The Belgium Malinois is one of three breeds belonging to the Belgian Shepherd dog breed. While the three types are all recognized separately by the American Kennel Club, other places in the world recognize Belgian Shepherds as one breed. The three breeds of Belgian Shepherd are the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Sheepdog, and the Belgian Tervuren.
Each of these dogs came from Belgium, and were all used as shepherding dogs from the beginning of the breed. European countries in the nineteenth century began to feel a need for a strong sense of nationalism. This need brought out the desire to breed dogs that were solely from Belgium. This notion started the club called the Club du Chien de Berger Beige. This club was literally dedicated to the breeding and care of Belgian Shepherd dogs, including the Belgian Malinois. The recognization of the Belgian Shepherd dog did not happen until the Societe Royale Saint-Hubert recognized the breed in the early twentieth century.
Near the city of Malines in Belgium, the Belgian Malinois was bred and became the dog we know today. He started off as a dog with both long hair and short haired coats, depending on the breeding background. This was because the other two types of Belgian Shepherds had long haired coats. Breeding of the Belgian Malinois eventually made the dog a short haired dog. His coloring was also variable in the breed's early days, but this, too, was controlled by breeding. The city of Malines eventually allowed its name to be used for the name of this new breed.
The Belgian Malinois has always been the favored Belgian Shepherd dog in its native country simply because of the dog's personality and character traits. The dog's ability to learn quickly and be used as an effective working dog made him popular with all types of people in Belgium. One of the most dedicated Belgian Malinois breeders of the twentieth century was Professor Adolphe Reul, who was responsible for much of the basic lineage of the Belgian Malinois we recognize today.
The Belgian Malinois did not gain fame in the United States until 1911. The popularity continued until the beginning of World War II. The Belgian bloodlines were imported to the US and were bred, creating a rich bloodline within the states. The breed did not regain its popularity in the US until about 1965, when there were finally enough Belgian Malinois bred and raised in the US to make it possible for the American Kennel Club (AKC) to recognize the breed as a member of the working group. Then, in 1983, it was put into the newly developed herding group. The current breed standard has been in existence since 1990.