The Belgian Malinois (opens in new tab) could be the next breed added to the UK's banned list, warns leading UK dog trainer Jacob Morgan, owner of the Yorkshire Canine Academy (opens in new tab), based in the North of England – and he should know, as he's got one!
There are currently only four types of dog on the dangerous banned breeds list in the UK, the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro. This means it is illegal to own, breed, sell, give away, abandon or even rescue any of these four dog breeds, and Jacob claims they could soon be adding the Belgian Malinois to this list.
After featuring in the John Wick franchise and the film Dog starring Channing Tatum, the handsome hound breed (often mistaken for a German Shepherd) became a must-have all over Britain, but unfortunately many people are not equipped to deal with such an intelligent and highly energetic dog.
Speaking to Wales Online (opens in new tab) Jacob Morgan, who has trained more than 2,500 dogs as well as owning five, says: "I can confidently say the Belgian Malinois is not a family pet and especially if you have a full time job, you don’t have time for this breed."
Jacob owns a 15-week-old Belgian Malinois puppy named Stark. "I planned to get a Belgian Malinois puppy for two years. I’d chosen his name before I found the right breeder, as there are so many people breeding for profit over health and the right personality traits."
But even as a highly experienced trainer, Jacob can struggle to keep up with him.
"I’m with him most of the day while I train our clients' dogs. But I also have members of staff who can also make sure Stark is getting stimulated by giving him an activity to do every hour. Even as a dog trainer, if it was just me looking after Stark, I’d struggle."
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Traditionally used as a herding dog, but now frequently employed by police and military, the Belgian Malinois can grow to around 30kg and live for 14-16 years. They have a high prey drive, according to Jacob, strong herding tendencies and are also incredibly loyal due to their guarding instinct.
As with other intelligent and athletic breeds, such as the Siberian Husky and Doberman Pinscher, they require a huge amount of attention and exercise – things many busy households just don't have the capacity to give, which can lead to the hounds becoming anxious and lashing out. A nightmare when it comes to young children and smaller furries vs a large, inadequately trained Malinois.
"Just this week I have seen five Belgian Malinois dogs looking to be re-homed via Facebook," Jacob continued. "This is frightening to see as it shows people are buying this breed of dog and not being able to care for them."
Jacob warns that, "it takes thousands of hours of training to make a Belgian Malinois a ‘regular dog’", and claims many are unintentionally being bred to have, what he calls, "a 'nervy edge'".
“It’s a perfect storm happening right now and I’m sure it won’t be long until the breed is banned altogether. Through no fault of their own, it will be the fault of the thoughtless breeders and those owners who haven’t done their research properly.”
In short, unless you have as much energy as John Wick, perhaps think carefully when it comes to adopting a Belgian Malinois!
Unfortunately, with Belgian Malinois puppies available online for a mere £650 ($800) and a continuing increase in interest in the breed, many folks might not get the memo.
But after the charity Blue Cross put a call out to ban French bulldogs, pugs and other flat-faced pets in the UK due to health issues, perhaps the UK simply need to put stricter rules in place when it comes to breeding and adopting such specialised pedigree pooches, so that both pets and owners are kept both happy and healthy.
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