Belgian Malinois - Breed and Grooming Tips

One of the four types of Belgian sheepherding dogs, the Belgian Malinois is an alert, high-energy breed, popular as both a police and military working dog. Although sometimes mistaken for the German Shepherd Dog, the Malinois is more elegant in build and lighter-boned, but does not lack for strength, agility or herding ability. Active participants in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, herding, sledding, and tracking, the breed ranges in color from rich fawn to mahogany, with black tips on the hairs and a black mask and ears.



 

Right Breed for You?

Intelligent and trainable, the Belgian Malinois possesses a strong desire to work and is happiest with regular activity and a job to do. A relatively easy keep due to their medium size and short coat, this confident breed loves their families, but may be somewhat reserved with strangers. They are naturally protective of their owners without being overly aggressive.



Source:  American Kennel Club - www.akc.org


Grooming

Bathing and General Grooming



The frequency of bathing depends on you and your dog’s lifestyle.  This highly intelligent and athletic dog can be bathed as frequently as every week up to no longer than every 6 weeks.  Routine baths and blowouts, as well as frequent brushing, lay the groundwork for maintaining healthy skin and coat.



This double coated breed has an extra dense undercoat and a thick topcoat which provides protection from water and extreme weather conditions. Because of this thick, dense coat, it is always beneficial to take a few extra minutes prior to the bath to loosen any dirt and debris from the skin, and blow out any loose hair using a high velocity dryer.  Then use an undercoat rake, stone, shedding blade, carding tool, or even a slicker brush to remove additional loose coat.  Once the right products for your dog’s coat and skin have been selected, it is time for a bath.  Since the Belgian Malinois is such an energetic and athletic dog, two baths are recommended.  The pre bath is for general cleaning to remove any dirt and grime, and to bring the coat back to a neutral state.  Bringing the coat back to a neutral state allows the product you select to work more effectively.  A rubber curry with cylinder type teeth is a great way to help the shampoo penetrate through the thick, dense coat.  The final bath is designed to target the needs of the dog’s skin and coat.  Immerse your fingers deep into the coat while massaging the shampoo into the coat making sure every part is thoroughly covered.  When rinsing the coat, it is recommended to cool the water temperature down slightly to help remove all of the product.



Once the bath is complete, it is imperative to get the dog completely dry.  Since the coat is thick and dense, make sure the hair is dry all the way to the skin removing all traces of any dampness and moisture.  Try to get in the habit of drying the Belgian Malinois in the direction the coat should lay.  After the dog is dry, run a slicker brush over the dog in the direction the coat should lay.



Recommended Products:



Energee Plus “Dirty Dog” Shampoo:  Go ahead and let them play!  This natural degreaser and deodorizer gets even the filthiest dogs clean.  This shampoo will restore the coat back to a neutral state.



Simple Shed Shampoo:  A natural Oat Protein and Aloe shampoo that releases loose hair and undercoat while it cleans and conditions.



Flea and Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.



Simple Shed Treatment:  Decrease seasonal and non-seasonal shedding by releasing loose hair and undercoat.  Use in conjunction with a deshedding tool for best results.



Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner:  A luxurious conditioner to provide the coat with an abundance of hydration leaving the coat full of luster and shine.



Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming



The coat should be fresh, clean and full of body.  No loose or shedding hair should be visible to the eye.  If there is still excessive loose hair, use a high velocity dryer to remove.  Use a curry brush over the entire body so the coat lays flat and straight.  The freshly clean and hydrated coat should refract a brilliant shine and enhance the natural color of the coat.



Recommended Products



Aloe Hydrating Spray:  Formulated to provide extreme hydration allowing the skin’s healthy, natural oils to permeate the skin adding luxurious shine to the coat.  The inner filet of the Aloe plant allows the skin and coat to maintain perfect hydration.



Simple Shed and Static Spray:  Formulated to decrease non seasonal shedding while eliminating static.  Relieves itchiness associated with dry skin too.



General Health Care



Prep work is the foundation of all grooming.  Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene.  Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest.  Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment.  All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis.  Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal.  This allows the ear to have proper air circulation.  It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris.  It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor.  Proper nail care is also very important.  Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on.  Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.



Recommended Products:



Ear Care:  This ear cleaner has a blend of natural oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.



Ear Powder:  A must for removing the hair from the ear canal.  It will reduce slippage, while reducing odor, and contributing to drying out the ear canal.



Aloe Vera Jelly:  This soothing blend relieves insect bites, mild rashes, and sun burn.



Hot Spot Foam:  This foam relieves itching and burning while promoting healing.



3 in 1 Healing Cream:  Stops licking and chewing while promoting cell regeneration and healing.



 



Nutritional Care



In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well-balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.



Recommended Products:



Active Dog Vitamins Plus:  For optimal health for dogs that are athletic in nature, this chicken flavored supplement supplies essential minerals and vitamins to your dog.

Icelandic Salmon Oil:  Enhances the skin and coat while simultaneously supporting the immune system and joint health.

 



Frequently Asked Questions



1/ What products do I need if I just purchased a Belgian Malinois puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Optisoothe Eye Wash

Puppy Aloe Wipes



2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?



The Belgian Malinois is a very athletic breed.  A bath and blowout is necessary to keep the shedding at bay and to maintain healthy skin and coat.  Make it a habit to spend some quality time brushing your dog to keep the coat separated and divided which, in turn, will allow the skin to breathe.



3/ What is a common problem in the Belgian Malinois?



Skin allergies resulting in itching, scratching, and associated to minor skin infections is a common problem in the Belgian Malinois.  Diet and nutrition can also be a major factor in skin allergies. Hip and elbow dysplasia are also common in this breed.  Hip dysplasia, a genetic disease affecting the hip joint, can be a devastating disease, slow a dog down, and can and will have pain associated with its onset.  A great resource for hip and elbow dysplasia is The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). All registered show dogs are required to be examined and rated with specific attention given to hip dysplasia. An OFA certification on file gives a clear sign the dog does not or will not have hip dysplasia, although it is not conclusive.



4/ Does the Belgian Malinois shed or cause allergies?



They shed, but basic maintenance will significantly reduce the amount of hair in your home.  For most of the year, weekly brushing will suffice.  However, daily brushing is almost mandatory during major shedding cycles.



5/ Are Belgian Malinois’ good with children?



The Belgian Malinois can be very accepting to children as long as he was raised with them from a young age.  They are a herding breed and may have a tendency to chase or nip at children.  This type of behavior needs to be corrected immediately so it does not develop into a further problem.  They are best suited to a family with older children who understand the importance of treating the dog with respect.



6/ What if I have a show dog?



Whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene.  The difference is the grooming maintenance and conditioning for the show ring.  It is always helpful if your breeder is willing to help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of show dogs.  A great place to start is with the national breed club like the American Belgian Malinois Club,  www.malinoisclub.com.


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