Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Belgian Malinois

On May 2, Osama bin Laden was killed in a raid by United States special operations forces. The team consisted of 79 US Navy SEAL operators and one Belgian Malinois named Cairo. Let's find out more about this type of dog. What follows is an amazing display of cut-and-paste prowess, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Belgian Malinois is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog. Its name is the French word for "Mechlinian", which implies that the breed originated in Mechelen. It is a popular choice of working dog for police and military forces around the world.

A Belgian Malinois of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Malinois dogs are about 61–66 cm (24–26 in), while females are about 56–61 cm (22–24 in) at the withers. Female Malinois are said to average 25–30 kg (55–65 lb), while sires are heavier at 29–34 kg (65–75 lb).

Malinois are known as active, friendly, protective and hard-working dogs. Some may be excessively exuberant or playful, especially when young. These are large, strong dogs that require consistent obedience training, and Malinois enjoy being challenged with new tasks. They are known as being very easy to obedience train, due to their high drive for rewards.

Barry, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois and Military Working Dog
of the U.S. Navy, trains with his handler. (Wikimedia)

In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well as in the United States, Canada and Australia, the Malinois is bred primarily as a working dog for personal protection, detection, police work, search and rescue, and sport work. The United States Secret Service and Royal Australian Air Force use the breed exclusively. In the United States Armed Forces, Malinois and German Shepherds are the two preferred breeds for use as working dogs.

Laika, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois belonging to the U.S. Navy. (Wikimedia)

Jackson, a U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog serving in Iraq. (Wikimedia)

The breed is also used extensively by Unit Oketz, the canine special forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces. Having previously used German Shepherds and Rottweilers, Oketz now relies on Malinois. They are capable fighters despite their slighter build, and their shorter coats and fair and neutral colours make them less prone to heatstroke than other breeds.

Lastly, YouTube has some examples of the Belgian Malinois in action.

Their first bite:

A Malinois ends a car chase without a single loss of life:

A Malinois takes down a U.S. trooper in Iraq:

Finally, you can watch a CBS story on the Malinois and the operation against Bin Laden by clicking here.


  1. Epic dogs! :D
    I love the videos too ^_^

  2. Thanks :) I might also write a post on Belgian Shepherds in general. So stay tuned ;)

  3. I've followed the news of Bin Laden's death over the news and was quite surprised to find a canine hero named Cairo with the US team. I later found out that the dog is a Belgian Malinois and a handsome one at that. I thought it was a police dog or a German Shepherd. It wasn't. It is also called a Belgian Shepherd Dog - ah so the similarities are understandable. I love dogs and I'm thinking of getting a breed like Cairo. Hopefully, I get enough information like the one on this site to make a better decision