13 Unique Belgian Malinois Colors & Patterns Explained (Pictures)


Though many dog breeds are active, the Belgian Malinois is among the most active dog breeds that one can have. In fact, some studies have supported the idea that there is no dog more energetic and active than the Belgian Malinois.

Often referred to as Belgian Shepherd Dogs or Belgian Sheepdog, these dogs are quite lively. Therefore, be sure that you are prepared to provide your pooch with the exercise that it will need to thrive.

Belgian Malinois dogs have gained popularity in recent decades, but they are still not considered to be a popular dog in North America.

Prospective Belgian Malinois dog owners may be curious to know about the various colors and patterns that are associated with these dogs. If you’re interested in this information, then you’re in luck-this article will have an abundance of information related to the colors and patterns of Belgian Malinois dogs.

Belgian Malinois Patterns

When considering dog breeds that have different patterns, Belgian Malinois are not the first breed that comes to mind. Most people assume that Belgian Malinois only possess a single pattern. So, do Belgian Malinois possess any sort of variety in the patterns that they display?

Belgian Malinois do not posses any unique or especially exciting patterns, with only a few patterns existing within this dog breed.

Most Belgian Malinois dogs have solid coats of fur that are a cohesive color, but some Belgian Mals have a bicolored pattern whereby they display a light color on their underside and a dark color above.

Belgian Malinois could also show sable patterning. Dogs with this pattern have fur that is lighter at the base than the tip. This creates an effect whereby the fur of these dogs is dictated by lighting. They may appear pale at times and dark at other times depending on light.

Belgian Malinois Types

The different coat colors of Belgian Malinois are often referred to as “types”. There are an assortment of different types of Belgian Malinois that exist, and each type has a unique coat color and pattern. Here are the different Belgian Malinois types:

  • Red Belgian Malinois
  • Red Sable Belgian Malinois
  • Mahagony Belgian Malinois
  • Fawn Belgian Malinois
  • Fawn Sable Belgian Malinois
  • Brindle Belgian Malinois
  • Cream Belgian Malinois
  • Cream Sable Belgian Malinois
  • Black Belgian Malinois
  • Blue or Gray Belgian Malinois
  • Gray Belgian Malinois
  • Liver Belgian Malinois
  • White Belgian Malinois

Red Belgian Malinois

Red Belgian Malinois

The Red Belgian Malinois may have various shades of red fur with a black muzzle that contrasts substantially with its red coat color.

Red is one of the coat colors accepted by major dog pedigree associations, so if you are a fan of Red Belgian Malinois, you should not have a difficult time finding one for yourself.

Red Sable Belgian Malinois

A Red Sable Belgian Malinois has a red base coat just like a Red Belgian Malinois. However, the distinctive red sable pattern possessed by these dogs gives them a darker appearance.

A Red Sable has fur that is red at its base and dark at the tip. This means that a Red Sable may appear especially dark in some lighting or red in other lighting.

Mahogany Belgian Malinois

Mahogany Belgian Malinois

A Mahogany Belgian Malinois may sound similar to a Red and Red Sable Belgian Malinois, and while these dogs do possess a coat with red coloration, these dogs have some notable differences.

Mahogany Belgian Malinois stand out thanks to their red-brown coat color. These dogs may be a dark reddish brown or pale red-brown color. They do not have dark markings around their muzzle that are as prominent as Red Belgian Malinois.

Fawn Belgian Malinois

Fawn Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois with a fawn coat have light brown fur with a yellow tinge. Fawn-coated Belgian Malinois are among the more common types of Belgian Malinois.

Many dog owners enjoy this type of Belgian Malinois dog thanks to its clean-looking appearance and signature black masking that seems extra apparent as it contrasts with the fawn color of this type of pooch. Most Fawn Belgian Malinois have stunning dark brown eyes that are highlighted by their coat color.

Fawn Sable Belgian Malinois

A Fawn Sable Belgian Malinois is similar to a standard fawn Belgian Malinois, however, a dog’s coat color will be darker if it is this type of Belgian Malinois.

Sable dogs will have both Fawn and dark fur within their coat colors. Sable dogs owe their appearance to hairs that are fawn at the base and dark at the tip.

Fawn Sable Belgian Malinois are not as common as a Fawn Belgian Malinois, but they are still among the more common types of Belgian Malinois dogs.

Brindle Belgian Malinois

Brindle Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois with a brindle coat have a fascinating assortment of color splotches and patterns within their coat color. Brindle coats are characterized by dark patches of color with your dog’s coat.

All Brindle Belgian Malinois have a unique pattern that helps to distinguish dogs from one another. It is for this reason that a Belgian Malinois with a brindle coat will be highly sought after. This fact, coupled with the fact that Belgian Malinois are not brindle dog breeds makes these pups uncommon.

Some may refer to this type of Belgian Malinois as Tricolor Belgian Malinois, and with their coat sporting an assortment of colors, it’s easy to see why.

Cream Belgian Malinois

Cream Belgian Malinois

It is common for other dog breeds like Golden Retrievers to feature a cream color type, but most Belgian Malinois are not cream-colored. This is because cream is among the most atypical of Belgian Malinois coat colors.

Cream Belgian Malinois owe their stunning appearance to a lack of a gene that produces eumelanin-a gene that codes for dark coloration. Nonetheless, Cream Belgian Malinois maintain dark snouts, ears, and eyes.

Cream Sable Belgian Malinois

Cream Sable Belgian Malinois are an uncommon sight. If you suspect that you’re looking at one of these pooches, try to discern if the dog has a cream-colored base coat of fur.

A Cream Sable Belgian Malinois will have the signature sable pattern whereby its fur is pale near the base and dark at the tip. A Cream Sable Belgian Malinois is a beautiful sight, but these dogs are rare.

Black Belgian Malinois

Seeing a pure Black Belgian Malinois can be an imposing sight. While their coat color may make them look frightening, they are no more dangerous than a normal Belgian Malinois. In other words, there is no need to worry about running into one of these lovable dogs!

The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the color black as an official color for Belgian Malinois. Though black is not one of the standard Belgian Malinois colors, prospective pup owners are not deterred from seeking out these stunning pooches.

Blue or Gray Belgian Malinois

Blue or Gray Belgian Malinois

Blue Belgian Malinois are not actually blue. Rather, these dogs are a slaty gray coloration that is often referred to as “blue” in the dog breeding realm.

A Gray Belgian Malinois possesses a clean, cool appearance. The coat colors of this type of Belgian Malinois are variable. A Gray Belgian Malinois puppy may have a blue tint in its coat color, while an adult could have a dark, slaty gray coat color.

Gray Belgian Malinois owe their appearance to a dilution gene that dulls Belgian Malinois black pigment, resulting in dogs that have a memorable gray appearance.

Gray Sable Belgian Malinois

A Gray Sable Belgian Malinois is difficult to distinguish from a normal Grey Malinois because of the sable patterning in its fur. Like a Gray Belgian Malinois, Gray Sables can attribute their gray base coat to a gene that dilutes black pigments.

Remember, Sable dogs have a light base to their fur and dark tips. This means that both gray and gray sable Belgian Malinois will have a dark coat color appearance.

Liver Belgian Malinois

Liver Belgian Malinois

Liver Belgian Malinois are a sight to behold, as these dogs have captivating coats and several additional features that are sure to impress.

These dogs have liver-colored fur that may have cream, light brown, or red tones due to a gene that suppresses black coloration within their coats. One notable feature of Liver Mals is that they cannot create gray hairs within their coat.

You may be wondering what sets a Liver Belgian Malinois apart from other types if it has coat colors that are seen in various Mals. Well, these dogs are special in that their eyes are a breathtaking amber coloration. Moreover, the noses of Liver Belgian Malinois will be liver-colored.

White Belgian Malinois

White Belgian Malinois

A White Belgian Malinois is precisely what its name suggests-a Mal with an entirely white coat color.

White Belgian Mals look stunning with their pure, clean appearance, but there is a reason why you won’t see many white Belgian Malinois around.

Though the beauty of these dogs cannot be refuted, the ethics of breeding this type of Belgian Malinois has been called into question.

This is so because Belgian Malinois with white fur have a substantial chance of inheriting detrimental health complications such as an increased probability of being deaf.

A White Mal may be an albino Belgian Malinois, but these dogs can also be leucistic.

Do Belgian Malinois Colors Change Over Time?

Belgian Malinois do not undergo drastic color changes as they age, but dogs may certainly experience minor color changes during maturity.

Belgian Malinois puppies may have lighter coloration during their adolescent stage compared to when they’re adults. This has been noted in Gray Malinois, which often appear blue-gray when they’re young and slate gray when they’re adults.

Though your precious pooch may have a beautiful, bold coat color when they’re an adult, coat colors often fade when a dog enters the senior years of its life. At this point, once bold colors may develop gray or white areas due to a dog’s older age.

Can You Identify A Purebred Belgian Malinois By Its Coat Color Or Markings?

Simply looking at a dog’s coat will not tell you if your pooch is a purebred dog. It would certainly be convenient if this were the case, but unfortunately, coat color and markings can only reveal if a specific dog would be recognized by pedigree organizations as being an authentic Belgian Malinois.

So, if coat colors and patterns cannot be used to identify a dog that belongs to the Belgian Malinois breed, then how can you tell one of these dogs from similar-looking dogs?

There are a couple of good ways to determine a dog’s lineage and potential purebred background. First, examining pedigree papers is a tried and true method for determining a dog’s lineage. Pedigree papers will reveal a specific dog’s ancestors and potential purebred nature.

However, many dogs do not have pedigree papers available, so what can dog owners do in this instance? Luckily, owners that find themselves in this situation are not out of luck. They can administer a dog DNA test and send the test to a lab for analysis. A laboratory will then analyze a dog’s DNA and report the results back to the dog’s owner.

Both of the methods described are reliable ways to determine a dog’s lineage. Unfortunately, looking at a potential Belgian Malinois coat colors and patterns is not a reliable way to determine if it is purebred.

What Are The Common Colors Of The Belgian Malinois?

If you wish to know the most common Belgian Malinois colors, a quick check of the colors accepted by dog pedigree organizations like the American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club, or United Kennel Club will provide insights into the most common colors of Belgian Malinois.

A perusal of Belgian Malinois breeding standards laid out by these dog pedigree associations will reveal that fawn, red, and similar colors are acceptable Belgian Malinois colors.

Since these dogs are known to naturally possess these colors within their coat, you can be confident that fawn, red, and variations of these colors are the most common colors for a Belgian Malinois coat.

What Is The Rarest Color Of The Belgian Malinois?

Any of the coat colors that are not thought of as typical of Belgian Malinois will be uncommon. Black, cream, liver, and gray can all be considered uncommon coat colors for this breed.

However, when considering the rarest Belgian Malinois color, it has to be the Brindle color. This is so because Brindle coat color is not thought to naturally occur within Belgian Malinois ancestry. Whereas uncommon colors like black, gray, and cream, are the result of genes favoring certain color schemes, Brindle is not a natural color pattern for these dogs.

Brindle likely arose in Belgian Malinois populations thanks to interbreeding with dog breeds that possess Brindle coats.

Does Coat Color Affect A Dog’s Health?

Some may think that the notion that coat color can affect the health of a dog is absurd, but it turns out that this idea actually has some credence to it. Keep reading for Belgian Malinois colors explained.

Any of the common Belgian Malinois dog coat colors like fawn and red have no inherent health complications associated with them. Uncommon colors like black, gray, cream, brindle, and liver also lack any proven health conditions associated with them.

The one color that has been proven to be detrimental to the health of a Belgian Malinois is the color white. This color has been proven to be detrimental for dozens of dog breeds, and it holds true for Mals.

It has been suggested that entirely white dogs have an increased risk of being deaf and blind. Moreover, some think that white dogs are more prone to developing dangerous heart conditions.

Research has proven that a correlation between white dogs and deafness exists, while a correlation between blindness and heart conditions is not yet proven.

Does Coat Color Contribute To Aggression In The Belgian Malinois Breed?

Prospective Belgian Malinois dog owners may have a preferred coat color of Belgian Mal, but before adopting a dog with a certain coat color, you may want to know more about coat color and aggression. Do some coat colors lend to aggressive tendencies in Belgian Malinois?

Some types of Belgian Malinois look far more intimidating than other types. For instance, a Black Belgian Malinois is an imposing sight, but observers may not be as fearful of a dark brown or fawn color Belgian Malinois. So, is there a Belgian Malinois color that is known to be more aggressive than others?

Luckily, no type of Belgian Malinois has been proven to be more aggressive than others. A person may look at a certain type of Belgian Malinois and unfairly assume that it is aggressive based on the color of its coat, but this is merely human prejudice against certain colors in action.

A Black Belgian Malinois is no more dangerous than a Fawn Sable Belgian Malinois. Any purebred Belgian Malinois will be a dog with immense energy requirements. If you keep your pooch couped up for too long, it may get cranky. Therefore, owners must be sure to give their Belgian Mals lots of exercise.

Should You Pick A Belgian Malinois Based On Color?

Now that you’re up to date on all of the different Belgian Malinois colors and patterns, you may have your heart set on a certain type of Belgian Malinois. While a particular type may catch your eye, you might wonder if you should pick a Belgian Malinois based off of its color.

So, is it ethical to adopt a Belgian Malinois based on its color? Well, it depends on the Belgian Malinois colors that you’re considering!

It is generally okay to select a Belgian Malinois based off of its color, but you may run into trouble if you have your heart set on a white Belgian Malinois.

Remember, White Belgian Malinois may look beautiful, but it has been proven that they’re more likely to develop harmful health conditions than other Mal types (see common Blegian Malinois health issues).

Aside from choosing a White Belgian Malinois, you shouldn’t have any issues with selecting a Mal that is your ideal color or pattern.

While only colors like red and fawn are accepted Belgian Malinois colors according to associations like the Canadian Kennel Club, there is nothing inherently wrong or unethical with other Belgian Malinois colors besides white.

Differences Between Belgian Malinois Dogs And German Shepherds

Before discussing the various colors and patterns that a Belgian Malinois can possess, let’s differentiate this breed from the similar-looking German Shepherd dog breed.

Both the Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd are herding dogs by nature. These breeds are also similar heights and possess coats that are much alike. Lastly, both of these dog breeds are considered to be supremely intelligent So, how does the Belgian Malinois differ from a German Shepherd?

The differences between Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds are noticeable when the two breeds are standing next to one another. Belgian Malinois are leaner with slimmer ears compared to German Shepherds.

Though both breeds are very active, the Belgian Malinois takes the cake as the more active breed.

Why Do Belgian Malinois Have Different Colors?

Before discussing the different patterns and colors seen in Belgian Mals, you may be curious about how different coat colors come about in the first place. What is the reasoning behind such a diverse array of colors within a dog’s coat?

All of the physical, observable differences within any organism can be attributed to heritable differences in a creature’s DNA. In other words, the reason why not all creatures are identical is due to the existence of genotypes and phenotypes.

Dogs inherit various genotypes from their parents, and while they possess certain genotypes in their DNA, they cannot display all of their different genotypes.

Phenotypes are physical, observable genotypes within an organism. The shape of a dog’s ears, its eye color, and its coat color are all examples of phenotypes.

The genes that a Belgian Malinois inherits from its parents will ultimately determine its coat color.

Barring a mutation, dogs cannot manifest new colors for themselves-these are restricted to having colors that were in their parent’s DNA.