PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When U.S. Customs and Border Protection K-9 officer “Yoda” caught convicted killer Danilo Cavalcante in Chester County this week, a lot of social media chatter was dedicated to the Belgian Malinois. To anyone thinking of tracking down one to adopt as a pet, experts warn the dog breed is not for everyone and potential owners need to know what they are getting into.
Belgian malinois are extremely smart and energetic. The breed is often used in law enforcement and is trained for the job for about two years.
“Owning a dog like a Belgian malinois is a full-time job, and if you are looking for a dog who is going to hang out, be low-key, and blend into your home environment, that is not what malinois are. That is not what they were bred to be,” said Nicole Wilson, director of animal law enforcement and shelter services at Pennsylvania SPCA.
“They are dogs who are looking for a job and looking for their person to provide them that high quality of outlet of energy and work.”
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Wilson says malinois have intelligence and drive. If they are not given direction, they will get “creative” — and that may not be great for a happy home environment.
“I have heard cases of Belgian malinois and seen situations where they have gone through doors. They have torn the drywall off of the walls,” Wilson said.
The PSPCA has matched malinois with adopters who weren’t professional handlers in the past, but they were aware of the work that has to be put into owning one.
“They go to the extra effort of paying for training classes, going to training three times a week, then doing expositions on the weekends — and that becomes a second full-time job.”
Wilson says doing your homework and figuring out which type of dog will fit best into your household will help keep breeds like Belgian Malinois out of the shelters and in a happy home environment.