The Malinois Belgian Shepherd is a strong, proud shepherd dog with short and dense hair, black mask and typical collar around the neck. 
The Malinois Belgian Shepherd is a square dog with a very proud stance, agile, strong and very smart. Well proportionate and elegant, the male is between 61 and 66 cm, and the female from 56 to 61 cm. The head is strong and in good proportion with the body. The eyes are medium sized, almond shaped, never bulging. The ears are triangular and erect, never half risen or dropping. The neck is round and with enough length to allow a proud head carriage. The withers are slightly more elevated, and descending towards the back; the upper outline is leveled and straight; the chest is deep, but not wide. The abdomen is not retracted or appears hanging. The rump is medium length and sloping. The forelegs are strong and parallel; the hind legs, also parallel, and good substance, with oval bones rather than round. The feet, usually round, and the nails dark and large. The tail is strong, not too short, never docked. The typical coat is short, with straight hair, rough and impermeable, with a dense undercoat; somewhat longer around the neck, forming a collar, as well as in the back part of the thighs. The color is fawn with a black mask.
A versatile and attractive dog, the Malinois resembles the German Shepherd, which has been its blessing and doom, since it will always be in the shadow of the German Shepherd’s infinite popularity. Its less popularity makes it an alternative for people who are not willing to look for a good quality German Shepherd, or than want an excellent guardian dog. However, the Malinois has many fantastic virtues to offer its owner: it is protective, strong, loving, and reliable with children, obedient and little demanding in general.
The long hairs create a mottled effect over the fawn or chestnut coat of the Malinois.
The Malinois in average weighs around 500 g at birth. After eight weeks the weigh is in about 4.5 kg. Growth can vary in each individual: it usually reaches physical maturity after eighteen months. When choosing a puppy, the buyer should avoid too large specimens (the Belgian Shepherd is a medium sized dog) and look for a square, solid structure. The coat should be short. The color can vary from light to dark, but the typical black mask and the black ears should be present. Although there should be some white in the puppies, and excess of white spots, usually at the chest and lowering through the inner part of the limbs, is a clear flaw. There can be some white over the muzzle, like a “frosting”, which can be accepted, but the specimen will not be in a show. The buyer should watch for inferior or superior prognathism. Black shadowing over the coat will become more apparent with the years. The young dog will lose its soft puppy hair, which will be replaced by its dense and protective coat. Young males can be rebellious and dominant (not the females), but this is a transitory phase. Abundant socialization and timely education should result in a loyal, obedient dog and protective by nature. 
The black mask and black shadowing of the puppy turn lighter with age. The buyer should not worry about small white spots on the muzzle, but should avoid puppies that are too large.
Although the Malinois belongs to one of the healthiest and most resistant canine families, the breed is affected by hip dysplasia. The problem incidence is quite controlled by serious breeders. According to certain sources, the current incidence is no more than 5 %. Epilepsy cases are also known in the other Belgian Shepherd varieties. Reports talk about reactions to vaccines or anesthetics – be careful and talk about it with your breeder or veterinarian. Dermatitis can emerge during shedding in the Groenendael as well as in the Malinois. Every breeder should perform sight tests. The shortest Malinois coat requires little brushing, but its demands in exercise and training are equally high. Many Malinois begin going grey at young age (after two years). Its longevity is over 14 years.
The Malinois puppy has a softer coat than the adult. The puppy should be used to brushing since young, so it learns to like the attention.