Intelligent. Athletic. Protective. Anyone who ever had the privilege of caring for a Belgian Malinois knows these dogs’ unwavering loyalty makes them easy to love.
But even the most pampered dogs can experience loneliness. If you are the proud pet parent of a Belgian Malinois, you might be wondering whether your best friend would be happier with a canine buddy of their own.
But do Belgian Malinois even get along with other dogs? And if so, which breed would make the best companion for them?
This article will explore these questions to help you figure out if getting a second dog is the right choice for you and your Belgian Malinois.
Do Belgian Malinois need a companion?
Every dog is unique – just like people, they each have their own personalities, preferences, and history that affects their individual behavior.
However, there are some general breed characteristics that are important to keep in mind when evaluating whether your Belgian Malinois would benefit from having a companion.
What are the breed characteristics of the Belgian Malinois?
Along with their athleticism, the Belgian Malinois’ loyalty to their owners is this breed’s defining trait. Their intelligence makes obedience training not just a fun bonding activity, but a requirement to keep this dog entertained. Belgian Malinois are always ready to play, run, and defend their loved ones no matter the danger.
While these traits certainly make for a perfect companion for highly active individuals, they do come with some draw backs.
According to the American Belgian Malinois Club, if a Belgian Malinois is not stimulated with tons of obedience training and intense exercises, that energy will be channeled into destructive behavior.
Furthermore, a Belgian Malinois who is not properly socialized during puppyhood might let their loyalty turn into jealous possessiveness.
Formal obedience training and socialization from a young age, both the ABMC and the AKC claim, are the best way to prevent behavioral problems.
Can Belgian Malinois Live with Other Dogs?
Now that we know some of the Belgian Malinois’ main characteristics, we can ask ourselves whether they can harmoniously live with other dogs.
As a herding breed, the Belgian Malinois has a high prey drive that is manifested through the chasing of moving object, including children and small animals.
The Belgian Malinois’ loyal and protective nature may also make them territorial, which in turn makes them wary of strangers.
That does not mean, however, that they can’t get along with other dogs. Obedience training and proper socialization is key, especially when done from an early age.
A Belgian Malinois that was raised around children and other small animals will naturally feel more comfortable around them when compared to a dog who has lived exclusively in a single-dog household.
Puppy classes may help Belgian Malinois grow accustomed to other dogs. Consistent positive exposure to other dogs, the Pet Spruce claims, may help curb some of those territorial instincts.
Formal, gradual introductions at a neutral environment will also help the Belgian Malinois see that other dogs are not a threat to themselves, their homes, and, most importantly, their beloved owners.
So, can the Belgian Malinois live safely and happily with other dogs?
The answer is, yes – that is, if the owner takes the steps to properly train, socialize, and introduce their dog to their new companion.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Companion for your Belgian Malinois
But knowing whether the Belgian Malinois can live with another dog is a different question than whether your Belgian Malinois needs a companion. Or even, whether you are ready to take on such a responsibility.
Most often, the reason why pet parents seek a second a dog is because they fear their dog is lonely. Dogs are incredibly social creatures, after all, and none of us want to think that our beloved friends are suffering due to unwanted solitude. So how can you tell if that is the case with your own Belgian Malinois?
According to Vet Help Direct, separation anxiety is one of the main reasons why dogs may experience loneliness. This anxiety, in turn, can lead to unusual clinginess, howling when the owner leaves their sight, excessive and repeated licking, and oversleeping.
And just like with humans, dogs who are experiencing loneliness and depression can lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.
Again, we must emphasize that each dog is unique, and therefore might deviate from what is considered standard. For this reason, it is important to know what is normal for your pet so you can more easily notice any behavioral changes.
Let’s now examine the pros and cons of introducing another dog into your life.
Of course, one of the major pros of giving your Belgian Malinois a companion is that they’ll have a companion. If your dog has been experiencing separation anxiety and loneliness, a canine companion might help ease that distress.
More exercise and play
This is especially important for the Belgian Malinois! A second dog can be an incredible playmate that will help your Belgian Malinois burn up all that excessive energy.
Think about your vet bills. Could you afford to have them double? What if one of your dogs had a medical emergency? What if it both had to be suddenly taken to emergency care? Would you be able to afford the treatment?
Taking care of one dog is a long-term commitment that should not be taken lightly. Taking care of a second dog requires you to make that commitment again, and it might require you to sacrifice travel plans, nights out with your friends, and even leisure time spent watching television or going to the movies to ensure your dogs are getting the care they deserve.
Is your home ready to handle two dogs?
A Belgian Malinois requires a lot of space, and so, it is only natural that a compatible canine companion would require that as well.
If you do not live in a home or area that is equipped to meet their needs, then getting a second dog might not be the right choice for you.
10 best companion dog breeds for your Belgian Malinois
Now that we covered all our bases, here are the 10 best companion dog breeds for Belgian Malinois. Please note that these are not listed in any particular order.
1. German Shepherd
Highly intelligent, friendly, and obedient, the German Shepherd has the temperament and physicality to keep up with the Belgian Malinois.
The Husky is a working dog that loves exercise and thrives in packs, making him a great companion for other dogs.
3. Border Collie
Intelligent, hardworking, and incredibly athletic. Sounds familiar? The Border Collie and the Belgian Malinois share numerous characteristics, making them incredibly compatible.
4. Golden Retriever
Calm and gentle, there’s a reason the Golden Retriever’s easy-going temperament wonderfully compliment the more shyer nature of the Belgian Malinois.
One of the friendliest breeds there are, the Labrador is a dog who won’t be put off by the Belgian Malinois’ hesitance in the beginning of their friendship, and may even help the Belgian Malinois come out of their shell.
6. Standard Poodle
Highly intelligent and beloved all over the world, the Standard Poodle’s sweet and friendly temperament allows them to easily adapt to the Belgian Malinois more reserved nature, keeping them company without overwhelming them.
7. Great Dane
A gentle giant, the Great Dane is friendly and outgoing. They are doting and playful, making them a good pair for the Belgian Malinois.
Though smaller in size than the other breeds included in this list, the Beagle is a highly energetic and sturdy dog that could easily keep up with the Belgian Malinois.
Beautiful and graceful, the Salukis’ immense speed makes them a great companion for the Belgian Malinois. The two will tire each other out during play time, burning all that immense energy with fast paced races.
10. Belgian Malinois
The ideal canine companion for a Belgian Malinois is a dog who can keep up with an intense exercise, who is tough, and who can thrive with training. Can you think of a dog that fits these requirements better than another Belgian Malinois?
Those lucky enough to care for a Belgian Malinois know just how special these dogs are. While canine companionship may not come naturally to the Belgian Malinois, if you remember to keep up with regular training and if you introduce them properly, then there’s no reason why your Belgian Malinois shouldn’t thrive beside their canine companion.
Can Belgian Malinois live with small dogs?
Every Belgian Malinois can be trained from puppyhood to get along with all sorts of animals. However, the Belgian Malinois does have strong prey and herding instincts that may cause them to chase smaller dogs, cats, and other animals. Even though these actions are not done out of malice, they may still create a scary environment for the smaller animal. For this reason, it is best for the Belgian Malinois to live with other large dogs.