The Malinois: The Life Aquatic*

With the greatest respect to a fabulous breed, we still had to stifle a chuckle when we came across this line on a Malinois owner’s blog:

“The Belgian Malinois: Because German Shepherds Need Heroes Too…”

You can’t fault someone for being proud of their breed.

Let’s review. The Malinois’ parent club writes on its website: “The Belgian Malinois is an active, intelligent dog that requires early exposure to different people and dogs so that he will be accepting of them later in life.” It adds, “The Malinois requires training to channel his energy into useful activities.”

Energy. Intelligence. Active. Exuberance.  One hears these words a lot in reference to this impressive breed.

Another descriptive is “intense.”

Experienced, high octane dog owners love this breed for its ability to keep up, both intellectually and physically.  These are highly attractive qualities to the US Military and law enforcement, but don’t take our word for it. Below are some remarks from actual military and police websites:

•••  As a police K9 or military working dog, the Malinois is able to launch through car windows to apprehend suspects, track down individuals through difficult and extreme environments, and even leap from aircrafts to parachute into challenging situations;

•••  The Belgian Malinois is a “precision instrument.” They are the full K-9 package, combining brains and athleticism, loyalty and bravery, which is why they are so popular as police dogs today, according to Police & Military K9 Sales & Training;

•••   The Belgian Malinois is a favored breed for training in K9, military and search and rescue operations. The keen intellect, great work ethic and protective nature combined in this large breed that can reach 60-80 pounds of raw energy, requires diligent training and engagement to reach its full potential as a willing partner to fight crime, track down lost citizens and protect those that serve;

•••  In return for active engagement, the owner/handler receives the unconditional love and affection — and loyalty — that a Malinois reserves for the “person” in its life.

As the AKC has written, law enforcement and military dogs are trained to grab and hold onto dangerous suspects and hold them hostage. Stars and Stripes, the U.S. military’s independent news source writes in one article, “The Belgian Malinois: ‘No better dog’ to track down insurgents, grab armed terrorists.”  It will surprise no Malinois owner that in the same article, Malinois are occasionally referred to as “Maligators,” an affectionate combination of the breed’s name + alligator. Some readers may interpret this as a nickname given to a dog that tends to bite, but one former dog trainer disagrees and says the name describes a breed of dog that “wants to grab the whole world with its mouth.”  This is hardly an insult to people who know that dogs use their mouths to explore and investigate their world, and the Malinois is nothing if not keenly intelligent and curious.

We were reminded of another “aquatic” term we came across in an article about idioms used by military K9 handlers, and the word is “landshark.” It is a reference to an MWD (military working dog) whose speed, strength, and bite are a cut above the rest, and not surprisingly, a Malinois’ image appeared with the article.

We leave you with another view of this remarkable breed that appears in the video below. Hankie alert (in a good way):

We wanted to know more about this dog. The most we were able to learn is that the video that first appeared on TikTok was taken in Ecatepec, Mexico and was posted by a TikTok user, @brendabriones9< who was heard saying in the clip, “Oh how beautiful.”  Our first thought upon seeing this? “We don’t deserve dogs.”

*Our title, “The Malinois: The Life Aquatic* is a nod to the adventure comedy-drama film, “Life Aquatic” and came to mind in view of the whole shark and alligator “thing.”

Image: “Serenity” by Rosellen Westerhoff, an open edition print of a colored pencil drawing is available as a print and as a greeting card here


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