Are Belgian Malinois Protective?

(​by StephenWeru​)

You’ve been thinking of getting a personal protection dog.

From your research, you’ve encountered multiple posts arguing that​ ​Belgian Malinois​ are among the best protection dog breeds around.

And for good reason…

These short-haired, fawn-colored canines come with all the natural characteristics of a protection dog. They are athletic, intelligent, always alert, and confident. However, that’s not all it takes to make an excellent protection dog. The ability of a Belgian Malinois to protect you and your family depends on other factors.

This post aims to discuss these factors and debunk the myth that a Belgian Malinois will protect you just because you bought it.

But First, A Short History Lesson

Originally developed in Belgium in the late nineteenth century, the Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized shepherd dog that closely resembles the​ ​German Shepherd​. However, unlike the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is smaller and tends to have a squarer body profile.

Their ancestors were initially bred as herding and guard dogs.

Their reputation as excellent​ ​guard dogs​ resulted in them being the first dogs to be used by the Belgian Police. During the World Wars, the Belgian Malinois was enlisted to military duty where the breed performed various activities, including acting as light gun cart dogs and messenger dogs.

But why did the Belgian Malinois make an excellent military and Police dog? Keep reading to learn more.

The Personality of the Belgian Malinois

The​ ​Belgian Malinois temperament​ is one of the main reasons why most people consider the dog breed an excellent family protection dog.

These dogs are confident in any situation and are always alert. The Belgian Malinois also tends to be affectionate with people it’s familiar with but may act reserved when around strangers. They also get along with children, especially if they were raised together. Thanks to these characteristics, Belgian Malinois create unbreakable bonds with all family members.

The Malinois also comes with a high potential for playfulness. To the Belgian Malinois, every task you ask them to do is considered play. However, these personality traits don’t happen on their own. Factors such as genetics, socialization, and​ ​training​ play a significant role in influencing your Belgian Malinois temperament.

Without proper training, your Belgian Malinois could end up being more of a liability.

Why Training is Important

Very few dogs can defend their home from intruders without training.

Most untrained dogs rely on their survival instinct. When faced with danger, they first act aggressively. If initial barking and aggression don’t work, they flee and only defend themselves as a last resort.

The Belgian Malinois isn’t any different. If untrained, don’t expect it to keep intruders away. However, with professional protection dog training, your Belgian Malinois is capable of protecting you from not one but multiple intruders in any scenario.

Proper​ ​protection dog training​ will include early socialization and exposure to different people, sounds, sounds, and situations. This is because under-socialized Belgian Malinois tend to be aggressive due to either being shy or out of fear. A poorly socialized Malinois is more likely to bite people who may not be a threat.

However, a well-socialized and trained Malinois is excellent with everyone, including children.

Proper training also helps eliminate certain behavioral tendencies that may be ingrained in the Belgian Malinois DNA. An example of such behavior is the Malinois inclination to nibble at children’s feet as if they are trying to herd them.


Despite popular belief, Belgian Malinois aren’t naturally excellent personal protection dogs. They may be aggressive and may have an inclination to protect, but that doesn’t make them excellent protection dogs.

What makes the Belgian Malinois an excellent family protection dog is training.

And not just any training.

Backyard trainers won’t cut it. To ensure your Belgian Malinois is adequately equipped to protect you and your family, go for a professional that comes highly recommended. Professional protection dog training takes a comprehensive approach, where every dog is trained differently depending on the owner’s needs.

Professional protection dog training is done with the owner present, ensuring the dog bonds with all family members. With such training, you can be confident that your Belgian Malinois will adequately protect you and your family from any intruders.

Would an Untrained Dog Protect its Owner?

(by Louis Toffoli

Since the first recorded dog breed, dogs have been used to protect their owners and property. With naturally loyal and protective personalities, many dog breeds were initially bred solely for the purpose of protection. 

You are probably familiar with dog breeds said to be naturally protective, such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, or Doberman Pinschers. But, are the natural protective instincts of a dog enough to offer the owner adequate protection? 

This article will explore if an untrained dog will protect its owner against intruders or potential threats. 

The Limits of Natural Loyalty and Protection 

As you build a bond with a dog, they will develop loyalty for you. Naturally, the dog will start to view you as the group’s pack leader. This means the dog will begin to link its protective instincts to both you and your home. 

When paired with these natural protective instincts, an untrained dog may be able to offer you protection. If a dog does not recognize someone looking to enter your home, they will be on high alert. The dog may bark or alert you of the presence of an intruder or show aggression to the person.

According to a study by the Animals Society Institute, owning a dog deterred crime compared to having no dog at all. In this study, Milwaukee homeowners with dogs in their homes saw a significant decrease in property crime in their area. 

Additionally, in certain dog breeds, they may also attack an intruder if they sense distress from the situation. But, this isn’t certain as many untrained dogs will not know a situation is dangerous until it’s too late.

Without protection dog training, a dog won’t quickly follow commands or quickly assess a situation. 

When an Untrained Dog Isn’t Enough 

In many cases, an untrained dog will be unable to decipher what is happening in the case of a robbery or break-in. A friendly attitude and energy towards the dog can turn a dangerous intruder into a friend within seconds. 

When the threatening bark doesn’t scare away the criminal, it’s shown your untrained dog might not be as effective as you would like to think. This lack of protection isn’t the dog’s fault, as they don’t have the personal protection training for these complex situations. 

The frantic energy of a mugger commanding someone to give them money can be falsely interpreted as excitement by the dog. When you need the dog to protect you most, they will be looking to play. 

However, an untrained dog’s reactions can differ significantly depending on the dog breed. 

Naturally Protective Dog Breeds 

While an untrained dog will not offer the protection of a protection dog, a dog’s breed may be enough to deter crime. In some cases, a potential criminal will be wary when they see a large dog.

It would be best if you also considered a dog said to be bred for protection. These dog breeds have centuries of breeding to make them prone to guarding and protecting their owners. 

Some examples of naturally protective dogs with large frames are: 

  • Bullmastiff 
  • Rottweiler 
  • Great Dane 
  • Cane Corso 

For a full list of dog breeds with naturally protective instincts, take a look at the list developed by the American Kennel Club. Each dog breed has a description of their rich history dating back to when they were used for protection.


Without proper protection dog training, it is hard to say whether an untrained dog will protect you. In most cases, the dog may offer protection by scaring away criminals with a threatening bark and large stature. 

When a situation escalates past that point, the dog may have trouble interpreting it. The dog will quickly need to understand if the person has bad intentions or is just a friend. To get the most out of your dog, you need professional protection dog training with a qualified master trainer. 

You will not have a doubt in your mind that the dog will protect you when it matters most! 

Why Cane Corsos Make Great Protection Dogs

(By Louis Toffoli)

Strong, noble, and intelligent—the Cane Corso is a breed that has been skyrocketing in popularity as a protection dog, and for a good reason. They have all of the characteristics you want in both a protection dog and a family dog. 

With fierce loyalty and an independent attitude, this personal protection dog has become the ideal companion. However, there is more to why Cane Corsos make great protection dogsbeginning with their unique history. 


The Cane Corso Bloodline 

The Cane Corso breed has a long history that dates back thousands of years. Its name originates from the Italian word cane, which means dog, and the Latin word cohors, which loosely translates to “guardian” or “protector.”

Since the beginning, the Cane Corso has been bred to be a powerful and intimidating protection dog. Originally bred in Italy during the days of the Roman Empire, the ancestors of the Cane Corso were large and fearless companions used in battle. 

Cane Corso

As part of the Italian Mastiff family of dogs, the Cane Corso shares close ties to its more wrinkly relative, the Neapolitan Mastiff. However, the modern-day Cane Corso has a more compact size perfect for hunting and protecting property. 

With a large-boned frame and muscular build, the Cane Corso has a more athletic body than similar breeds in the Mastiff family. But, these dogs have more than just their physical size. 

Here is why Cane Corsos make such excellent protection dogs. 

What Makes a Cane Corso Ideal for Protection?

Cane Corso

There’s a lot of reasons why a Cane Corso makes an exceptional protection dog. With a balance of both intelligence and physical prowess, a professionally trained Cane Corso will be there to keep you and your family safe.  


One of the main reasons why a Cane Corso is such an excellent protection dog is its physical appearance. With the help of the sheer intimidation due to their size and athletic build, the Cane Corso will do a great job of deterring any potential threats. 

With an average weight of 90-120lbs, these dogs have a stocky build—but can also be quite agile. They have a short coat that is easy to maintain and reduces the amount of excess hair shed throughout your home. 


Cool, calm, and collected. 

That’s the perfect way to describe the natural temperament of a professionally trained Cane Corso. A Cane Corso will typically not show any outward aggression unless it is necessary to protect its owner. 

Cane Corso

These dogs are loyal and want nothing more than to please their owner. With this attitude, training a Cane Corso is very effective, and any dog can be trained to be an effective protection dog.

A Perfect Fit for a Family 

A Cane Corso thrives in a family environment with their trustworthy, loyal, and protective instincts. While these breeds have a strong frame, they can also be very gentle and affectionate to those they know and love. 

One of the unique aspects of the breed’s temperament is their uncanny ability to switch between being affectionate and protecting their owners. Cane Corsos are very attuned to their surroundings and are alert if they sense any potential danger.

Xavier with Blade

They get along well with children of all ages and will create an unbreakable bond with their family. However, this bond can sometimes be a little too strong as they may have trouble warming up to strangers.

Additionally, when it comes to building a bond with its human family, Cane Corsos can be very welcoming of other animals in the home when they are properly socialized at a young age and professionally trained. 

This unique temperament is what makes the Cane Corso so special as a family protection dog. 


A Cane Corso is the ideal breed that you want as a family protection dog. When properly trained, they can be a loving and gentle family dog that switches to a protector when necessary.


Their independent and rather calm attitude makes them a pleasant addition to the family. However, it’s also important that you give a Cane Corso enough space to exercise. They are naturally protective dogs, and they want nothing more than to patrol your property. 

The Differences Between Protection Dogs and Guard Dogs

(by Louis Toffoli)

On the subject of security, protection dogs are, on average, the best bet. You may want a dog that protects your property from intruders, or maybe you want a companion that is by your side at all times. 

Dog Sitting. Credit: Pexels

When discussing protection dogs and guard dogs, people sometimes use these terms interchangeably and assume they play the same role. They may also think that the difference is only in the dog’s breed. 

But, as you will learn in this post, it’s not just a matter of semantics. The implications behind “guard dog” are more often than not negatively charged, and you should know why. You should also be prepared to be able to distinguish between the usage of each; know whether a trainer’s use of the term “guard dog” is being used interchangeably, or he means the kind of dog you can’t depend on in personal protection. 

Practically, it comes down to the dog’s training level that determines the professionally-used difference between the two. 

Before you decide on investing in a particular dog, let’s dig a little deeper and prepare you for your purchase. 

How the Dog is Raised 

Beware of Dog. Credit: Pexels

The path life of a “guard dog” takes a vastly different path than what you can expect from a personal protection dog. Dogs advertised as “guard dogs”, in many cases, are raised in an unhealthy, and dangerous environment. 

Typically misused for cheap protection, and trained using unethical methods like dogfighting, these dogs are trained to show unstable aggression. In some cases, “guard dogs” are even inbred to attain more aggression

Many owners will purchase a “guard dog” based solely on the dog breed type, not knowing about its background. Without the proper training and pedigree, these “guard dogs” will not provide the protection you need. Their lack of training will make them less predictable, especially in a tense situation. 

You need a dog with a pure pedigree, ancestry you can trace, and professional training by a qualified trainer for personal protection. Unlike “guard dogs”, a protection dog will get the necessary and personalized training to be a family dog.

Protection Dog. Credit: Pexels

Professionally trained, personal protection dogs are the only option for a reliable dog to protect you and your loved ones. 

Training Requirements and Types 

“Guard dogs” usually have very little training as they are purchased as a working dog breed and are expected to be naturally protective. When trained, “guard dogs” typically go through informal self-training from the owners or with dog trainers that are unqualified.

Backyard trainers typically utilize a commercial program like IGP dog training as their training resource. These dog trainers then like to offer a low price that seems too good to be trueand unfortunately, it is. 

“Up!” Credit: Pexels

These very enticing price tags offered to train your dog come with a catch. 

These commercialized programs take a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and are more for sport or basic obedience training. These dog training programs cannot prepare the dog for personal protection or family protection. 

As for personal protection dogs, they require more extensive training to be effective in protection from professional trainers. Each protection dog gets trained differently by master dog trainers to match the needs of the owner specifically. 

Trustworthy trainers ensure training includes time at the dog’s worksite.  

The Pricing of Protection Dogs vs “Guard Dogs” 

Goldenstate K9’s Capone. Credit: SirenPhoto

If you are looking for a dog for personal protection, the prices will differ significantly depending on the breed you decide to choose and its training level. As for protection dogs, the training level is the largest determining factor for the dog’s price. 

With professional training, personal protection dogs have an average price tag that starts at $12,000-$15,000. This range rises quickly, based on pedigree + level of training, and training needs. 

For example, training a dog for situations like multiple intruders, building searches, and off-premises protection requires more time with a qualified trainer. It also requires a more highly trained, and more diversified trainer, which of course costs more. 


Goldenstate K9. Credit: SirenPhoto

For guaranteed protection, no matter the circumstances, a personal protection dog will have your back. Along with being skilled in protection, they have the trained temperament to be able to be a part of the family. 

With these differences in mind, you can now confidently find a protection dog you know will get the job done of keeping you and your family safe! 

Mike’s Top 5 Dog Breeds for Protection Work

When searching for a professionally trained, quality personal protection dog, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and what your needs are. Searching for the top dog breeds for protection work online isn’t easy, as there are an infinite number of lists available. 

You want to know from a professional dog trainer that’s been in the business for decades what the best dog breeds are, for protection. You want to know form someone like Mike Caporicci

Mike with trainee

So we asked him. 

And this is what he had to say. 

“Wow, that’s a tough one. There are so many good breeds for protection work, I can’t say that these ones are the absolute top, but I guess I would have to start with the Belgian Malinois.” – Mike Caporicci

  1. Belgian Malinois 

This beautifully coated dog comes in varieties of red, fawn, grey, and black hues. Often mistaken for German Shepherds by the untrained eye, Belgian Malinois are an active, playful breed that was bred for work. First bred to protect livestock, eager to work, and dedicated to their job, they’re great for family protection because of their boundless energy. 

A Belgian Malinois jumping

As puppies, Belgian Malinois can be quite small, but grown, a fully adult male can reach about 26” and a fully grown female can stand to about 24” tall. Females reach about 60 lbs as adults, and males anywhere between 50 and 80 lbs. 

To know if a Belgian Malinois is right for your protection needs, talk to your local protection dog training professional and find out. Temperament and size will be important factors. 

2. Cane Corso

An old Italian dog breed, Cane Corsos are purebreds that are often given up to shelters or rescues because of their intimidating size and weight. However, Cane Corsos are powerful working dogs that love being assigned a job. They were bred to be hunters of large game, like boars, and they perform best in challenging environments. If they’re not being challenged, and find themselves bored, they can turn to destructive behaviors. 

A Goldenstate K9 Cane Corso

As grown adults, Cane Corsos can grow large and tough. Males stand to about 27.5” and females up to 26”, but they can each weigh between 90 and 120 lbs!

Cane corsos need a lot of space and exercise to thrive. If assigned to protection work, they will flourish best in a challenging environment. Do you think you have what it takes to have a Cane Corso as your personal protection dog?

3. Doberman

Originating from Germany, the Doberman breed was developed in 1890 by a Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector from Germany. Bred to be guarding, Dobermans came from a mix of breeds including Rottweilers and German Pischers, both hunting and security breeds. More of a sensitive breed, Doberman Pinschers (as they’re often called in the USA) require a lot of exercise and attention. However, they don’t shed a lot, and they’re a very intelligent breed. They prefer the heat to the cold, and they’re extremely loyal, showing favoritism to their own family. 

A Goldenstate K9 Doberman

Measuring an adult at the shoulder, female Dobermans grow to stand at about 24-26” tall, and males at 26-28” tall. Their respective weights go up to 60 lbs and 80 lbs. 

Dobermans are proud-looking, strong dogs, with high leaps and extremely agile bodies. Getting a Doberman breed as a personal protection dog is a good idea if you have the space and time to give them what they need. 

4. Akita

The Akita’s Japanese lineage is idolized as the family protectors. Fiercely loyal, their cute round faces belie a dignified, courageous, and highly protective temperament. Double coated, these proud dogs are great for colder places, especially. Unfortunately, Akita dogs are banned in many cities around the United States, but if you live in a rural area (especially a cold one!), an Akita might be the perfect choice for you. 

An Akita dog with family

Heights and weights for adult Akitas vary by more than their sex. Small adult Akita males stand at about 26” and weigh up to 85lbs, while large adult Akita males stand at up to 28” and weigh up to 130 lbs. Small adult Akita females stand at about 24” with a low of 70 lbs, warge adult Akita females stand at about 26”, weighing up to 110 lbs.

While Akitas have a reputation for being aggressive, dogs in general are bred to be obedient. If an Akita is trained correctly and professionally, from an early age, their temperament can be anticipated and molded. 

5. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd has become one of America’s most popular dog breeds. They were bred to be working dogs, but with such a versatile temperament, many people have been happy keeping them as companion pets. Excelling at everything they’re trained to do, German Shepherds make great working dogs, whatever the detail is. Their hunting and protecting instincts have been honed over the centuries to create that versatility they’re relied upon for. They have thick coats and shed a lot, but they handle the heat pretty well.

A German Shepherd

Male German Shepherds grow to a height of up to 26” and females up to 24”. They grow to weigh between 88 and 71 lbs. If these numbers surprise you, it’s because German Shepherds are not quite as big as they’re often portrayed in media. The bigger, more wolf-looking dogs are other breeds that only look like German Shepherds. 

“Remember, though, there are overall breed characteristics, but ultimately, a person has to be matched to the right dog by a professional that knows both temperaments. A good trainer can also train the dog you chose to your specific needs, but you don’t want to force a dog entirely against its nature, and it would have to be done right when the dog is a pup. It’s best to simply decide your protection needs and trust a protection dog professional, a Master Trainer or a breeder, to help you with your choice.” – Mike Caporicci

Look out for the next top 5 on Mike’s list coming soon!