure and smaller frame. 

Watch this video to have a better idea of the differences between male and female Belgian Malinois: 

Male vs. Female Dog Belgian Malinois owner l Things to know about dogs

Temperamental Differences

Male Belgian Malinois

While the Belgian Malinois breed is generally known for its high energy, males are often more playful and braver than females. Moreover, males can also be more unruly, clumsier, and more chaotic than female Malis. 

Some dog owners are attracted to this male Mali’s laid-back personality and patient behavior toward outsiders and other pets. A male Mali is also likely to form a close bond with its owner or a specific person.

Males, however, are known to need firmer and steadier guidance from their owners and trainers as they are generally more stubborn and hard-headed compared to females.

Male Malinois also tend to be aggressive with other males as they are quite territorial when it comes to their homes and families. 

Female Belgian Malinois

Many owners claim that a female Belgian Malinois is better suited for a novice Belgian Malinois owner due to its calmer disposition and smaller size. 

Female Belgian Malinois are also more responsive and easier to teach since they mature more quickly than males. In addition, females tend to be more concentrated and attentive.

Contrary to males, female Malis need time to adjust to their surroundings when they are taken for walks in public places. This is because they are warier of strangers and other dogs than male Malis. 

Female Malinois, however, are not too aggressive towards dogs of the same sex. This is because females adopt a pack mentality which makes them more protective than territorial.

This pack mentality also causes them to be protective of the family as a whole and are less likely to form an attachment towards one person, unlike a male Mali. 

Behavior and Training

Male and female Belgian Malinois during training

Male Belgian Malinois

Male Malis spend a longer time in their youthful and immature stage compared to females. Hence, expect male pups to be more challenging to train.

As they are slower to mature, male Belgian Malinois dogs are easily distracted during training. This is also why it takes more work to train and housebreak male Malis properly.

The adventurous attitude of male Belgian Malinois dogs also makes them constantly eager and ready for the next duty you give them. However, they may be too fidgety to focus on your directions.

This is more likely to happen when they are out in public since there are more distractions, such as other dogs and small animals. Because of this, it is often better to train your male Mali away from distractions.

In addition, male Malinois dogs are prone to territory marking. They do this by urinating in random places in public. This trait is one of the things you should train your male Belgian Malinois not to do.

Female Belgian Malinois

Female Malis are easier to train since they mature earlier than males. This also means they respond better to training at a younger age.

In general, females are the superior option for obedience training and dog shows since they are known to be more sympathetic toward their owners. Furthermore, females are much better at maintaining their attention.

Additionally, because of their smaller size and less muscular build, these pups are generally easier to handle. 

Some owners may have an easier time teaching female Malis, which is why they are recommended for novice trainers and first-time Belgian Malinois owners.

Usually, female Belgian Malinois dogs are less territorial and may exhibit territorial marking.

A possible owner, however, should be aware of its wariness towards strangers and other pets when bringing them to public places.

Health Differences

Male Belgian Malinois

Due to their greater size and heavier weight, male Malis experience more wear and strain on their bones. As a result, male Malis are more prone to developing hip and elbow dysplasia than their female counterparts.

In general, male Belgian Malinois are susceptible to having this condition at some point in their lives. In a nutshell, dysplasia is characterized by the misalignment of the joints. This causes extreme discomfort to an affected dog.

Moreover, male Belgian Malinois dogs are also vulnerable to developing cataracts, pannus, progressive renal atrophy (PRA), and hemangiosarcoma. However, all of these health problems are also observed in female Malis.

While males are more likely to inherit many illnesses, there is no scientific proof that suggests that they are less healthy than females. In fact, both the male and female Belgian Malinois have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Aside from providing preventive medications to fight genetic and natural diseases, neutering your male Malinois could decrease the chances of certain types of cancers.

Neutering is believed to offer long-term health advantages in addition to preventing unwanted traits like aggressiveness and marking.

Female Belgian Malinois

Healthy female Malis are less prone to develop hip and elbow dysplasia because of their smaller, lighter build. And even if they do, managing the illness and preventing it from getting worse is easier.

In terms of spaying a female Belgian Malinois, there is no deadset answer as to when they should undergo the procedure. 

Spaying is a common medical process that involves cutting a small incision in the abdomen to make a female dog infertile.

Some experts advise spaying before the first heat (as early as five months), while others contend that doing so may raise the risk of mammary tumors. For a specific opinion, it is advised to see your vet first. 

Like neutering, spaying also offers many health benefits for your female Belgian Malinois. According to experts, when done at the right time, it can reduce the likelihood of pyometra, perianal fistula, and malignant tumors. 

With Other Dogs and Pets

Male Belgian Malinois sitting beside another breed

Male Belgian Malinois

If you have other male pets at home and want to add a male Mali, you should pay close attention to training your dogs. If possible, train them as early as day one of bringing them home. 

This is crucial because male Malis can be aggressive towards other males. On the flip side, however, male Malis tend to get along well with female dogs. 

In fact, it is recommended to get a male Belgian Malinois if you already have a female pooch at home.

If you own tiny pets like cats, hamsters, chinchillas, or other small creatures, the male Mali may not be the best pet for you. Due to their strong hunting drive, male Belgian Malinois dogs are likely to chase after your tiny pets. 

My previous boss used to have a male Belgian Malinois, and prior to having it trained, it showed aggressive behavior towards cats and other smaller animals as well. Whenever it was released from its enclosure, its main job was to hunt mice in the facility but will go after cats and other reptiles, too.

While hunting, though, it was always hard for my boss’s male Malinois to listen to commands since it was always zoned in on its prey. Leash training and socialization were done to manage the behavior.

The easiest way to ensure that your male Belgian Malinois will get along with your smaller pet is to introduce them at an early age. Pets that are raised alongside each other are more likely to get along.

Female Belgian Malinois

Female Belgian Malinois are often reluctant to leave their owner’s side; hence, they are a little more reserved when meeting other dogs and pets. 

The female Belgian Malinois is also less likely to fight with other dogs to assert dominance. Because of this, females may be a better choice if you already have other pets at home.

However, this does not mean that females are immune to same-sex aggression. In fact, females may still get into fights once in a while.

If you already have other pets at home, adding a female Belgian Malinois is a bit tricky. According to experts, it is better to add a female Malinois puppy if your existing pets are at least two years older.

On the other hand, if you own cats or other pets, it is important to know that female Malis share the same hunting instinct as males. Because of this, your female Mali may get the urge to chase and unintentionally hurt smaller pets.

However, because they are more responsive to training, female Malis may be trained to get along with smaller creatures.

With Children

Male Belgian Malinois

Since male Belgian Malinois dogs are energetic, there is always a danger that they might accidentally run into a child at home and hurt them.

Their energy, combined with their notoriously rowdy disposition, may not be the best for households with children. After all, a male Mali is essentially an 80-pounds playful beast dashing around your house.

Aside from that, male Malis also enjoy biting objects, even when they’re just playing. That said, they may accidentally wind up nipping your kid when they’re just trying to be playful.

Fortunately, most Belgian Malinois dogs will outgrow their playfulness. It all comes down to receiving the right training.

All in all, male Belgian Malinois dogs make wonderful companions for families with children. 

If you have the time and commitment to train them, then you won’t have a problem with a male Belgian Malinois, even if you have kids at home.

Female Belgian Malinois

A female Belgian Malinois is more suitable to be around children. This is all thanks to their pack mentality and slightly toned-down energy level.

With a female Mali, you won’t have to worry as much about your dog running over one of your children out of enthusiasm. While it is still possible to happen, it is less likely.

Moreover, you’ll find it easier to train a female Mali not to nip and bite. Overall, this means that female Malis are generally safer if you have children in your household.

However, it is important to note that some female Belgian Malinois might herd your children. Females may also try to discipline small toddlers in their own ways. These tendencies stem from their motherly instincts.

Pros and Cons of Male and Female Belgian Malinois 

Male and female Belgian Malinois sitting on dirt

Male Belgian Malinois

Male Malis, due to their territorial and protective nature, are intelligent guard dogs. Their strong appearance and large build also help in scaring unwanted strangers from entering your home. 

Aside from this, male Malinois are fiercely loyal. Combining this trait with their territorial nature gives you a guard dog with which you could form a special bond. 

Male Malis, however, have a tendency to be aggressive toward other male dogs. This trait is caused by their territorial nature. You should also expect marking behaviors that need to be curbed before they get used to it. 

Also, because they are slower to mature compared to females, they are more challenging to train. Male Malis may also have occasional stubborn streaks, and they may not be the best choice if you have kids at home.

Good protection dogsAggressive towards other male dogs
Able to form a bond with a specific ownerMore challenging to train
Playful and energetic temperamentPossibility of chasing smaller existing pets
Highly athletic and fitCan be too playful with children
Generally healthy and robustNeeds extra effort for exercise needs

Female Belgian Malinois

On the other hand, female Malinois are often chosen because of their calmer nature. A female will often show less hyperactivity and settle for a gentle and caring personality.

Female Malinois are also easier to train because they mature earlier than males. This means they are less likely to be more playful and could hold their attention when learning new commands and tricks.

However, female Malis don’t go well with strangers and other pets. In fact, female Malis may be aggressive towards a new visitor or other dogs in a dog daycare or public park.

If you are an owner looking for a high-energy dog, a female Malinois would be fine, but you may be better off with a male Mali if you want a livelier pooch.

Additionally, a female Malinois is more likely to come off as serious and mature due to her calm demeanor. 

Calm, gentle, and caring temperamentAggressive towards strangers and other pets
Easier to train due to higher focusLess playful and not laid back
Better for families with childrenPossibility of chasing smaller existing pets
Faster maturity rateNeeds extra effort for exercise needs

Should You Get a Male or Female Belgian Malinois? 

In choosing between a male and female Belgian Malinois, there are many crucial factors to take into account. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your preferences; however, there are some easy guidelines to help you decide.

A male Malinois is an ideal dog for you if you seek a pet that can defend your home. Moreover, the male Malinois is also excellent for personal protection.

Male Malinois are also more social with humans and other dogs in public. They are also more adventurous and livelier to be with.

On the other hand, female Malinois dogs are preferable for families with kids. The female Malinois can also be trained easily and housebroken more quickly, thanks to their faster maturation rate. 

Moreover, females are the better option for first-time dog owners and people with other pets. Thanks to their trainability, females can be trained to be more tolerant of other pets.

In reality, you cannot go wrong with either the male or female Belgian Malinois. As long as you are willing to train your dog, you will surely get an excellent companion with either one.

Regardless of gender, however, a typical Belgian Malinois could cost $1,000 to $3,500. Once you have decided on which one to get, make sure to read our guide on the top 10 best Belgian Malinois breeders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Male and female Belgian Malinois sharing a scarf

Are Male or Female Belgian Malinois Calmer?

Female Malis are calmer than males. Males are often more unruly and playful towards their owners, other people, and other pets. 

Males also require a firmer hand in training compared to females, as they are naturally more stubborn. Hence, if you want a calmer pet, pick the female Belgian Malinois.

Are Male or Female Belgian Malinois More Affectionate?

Female Malinois are generally more affectionate. Females are known to mature earlier than males and often settle into a much gentler and calmer personality.

Females, however, are more likely to be close to the family as a whole rather than form an affectionate bond with a specific person, unlike males. 

Are Male or Female Belgian Malinois Easier to Train?

Female Malinois are easier to train as they are less stubborn and more attentive than males. Female Malis are also observed to have a higher focus than the other gender.

Male Malis often require a more experienced trainer than female Malis. Male Malinois show stubborn streaks more frequently than their female counterparts. 

Final Thoughts

Male and female Belgian Malinois, when properly socialized, are both excellent family dogs who get along well with kids and are appropriate for a variety of outdoor activities.

Despite this, however, the environment in which they are raised ultimately dictates how they turn out.

Any Malinois owner will tell you that every dog is different and has its own personality.

After reading this comprehensive guide, which one are you getting? If you have experience in raising a male or female Belgian Malinois, share with us your thoughts in the comments below!

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