The Belgian Malinois is a lean, powerful dog that is one of the top working dog breeds in the world. What makes this breed special is the many colors of their coats that can range from mahogany, red, and fawn.
Two purebred Malinois can look nothing like each other! In addition, a Belgian Malinois can also be brindle, although this is not an accepted coat color by the AKC.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Belgian Malinois and see how rare a brindle one is.
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What Does Belgian Malinois Look like?
Belgian Malinois is a herding dog that was first bred in the city of Malines in Belgium, which is where they got their name from.
The breed is considered a part of four types of Belgian Sheepdogs that are distinguished by looks and colors; the Groenendaels, Tervurens, Malinois, and Laekenois.
Belgian Malinois looks a little like the German Shepherd, but they are thinner and taller and have longer legs. They also differ in their coat color and they have thinner, shorter hair.
They have two coats; an undercoat which is a type of downy fur that keeps them warm during winter while the coarse outer coat is water and dust resistant to protect them from day-to-day challenges.
All Belgian Malinois are characterized by a black pointy muzzle, blackness around the eye rim, and blackness on their pointy ears. While their coat colors can differ, their markings are mostly standard.
Belgian Malinois Coat Colors
Belgian Malinois can have a slight variation in the coat color within the breed standard. There are five main colors approved by the American Kennel Club (AKC) that can be considered purebred, which are mahogany, red, red sable, fawn, and fawn sable.
All dogs, despite their color variations, have a standard black part of their coat that covers the eye rims, ears, and muzzle.
The mahogany is basically the brownish color of mahogany wood, the red color means the coat takes a reddish hue that will appear between yellow and orange but not clown red.
Mahogany will cover the coat completely except for the black muzzle, ear, and eye rim. Same for the fawn, which is similar to a beige or a milk coffee hue.
Sable, on the other hand, is not a color, but rather, a color pattern with deep brown and black hues. While true sable fur is rare and expensive, sable-colored hair is relatively common in many animals, including dogs, cats, and horses.
Many people find sable-colored coats to be especially beautiful and elegant. As a result, sable-colored animals often command a premium price.
Seven other coat colors exist but do not comply with AKC’s breed standard and these Malinois will not be considered purebred. These colors are black, grey, liver, cream, cream sable, white, and brindle.
What Is Brindle?
Brindle is a coat coloring pattern usually found in dogs, but also seen in some cats and cows. It is characterized by dark stripes on a light background, typically in a tiger-like pattern.
The brindle coat pattern is often described as “tiger-striped,” “zebra-striped,” or “subtle striping.” Brindle coats can be any color but are most commonly seen in shades of brown, black, grey, and red.
The brindle coat pattern is often considered to be desirable in many breeds of dogs, and as such, can command a higher price.
The stripes can range from black, brown, or grey. Brindle is caused by a genetic variation that Belgian Malinois is known for. Other dog breeds that are commonly brindle are Boxers, French Bulldogs, Great Danes, and Greyhounds.
How Rare Is Brindle Belgian Malinois?
Brindle Belgian Malinois are not standard for the Belgian Malinois, and therefore is very rare to find compared to other common colors like mahogany or fawn.
It is considered one of the rarest color variations that show up in Belgian Malinois, yet it is gaining popularity as some breeders cross Dutch Shepherds with the Malinois to introduce the brindle gene into the Malinois bloodline.
Other rare coat colors that are not considered purebred include black, silver, and white.
Is A Brindle Belgian Malinois Purebred?
While brindle is an accepted coat color on many breeds, it is not for the Belgian Malinois. The AKC and Canadian Kennel Club both don’t recognize brindle Malinois as purebred dogs.
American Kennel Club describes the coat standard like this: “The ideal coloring is a rich fawn to mahogany, with black tips on the hairs giving an overlay appearance. The blackening must not appear as patched or brindled.”
While the Canadian Kennel Club describes the breed standard like this: “The color should be from a rich fawn to mahogany with a black overlay. There should be a black mask and black ears.
The underparts of the body, tail and breeches are lighter than fawn. A small white patch on the chest is permissible as is white on the tips of the toes. A washed-out fawn color is undesirable.”
Belgian Malinois that are brindle might have some genes from Dutch Shepherds as they have accepted brindle coats.
Farmers used to mix both breeds often because of their herding and athletic prowess, and a Malinois with a brindle coat might indicate some genes from a Dutch Shepherd somewhere in their ancestry, making the Malinois not a purebred dog.
The brindle gene can be passed to the Belgian Malinois from a Dutch Shepherd but can appear on them or the next generation. Genes can stay dormant for a few generations and make an unexpected appearance several generations later.
Belgian Malinois can also get their brindle coat by being paired with a Basenji or a Boxer, but the Dutch Shepherds are the most commonly used because of the remarkable similarities in both breeds.
Is the Brindle Belgian Malinois Expensive?
While brindle Malinois are not considered purebred, their beautiful markings often command a higher price. Brindle dogs are often more expensive than dogs of other colors for a few reasons. For one, they tend to be rarer than other colors.
Breeding two brindle dogs is no guarantee that the puppies will be brindle as well, so demand is high for these unique pups.
Many believe that the beauty of a brindle coat is worth the extra cost. The cost of a pet-quality Belgian Malinois will be around $1,200 to $4,000.
You can expect to pay a little more for a brindle Malinois, especially if it is from a responsible, ethical breeder that has puppies in high demand.
Costs of a Belgian Malinois can vary wildly depending on the ethics and quality of the breeder, the lineage, geographical location, and standards.
For example, a Malinois that has two AKC-registered, show-quality parents can cost upwards of $5,000, while a pet-quality Malinois can be about $1,500.
In addition, dogs from European bloodlines, like dogs from Holland or Belgium, can cost more than their American-bred counterparts.
A well-trained personal protection Malinois can cost as much as $100,000!
Are Brindle Belgian Malinois Healthy?
The brindle pattern indicates that at some point, a Belgian Malinois was crossed with another dog breed that carries the brindle gene. However, the mix might have been many generations ago, so a brindle Malinois will likely be as healthy as a non-brindle one.
Although generally healthy dogs, Malinois, like all purebred dogs, are prone to a few genetic conditions.
Hip dysplasia is a surprisingly common condition, especially in certain dog breeds like the Belgian Malinois.
The condition occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint don’t fit together properly, resulting in pain and inflammation. If left untreated, hip dysplasia can eventually lead to arthritis and severe mobility issues.
Just like humans, dogs can develop cataracts as they age. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision.
While cataracts are not painful, they can cause significant distress for your dog and eventually lead to blindness. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help to improve your dog’s vision.
Surgery is the most effective way to remove cataracts, and it is often successful in restoring normal vision. However, surgery is not without risks, and it may not be the best option for every dog.
Hypothyroidism is a common condition that occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. It can affect dogs of any age but is most common in middle-aged or older dogs.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, lethargy, and dry skin. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and cognitive decline.
Retinal dysplasia is a medical condition that affects the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. It is a congenital condition, which means it is present at birth. Retinal dysplasia can be mild or severe, and it can affect one or both eyes.
Dogs with retinal dysplasia may not show any symptoms, or they may have symptoms such as nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), decreased vision, and light sensitivity.
Treatment is typically not necessary for dogs with mild retinal dysplasia, but dogs with severe retinal dysplasia may require surgery to prevent vision loss.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disease that affects many dog breeds. Symptoms of PRA include night blindness and loss of vision in the peripheral or central areas of the eye.
The disease progresses slowly, eventually leading to total blindness. While there is no cure for PRA, there are steps that can be taken to help dogs adjust to their vision loss and maintain a good quality of life.
Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows that it can be susceptible to allergies. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from hay fever, dust allergies, and even food allergies.
And while some allergies are mild and cause nothing more than a runny nose, others can be severe, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.
Allergies can be difficult to diagnose, but your vet will have the experience and knowledge necessary to identify the problem and provide relief for your pet.
Conclusion For “How Rare is Brindle Belgian Malinois?”
Whether you should get a brindle Malinois is entirely up to you. If you intend to participate in dog confirmation shows, you cannot have a brindle Malinois which is not an accepted coat color.
However, if you simply want a pet Malinois that will be your perfect running and hiking buddy, then feel free to shell out some extra bucks for the beautiful tiger striped pattern.
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For more information about the Belgian Malinois Breed, check out the video below: