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A Breed Comparison: Dutch Shepherd Vs. Belgian Malinois

There are so many different dog breeds all over the world, so you are bound to encounter some that are quite similar.

Whether you are just a dog enthusiast or you are looking for a new furry friend, it is important to learn more about the breeds that you plan on getting acquainted with.

Two breeds that are very similar are the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois.

Dutch Shepherd Vs. Belgian Malinois

At first glance, you might think these two dogs are the same, but on closer inspection, you will soon see there are many differences.

If you want to know more about these two breeds, then you have come to the right place.

We have put together a breed comparison guide to help you learn more about the similarities and differences between these two types of dogs.

The Dutch Shepherd Breed

The Dutch Shepherd is a breed of dog that is active, intelligent, and lively. As their name would suggest, this breed of dog was originally used to herd sheep and keep them in specific locations.

This breed of dog has its origins in Holland and is a breed of dog that was not intentionally bred. They were originally kept on fields and farms in the Netherlands and are excellent farm dogs.

The Dutch Shepherd is typically a very family-friendly breed of dog, and they thrive in open areas where they can run and be active.

They are incredibly vigilant and are fantastic watchdogs, which also pairs well with their loyal nature.

This breed of dog is also quite easy to train in comparison to other breeds, so even if you aren’t very experienced with dogs, you should be able to train them yourself.

The Belgian Malinois Breed

The Belgian Malinois is a smart and confident breed of dog that is known for its fierce loyalty to its human masters. It is often described as being a muscular breed but not bulky.

This breed of dog was originally bred in Malines, which is a city in northwestern Belgium.

Similar to the Dutch Shepherd, Belgian Malinois dogs are alert herders, and they thrive in any open spaces where they have the freedom to be active.

This breed of dog is also quite easy to train in comparison to other breeds of dogs. They take to learning really well and are highly intelligent.

Dutch Shepherd Vs. Belgian Malinois

Dutch Shepherd Vs. Belgian Malinois: Similarities

While these breeds are different, they do share some similarities that we should cover too. Both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois share the same sort of exercise needs, as well as not suffering from serious illness.

Read on for a more in-depth look into these two breeds’ similarities.


Both the Dutch Shepherd and Belgian Malinois typically need the same amount of exercise. They both require quite a sizable amount of exercise every day (around 2/ 2 and a half hours), so if you can’t accommodate that, both breeds might not be a suitable fit for you.

Both breeds of dogs are highly intelligent and get bored easily, which is another reason why they need so much physical activity.

It wears them out and keeps them stimulated enough not to give into destructive behavior when they are bored.

Both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois enjoy any kind of physical activity, but some of the best things you can do with them include hikes, running, walks, or even just giving them plenty of time to run freely in your backyard.

Barking & Vocalization

While both of these dog breeds are very active, you might be surprised to learn that they aren’t actually too loud. Both Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois dogs do not tend to bark excessively.

Both breeds will, of course, bark on occasion, but neither breed is known for barking more than necessary.

However, both dogs will bark more if they are not properly trained or stimulated, so keep that in mind!

Health Problems

There are lots of dog breeds that have health problems, but both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois are usually not counted among them.

On occasion, Dutch Shepherds can suffer from hip dysplasia, but this isn’t too common and, in most cases, isn’t really an issue. The Belgian Malinois doesn’t really have any common health problems either.

Both dog breeds have similar health levels, and neither breed really suffers from serious illnesses.

Dutch Shepherd Vs. Belgian Malinois

Dutch Shepherd Vs. Belgian Malinois: Differences

Just as there are similarities between the two breeds, there are, of course, differences too.

At first glance, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them, but when you take a closer look, you will soon see there are quite a few differences.

If you want to learn more about the difference between these two breeds, read on to find out more.


If you don’t know too much about either of these breeds, then you might think they are the same at first, but when you really look at both of them, the differences become a bit more obvious.

Belgian Malinois dogs have a different shaped head to Dutch Shepherds for one. They are also a lot more muscular than Dutch Shepherds and can vary in coat color.

Dutch Shepherds can only have a brindle coat and Belgian Malinois dogs can range in color from fawn to mahogany.


Another key difference between these two breeds is the amount of grooming that they need.

Belgian Malinois dogs need to be brushed and groomed a couple of times a week. This is to remove any dead hair or debris that has accumulated in their coat.

Dutch Shepherds, on the other hand, only need to be brushed once or twice a week in comparison.

This does vary slightly depending on what sort of coat your Dutch Shepherd has, but more often than not, they will never need as much grooming as the Belgian Malinois.


While both of these dog breeds are similar in size, one breed is ever so slightly bigger.

Belgian Malinois are described as being medium-to-large dogs. They typically range from 22 to 26 inches in height and can weigh anywhere between 40 to 80 pounds.

Dutch Shepherds are similar in size, but of the two dog breeds, they are the smallest. Usually, they range in height between 21.5 and 24.5 inches, and they can weigh anything between 42 and 75 pounds.


The temperament of both of these breeds does vary a bit. You will find that Dutch Shepherds tend to be more affectionate and protective of their human family than Belgian Malinois, and they are also a lot more playful too.

Belgian Malinois are also a lot more independent than Dutch Shepherds. They aren’t too clingy, especially if they have been trained from an early age.

There are always exceptions to this rule, though, and some Dutch Shepherds are not clingy at all, while some Belgian Malinois might be.

Relationship With Humans

The differences in these breeds’ relationships with humans aren’t negative, but Dutch Shepherds have a noticeable difference in behavior.

Dutch Shepherds are much more loyal than Belgian Malinois, and they tend to respond better to children, too.

This does not mean that Belgian Malinois dogs are not loyal or good with kids, just that Dutch Shepherds are actively expressing this behavior.

If you are worried about having Belgian Malinois dogs around your kids or family, don’t be! They respond wonderfully to humans; they are just a bit more independent than Dutch Shepherds.

Are Dutch Shepherds & Belgian Malinois Related?

The simple answer to this question is yes, they are related. Both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois look a bit like German Shepherds, and this is because all three breeds share a common ancestry.

Though they do share common ancestry with the German Shepherd, it is important to know that Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois developed and evolved separately, and at different times and different places.

They are actually separated by 120 years of breeding, so while they are related, it is very distant.

Belgian Malinois dogs also looked a lot different when they were first bred, whereas the Dutch Shepherds have changed the least.

Dutch Shepherds are also a naturally occurring breed, whereas Belgian Malinois were intentionally bred.

Both breeds stem from German Shepherds, and even before that, they share ancestry that comes from wolf-like sheepdogs, and this is why they look so similar and have some shared characteristics in their behavior.


Both the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois are fantastic dog breeds to keep in your home. Both are family-friendly and perfect for farm environments, and they generally enjoy the company of humans.

But as you can see, there are many differences between the two breeds. They may share common ancestors, but through years and years of selective breeding, these two breeds have become their own and can be differentiated once you know what to look out for.

Now you have a better understanding of both breeds, you can work out which suits you more.

Sharon Isaacs