Border Collie vs Belgian Malinois Complete Breed Comparison

Border Collies and Belgian Malinois are dog breeds that are easy to love. Unfortunately, though you may be a certified dog lover, these breeds are not for everyone. If you have moderate to plenty of experience with dogs, then you probably want to try owning one.

Basic Characteristics of Border Collie vs Belgian Malinois

These two different dogs have distinct characteristics. Know what to expect from each in the table below:

Characteristics Border Collie Belgian Malinois
Adaptability This breed adapts fast to its living environment. Much like Border Collies, Belgian Malinois are quick to adapt to their surroundings too.
Affection Soft, gentle and loyal. These dogs don’t shy in showing their affection and love towards their owners. Their high level of independence gives them an impression of being unfriendly. But it’s the complete opposite.
Health Problems Epilepsy


Hip Dysplasia

Collie Eye Anomaly

Osteochondrosis Dissecans

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)


Hip and elbow dysplasia

Eye Problems

Social Needs Requires a lot of interaction Very social breed
Temperament Alert















History of Border Collie and Belgian Malinois

Border collies are known to have originated in lowland and border counties of England and Scotland dating back to the 1700s. Border Collies are natural herders and work sheep. Don’t be surprised if you see them trying to herd anything from children to other herds.

Even today, you’d see Border Collies working in livestock. In these modern times, people use them as family pets too. Furthermore, you can see them as narcotics, bomb detectors, and police dogs. Because they’re easily trainable, they’re often part of search and rescue teams.

The city of Malines was the birthplace of the Belgian Malinois back in the 1800s. Hence, it is named after the city. Breeders’ objective was to create a powerful herding dog and protector with a tireless work ethic.

The Belgian Malinois made its first appearance in the US in the early 1900s. And in the 21st century, these dogs became common as search and rescue dogs, drug-detection dogs, military dogs, and police dogs.

Appearance of Belgian Malinois vs Border Collie

black and white Border Collie

Border Collies have a medium-sized build. It has an agile and strong body which is also complemented by a lean frame. They also sport two types of coats. These are rough and smooth coats. Belgian Malinois on the other hand pack these powerful muscles. Their bodies have an elegant and charming appearance that is hard to resist. They stand about two feet tall and many have mistakenly noticed them as German Shepherds due to their strong resemblance.


Under normal circumstances, a mature male Belgian Malinois would have a height of 61cm to 64cm whereas a mature male Border Collie is a bit shorter at just 56cm. In the weight department, these dogs weigh around 25kg to 35kg and 30kg respectively.

A mature female Belgian Malinois on the other hand stands at 56cm to 61cm with a weight ranging from 24kg to 30kg. As with female Border Collie, they stand at 50cm and could weigh 25kg.

Coats & Colors

brown Belgian Malinois running

Based on American Kennel Club (AKC), Border Collies have 21 known colors. Out of these colors, only 17 of them are recognized as the “standard” colors for the breed. These colors are blue, blue merle, black, brindle, gold, red, sable merle, sable, red and white, black and white, blue and white, blue merle and white, red merle and white, red merle, saddleback sable, white ticked and lilac.

In relation to Belgian Malinois, the AKC reported standard colors to be mahogany, fawn sable, fawn, red sable, and red. Of course, along with these colors are their signature black masking.

Personality & Temperament Border Collie and Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are cooperative, smart, defensive, protective, and confident. If you want a watchdog and guardian, getting one will be great. Their temperament is built for it. It’s for this same reason that they’re used for military service and police applications.

Part of their temperament includes superb intellect. In order to capitalize on this intelligence, they should be socialized and be introduced to training methods with positive reinforcements.

Aside from being smart, Border Collie loves showing affection. Other known traits are their responsiveness, eagerness, and attentiveness. When around strangers, they are a bit reserved and when approached, they’ll stand their ground.

Family and Border Collie vs Belgian Malinois

The wonderful thing about Border Collies is that they make awesome family pets. For families who are planning to get one, just make sure to provide them with a large space. This allows them to move, stretch and flex their muscles. Basically, they’re ideal for families who have an active lifestyle and people who are always out and about.

The Belgian Malinois is a family-friendly dog. It expresses their affection for members only. This dog breed is never affectionate towards strangers. Since they have roots as herding dogs, they are excellent guard dogs and watchdogs. These dogs are pretty strong. As owners, it’s your job to control it and divert it in having them protect your family.

Kids and Belgian Malinois vs Border Collie

Similar to humans, there are dogs that have a higher tolerance for kids. With Belgian Malinois though, they show more “interest” with regard to kids. Knowing that these dogs have a prey drive and protection instincts, it is essential to have them trained at an early age. This prepares their tolerance and patience toward children.

While Border Collies are excellent family pets, things are a bit different for small children. Because of their liveliness, herding instincts, and high work ethics, there could be a chance that they may herd small children subconsciously. Then again, this can be neutered if introduced to socialization and proper training early on.

Other People and Belgian Malinois vs Border Collie

The natural inclination to protect its owner and territory is truly a remarkable characteristic of Belgian Malinois. This naturally makes them wary and reserved among strangers. Whereas Border Collies, they’ve been bred and trained to be in the fields where they are free.

Dogs & Other Animals

Collies reserved with other animals

Border Collies can coexist with other dogs. But you have to help them to make it happen. Because of their herding instincts, they may come off as unfriendly towards other dogs and animals.

Be sure to begin training at an early age if you want your Malinois to be friendly with other animals. Reward them for the right behavior if you want them to get along. Without socialization, don’t expect your Malinois to be friendly with other animals. You must keep a close leash on your dog if you don’t want them around other animals.

Behavior Issues

There are numerous factors that could affect the bad temperament of your Belgian Malinois. In most cases, it was brought by the owner’s failure to meet their dog’s needs. The bad temperament is typically a sign that the owner lacks knowledge of how to properly train their dog. Not to mention, that the dog was not socialized.

These dogs might often show signs of aggressiveness or fear. It might also be aloof with strangers or worse, fight other animals.

If provided with the right training and socialization, then this should be the least of your problems and your Malinois will definitely be a delight to the family.

For Border Collies, they are known to have a high level of intelligence. This is the exact same reason why they learn fast. However, there is certainly bad behavior that might still present itself such as digging, barking, boredom, and chewing. All of which could result in destructive behavior in your home.

Prevent this from ever happening. Be on the constant lookout for your Collies. Constantly monitor them for positive behavior and see to it to reward and praise them for it.

Training & Exercise of Border Collie vs Belgian Malinois

training Malinois puppy at a young age

When it comes to training and exercise of a Border Collie and Belgian Malinois, it would boil down to the basics. This isn’t just applicable to these two breeds, but to the majority of dog breeds as well. Knowing that these two dogs are intelligent and energetic breeds, we may have to up a notch the training and exercise.

  • They love exercise – these dogs posses high levels of energy. Thus, Border Collies and Belgian Malinois must be provided with tons of mental and physical stimulation.
  • Be consistent with your training – establish short training sessions with your dog. This keeps their attention only on you and nothing else.
  • Socialize them – at a young age, make the effort to expose your Border Collie and Belgian Malinois to various situations and people.
  • Start them young – both Collies and Malinois are intelligent dogs. Thus, you’ll surely get a response from them even during puppy training.
  • Treats – similar to other dogs, these two respond very well to treats and other positive reinforcement methods.

Taking Care & Maintenance of Border Collie vs Belgian Malinois

For a Border Collie and Belgian Malinois, ensure that your pet has the right diet, gets enough exercise, regularly brushes its coat and teeth, and has an emergency vet or hospital ready for unexpected situations. Of course, it is important that you stick to scheduled vaccinations and examinations.

Grooming of Border Collie vs Belgian Malinois

Grooming requirement for Border Collies is rather simple. Border Collies only demand simple trimming at the back of the legs and around the feet. This should be enough to give a cleaner and nicer appearance.

Never ever shave your Collies. Aside from being unnecessary, shaving them could create irregularities in how their coat will grow. There is a possibility that when it grows back, it may look uneven and patchy.

You and your dog’s activity level should determine how often you bathe him. You may bathe this active canine as often as every week or perhaps, just once every six weeks.

Bathing, brushing, and blowing out loose hair are all necessary for maintaining a healthy layer of coat as well as skin. Prior to a bath, always use a high-velocity dryer to blow out any stray hair from the skin and coat. Because of its dense, heavy coat, it is always wise to remove debris and dirt from the skin.


It is inevitable that moderate to heavy shedding occurs either in a Border Collie or a Belgian Malinois. If you are decided to have one, then you must learn how to deal with it. There are two ways to deal with this.

  • Anti-shed shampoos – this is a very good attempt at fighting excess shedding. Besides, using anti-shed shampoos make it easier to brush your dog.
  • Brushing – brushing regularly ensures that you are always on top of everything. Throughout the shedding season, you must be brushing your dog at least 2 or 3 times per week.

Health of Belgian Malinois and Border Collie

The health of Belgian Malinois and Border Collie will depend on their genes and of their parents. On the other hand, their owner plays a large contribution in how healthy or sickly their dog could become. Responsible owners often have healthy dogs. Irresponsible owners usually end up with sick dogs and more frequent visits to the vet.

Life Span of Belgian Malinois and Border Collie

Generally, Border Collies are a healthy breed. Under normal circumstances, they can live from 12 to 15 years whereas Belgian Malinois, they are known to have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

Diet & Nutrition

Since Border Collie and Belgian Malinois are both active and highly energetic dogs, their diet is almost the same.

Foods Rich in Glucosamine

Giving these dogs food with glucosamine and chondroitin can help prevent hip and elbow dysplasia.

Foods Rich in Vitamin A and DHA

These two breeds are prone to progressive retinal atrophy and other eye issues. They require foods high in vitamin A, such as carrots and other vegetables to avoid this from happening. Vitamin A’s sources can be found in eggs and fish liver oil.


Many breeders recommend feeding them raw meat to help prevent multiple conditions. Protein sources, including chicken, beef, and even animal liver are perfect to develop stronger bones.

Health Issues

Border Collies and Belgian Malinois almost share the same health issues. These dogs are prone to progressive retinal atrophy, elbow and hip dysplasia. If you want to own such a dog, make sure that you can provide for their needs to prevent these issues down the road.

Cost of Belgian Malinois vs Border Collie

The cost of buying a Belgian Malinois and Border Collie is actually variable. It will be based on a number of factors such as the puppies themselves, their lineage, the breeder where you’re getting it from or if you’re adopting.


The cost of Border Collie puppies ranges from $700 to $1,500. This price can still go higher to $3,500 for top-quality, show puppies. With Belgian Malinois pups, the average cost of one is $1,068. But if you want everything documented from its breeding rights and lineage, you’re looking at $3,400 up to $9,000.

The cost is affected by the dog’s gender, age, breeder’s location, and pedigree.

Breeders & Centers

You should always take the time to search for reputable breeders and centers. They make investments with their pups and ensure that they have nice living condition and is free from any known sickness.

They are doing regular health checks for the pups before they are endorsed to other homes and registered with the American Kennel Club. Thus, it makes the price of puppies from these parties to become more expensive than others.

Conclusion: Which Is Better, Border Collie or Belgian Malinois?

Generally, there is not much difference between a Belgian Malinois and a Border Collie. Both are very intelligent dogs, easily trainable and have high levels of energy. The choice will largely vary on your personal preference. But one thing is for sure, you’d take home a fun and loving dog that will truly be loyal to you and your family from day one.

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