Black Belgian Malinois: Can Belgian Malinois Have Black Coats?

Black Belgian Malinois running on grass with his owner

Belgian Malinois have a quite intimidating reputation. After all, they often serve as military, police, and personal protection dogs. Their muscular appearance also gives them an image of confidence and strength.

Now imagine how much more intimidating a solid black Belgian Malinois would look. That’s a canine you would not want to mess with, but one that you would definitely want by your side.

If it’s the first time you’ve heard of black Belgian Malinois, then this guide is for you.

I will share with you all you have to know about this unusual color in Belgian Malinois and answer some common questions about them.

Can a Belgian Malinois Be Black?

Happy smiling black Belgian Malinois outdoors

Black Belgian Malinois do exist, but they are rare. They come in a solid black coat, so the distinctive black masking of Malinois is not evident anymore. Not all kennel clubs recognize black Belgian Malinois as a standard breed color, so only a few breeders produce them.

The Belgian Malinois is recognized as a separate breed in the United States, but in other countries, they are one of the four variations of the Belgian Shepherd Dog.

The other variations are Groenendael (Belgian Sheepdog), Laekenois (Belgain Laekenois), and Tervueren (Belgian Tervuren).

The main differences between these variations are their coat types and color. They are genetically similar, but their coats differ because of the dominant or recessive genes in their lines.

Black can occur naturally in Belgian Malinois, but they are rare because of the recessive genes needed to produce them.

Are Black Belgian Malinois Rare?

Like I mentioned before, black Belgian Malinois are a bit rare. The main reason for this would be genetics.

Black pigment naturally occurs in canines, but other genes are at play and produce the standard colors of Mals.

Also, not many kennel clubs recognize black as a Malinois color so not many breeders are producing black Belgian Malinois.

Like I mentioned before, outside the United States, Belgian Malinois are considered a variety of the Belgian Shepherd breed. Black is only accepted as a color for Groenendaels, one of the other varieties of this breed.

Black Belgian Malinois Appearance: What Does a Black Belgian Malinois Look Like?

Black Belgian Malinois laying down outdoors

A black Belgian Malinois would have the same features as other Mals, and the only difference would be their coat color. Belgian Malinois usually have black masking on their face, ears, and tails.

However, since a black Belgian Malinois have a solid black coat all over, this masking would not be visible anymore.

According to the American Kennel Club standards, male Belgian Malinois would stand at 24 to 26 inches and weigh 60 to 80 pounds. Female Belgian Malinois are smaller at 22 to 24 inches and weigh 40 to 60 pounds.

Their standards say that male Belgian Malinois usually have a more “impressive and grand” look than females.

They should look well-balanced and have a square frame when viewed from the side.

One remarkable feature of Mals would be the proud carriage of their head and neck. A black Mal should have a strong, solid, and confident appearance without appearing bulky.

READ NEXT: Belgian Malinois Shedding: A Comprehensive Guide

Black Belgian Malinois Coat Color Genetics: What Makes a Belgian Malinois Black?

All canine coat colors and patterns are created by eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). The different colors and patterns occur because of other genes.

Since Mals have a black mask, we know that they produce eumelanin. So why are solid black Belgian Malinois not as common as the other colors?

To answer that, let’s take a look at the genes at different loci that produce the colors of the Belgian Malinois:

A Locus

The Agouti gene (A locus) controls the distribution of pigment in a dog’s coat. The dominant allele in this gene is Ay (yellow), which produces a fawn or sable base coat with a black overlay.

This is the dominant allele in Belgian Malinois, meaning just one Ay is needed to produce this color.

There is also an allele a (recessive black), which produces a solid black coat. This allele is recessive, so a Mal must be aa to have a black coat.

According to a study, Malinois are usually Ay, but can occasionally carry the recessive black allele. Since this allele is already rare in Mals, two dogs carrying this allele are even harder to come by.

K locus

The K locus is called the ‘dominant black’ locus. The dominant allele Kb produces a solid black coat.

It is epistatic over the A locus, meaning Kb will override the effect of the genes in the A locus. The recessive allele ky will not affect the A locus.

Groenendaels or Belgian Sheepdogs are black because most are KbKbor Kbky. On the other hand, Mals are kyky at this locus, so they can only be black if both parents pass on a recessive black allele (a).

E locus

The allele Em is dominant in the E locus. It produces a black mask, and it can be on the muzzle, chest, back, and tail. This allele is responsible for the masking in Belgian Malinois.

As we can see, the varieties of the Belgian Shepherd breed have different coat colors and types because of the genes that are dominant in their lines.

The dominant genes in the Belgian Malinois produce the standard fawn or sable colors with black masking.

Unless there are already black Belgian Malinois in the breeding line, this color may only come as “surprises” in the litter.

Do Black Belgian Malinois Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

In all canines, it is normal to see changes in a dog’s coat as they grow. This is especially true for breeds with a double coat. Belgian Malinois have a dense undercoat and a short, harsh topcoat.

For standard-colored Belgian Malinois, their coats may appear a bit darker in shade as they grow. However, for black Belgian Malinois, these changes might not be noticeable since they have dark coats already.

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize the Black Belgian Malinois?

Black Belgian Malinois police training

The AKC recognizes black, but it is not a standard color for Belgian Malinois. In other kennel clubs such as The Kennel Club (UK), The United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), black is not an acceptable color.

In the kennel clubs mentioned, only Groenendaels can be black. The Malinois can only be in shades of fawn to mahogany, with black masking.

Note that in the aforementioned kennel clubs, Belgian Malinois is not a separate breed but a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog.

READ NEXT: Shepherd Dog Breeds: 21 Types of Shepherd Dogs (With Pictures)

Black Belgian Malinois Temperament: Are Black Belgian Malinois Good Family Companions?

If you are worried that black dogs are more aggressive, let me tell you outright that this is not true.

This is merely a stereotype which all black dogs unfortunately face. Your black Mal’s training and environment will play a big role in their temperament as adults.

The truth is, Belgian Malinois are very smart and loyal dogs, but they are not for everyone. This breed is known as one of the best working dogs, and they will flourish when they have sufficient activity.

Problems can occur when a black Malinois does not have enough mental and physical stimulation. When they do not have an outlet for all their energy, they might resort to destructive behavior.

Since they love spending time with their human companions, exercising with your black Mal would keep them happy and content. You can do activities such as running, biking, and hiking.

They would also do great at agility, tracking, herding, obedience, and Schutzhund (protection) competitions.

Black Belgian Malinois can do very well with children and other pets, especially if they grow up with them.

If you are introducing a Mal to children for the first time, teach your children not to tease or scare them. You can also start socialization by introducing one child at a time.

However, note that their high prey drive can also lead them to chase running children, animals, and even vehicles.

They need to be trained and socialized extensively at an early age. As with all dog breeds, it is necessary to supervise your children and dog at all times.

If you think you can keep up with Mal’s considerable need for activity and training, then this breed would be a great choice as a family companion.

Here is a video showing just how smart and well-trained a black Belgian Malinois puppy can be:

Black belgian malinois showing good manners

READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Belgian Malinois: Which Gender Is Superior?

Black Belgian Malinois Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Black Belgian Malinois Healthy Dogs?

Belgian Malinois are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 14 to 16 years. For black Belgian Malinois, in particular, it is unknown whether their coat color affects their health in any way.

They are not prone to major health issues, but some problems are still seen in the breed.

Below are some diseases common to black Mals and Belgian Malinois in general:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This condition occurs when the hip socket does not develop normally. Hip dysplasia is common in large dog breeds, but it can also occur in Malinois. It can cause dysfunction and pain, and over time, it may result in arthritis, muscle atrophy, and loss of mobility.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia is a condition that occurs because of developmental abnormalities. These abnormalities may cause elbow pain and lameness. The cause may be genetic, developmental, and nutritional. Dogs may be diagnosed at 4 to 18 months.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Unfortunately, Belgian Malinois are prone to PRA. This is a genetic condition wherein the retina degenerates, eventually causing blindness. PRA is not painful for a Mal, but unfortunately, it is also not curable.
  • Anesthesia Sensitivity: Belgian breeds are said to be sensitive to anesthesia. In a brochure from the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America (BSCA), it was reported that some dogs are hypersensitive to Acepromazine. A tiny dose caused some dogs to be unable to stand for 18 to 24 hours after the operation. Be sure to discuss this with your vet before any procedure requiring anesthesia.

Black Belgian Malinois are very active dogs, so it should not be so hard to keep them in shape. Remember that exercise should still be age-appropriate, even if they seem like they can manage.

Especially for growing Malinois puppies, it is important to keep the kind and intensity of exercise in check to prevent joint problems in the future.

High-quality food is also very important to give them the nutrients and energy they need for development and physical activities.

Since they are not predisposed to many genetic conditions, the health of your black Mal will mostly be affected by its lifestyle. As with all dogs, regular vet checks and preventive care would also be essential.

How Much Is a Black Belgian Malinois? Are Black Belgian Malinois More Expensive?

Two black Belgian Malinois puppies for sale or adoption

In general, Belgian Malinois puppies do not come cheap. On average, they would cost around $1,000 to $3,000, depending on your location.

Belgian Malinois puppies from superior lines may cost up to $9,000. Since black Belgian Malinois are not so common, you can expect that they are at the higher end of this range.

Many breeders also offer basic training for puppies and fully-trained adults. This will significantly raise their prices. For example, Mals trained as protection dogs can cost $20,000 and above.

It might seem like a hefty price to pay for a dog, but trained Malinois are superior working dogs that can excel even in military and police work.

If you want a black Malinois as a personal protection dog, then the price of a trained one might be worth it. However, if you only want one as a family companion, socialization and obedience classes might be enough.

RELATED: How Much Do Belgian Malinois Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

Places to Find Black Belgian Malinois Puppies for Sale or Adoption

Finding a black Belgian Malinois would be a little more challenging since they are not very common. But what you should worry about more is finding a reputable breeder.

Malinois are not the easiest dogs to handle, so you want to make sure that you get pups with the best health and temperament.

Here are some breeders where you may find a black Belgian Malinois for sale:

  • Wolfsbane K9 – Wolfsbane K9 specializes in family and personal protection Belgian Malinois and has sold to celebrities, athletes, and government officials. They sell puppies and offer a puppy training program as well. You can send them an email or give them a call to inquire, but take note that they usually have long waitlists.
  • Von Ayce Malinois – This Texas-based Malinois breeder has been in the business for over 15 years. Many of their previous puppies worked in border patrol, police departments, and other government agencies, but many also became great family companions. If you are interested in getting a black Belgian Malinois from Von Ayce, you simply have to send them a message.
  • KSDK Malinois – KSDK Malinois sells puppies and trained dogs. They also provide training and boarding services even to dogs that did not come from them. All their upcoming litters and previously sold black Mals are posted on their website. If you want to get a pup from them, you can contact them through the details given on the website.

Many Belgian Malinois breeders have long waitlists. Expect that you might have to wait a bit for a black Malinois puppy.

RELATED: 11 Places to Find Belgian Malinois Puppies for Sale: Best to Worst

If you’re open to owning older Mals, you can also consider adopting.

Unfortunately, not all owners can keep up with the breed, which is why many of them still end up in rescues or shelters. Black Malinois might be more difficult to see in rescues, but it is possible.

You can check these sites for a black Belgian Malinois up for adoption:

  • American Belgian Malinois Rescue (ABMR) – ABMR originally started as a committee in the American Belgian Malinois Club. Now, they are a rescue organization dedicated to helping homeless and unwanted Mals in the United States. They are open for adoption and foster applications, and they usually require an application form, references, and a home inspection.
  • Malinois Ranch Rescue – This rescue organization helps Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and even German Shepherd mixes. Their adoption process requires an application form, personal and vet references, and a home visit. Many of their dogs get adopted even before they can post them on their website, so it is best to apply early so you can be on the waitlist.
  • Adopt-a-Pet – This website serves as a database for thousands of pets put up for adoption. There are many Belgian Malinois listed here, and you can contact the shelter or rescue using the details provided on each dog’s information page. Who knows, you might find a black Belgian Malinois up for adoption there.

Before purchasing or adopting a black Belgian Malinois, make sure that you and your household are 100% committed and ready to own one.

As I said, they need people who can meet their needs for training and activity. Raising a Mal would take up your time, energy, and resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adorable photo of a black Belgian Malinois

Do Belgian Malinois Have Black Tongues?

Most dog breeds have a pink tongue and gums, and the Belgian Malinois is one of them.

They are not known to have completely black tongues like Chow Chows and Shar-Peis, which include tongue color as part of their breed standards.

If you see dark pigmentation on your Mal’s tongue, do not worry because that is normal.

According to the AKC, these dark spots are simply pigmentations. It can occur in any dog breed, especially those with darker points (nose, lips, pawpads, toenails, and eyerims).

However, if these pigmented spots are raised or different in texture than the rest of the tongue, it is best to show them to your vet as soon as possible.

How Many Colors Do Belgian Malinois Come In?

As per AKC standards, Belgian Malinois can come in 12 colors. There are five standard colors: fawn, fawn sable, mahogany, red, and red sable. Other colors include black, brindle, cream, cream sable, gray, gray sable, and liver.

RELATED: All Belgian Malinois Colors and Patterns Explained (With Pictures!)

Are Black Belgian Malinois High Maintenance?

A black Belgian Malinois would require the same amount of care and training as the other colors.

In terms of cleaning and grooming, they would only need weekly brushing and the usual ear cleaning and nail trimming. They only shed twice a year.

However, you can say that they are high maintenance in terms of the exercise and training needed. You would need to set aside at least one to two hours a day for your Mal’s exercise.

Training would also take some time and money. The American Belgian Malinois Club (ABMC) recommends that you enroll them in puppy kindergarten and formal obedience training.

Final Thoughts

Lifestyle changes are part of getting any dog. If you’re getting a black Belgian Malinois, these changes might be drastic especially if you’re not particularly active.

They also need to be with their human companions, so they should not be left alone for long periods. Evaluate if you are willing and able to make big lifestyle changes to accommodate their needs.

These canines are some of the best working dogs out there. They are obedient and eager to please, but raising and training them would take high levels of commitment and determination. Mals may be quite challenging for first-time dog owners.

Regardless of color, they would need strong leadership, extensive training and socialization, and lots of daily activity.

If you are confident that you can meet these needs, then a black Belgian Malinois would definitely be a great addition to your family.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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