The Truth About ‘Pet’ Malinois & Dutch Herders

We’re seeing a huge surge in enquires from owners of these breeds that are experiencing a host of issues from a very young age.

The truth is with dogs as driven and specialist as these, this is an inevitable reality. And, without dedicating everything towards becoming the absolute best owner and handler they can be, the dogs will likely find themselves rehomed before they even reach 1-year-old.

They’re likely the most intense, highly driven and extreme breeds in the world. A breed that is exceptional and excels in working environments, possessing high intelligence, energy levels, drives and a relentless enthusiasm to work.

The breeds are WORKING breeds. The Malinois is a working dog. The Dutch Shepherd is working dog. Not pets. Now this may ruffle some feathers but if you think otherwise, you’re unfortunately part of the problem that leads to a staggering amount of them being rehomed, abandoned or euthanised.

They’re like the Ferraris of the dog world and a dog that most dog trainers themselves wouldn’t even own, as they can be serious hard work. However, the recent surge and increase of Malinois going into pet homes is alarming and quite frankly sad. Backyard breeders, breeding poor quality dogs, putting them into pet homes with owners that are simply not capable of owning, training and stimulating such an intense breed of dog.

And in the end, it is the dog that suffers. They were not brought into this world to go for 2 walks a day around the field. We have some absolutely incredible clients with Malinois and Dutchies that dedicate their whole lives to their dog, which is amazing, but they themselves acknowledge that picking the breed was a huge mistake in hindsight – nevertheless, they work frequently with us just to keep the dogs stimulated and develop their own training ability.

As trainers that partake in dog sports and security work, we often look at Malinois in pet homes and genuinely feel sorry for them – not to say that the dog won’t be loved to the moon and back, but the fact that this incredible breed is being put into family homes with no outlet to meet their genetics needs is just sad. There’s more to life than just loving something.

If you have a Malinois or Dutch Herder and don’t work your dog in a discipline and are experiencing behavioural issues, you HAVE to work with an experienced trainer that is experienced with the breed. Whether it is ourselves or another trainer, it really doesn’t matter, just please, please make sure you work with a trainer for support and guidance – because you’ll most definitely need it.

The breeds are incredibly close to our hearts and they’re a truly amazing breed of dog, but they are out and out working dogs, not your family pet. Be responsible people.

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