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Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix: Beauty and Brawn?

Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix

Do you ever ponder mixed breeds and wonder what masterminds will think of next? You may have even thought of crossing several working dogs yourself. Perhaps you imagined the Belgian Malinois x Rottweiler or other matches. Could you predict how such a dog would look and act?

A Belgian Malinois Rottweiler mix is not necessarily a designer dog, but it can be a desirable family companion. It comes with a great protective instinct for your home as well as loyalty, intelligence, and a strong work ethic.

If you have the time and energy to spend long hours training and exercising a dog and are quite active yourself, the Rottie Mal mix is a promising choice.

Mixed breeds are a bit of a guessing game, but you can extrapolate a little information from the parent breeds. Using the data you get, you can make reasonable conclusions about the type of puppy that might result from the cross.

What does the Rottweiler contribute to the Malinois?

A rottweiler will add power to the Malinois, shorten the muzzle a little, and add fullness to the face and roundness to the head. Your dog’s ears might not stand up all the way and has a fair chance of having the black and tan markings of a Rottie.

What is Rottie’s background?

Rottweilers got their name and start from a town in Germany called Rottweil. Their forebears descended from the ancient Roman Molosser dogs that gave rise to war dogs, several Mastiffs, and livestock guardians.

Experts believe a Rottweiler’s ancestors, like many old herding dogs, branched from the livestock guardian line after it split from protection Mastiff types.

Roman Legions traveled across the Alps during their expansion across Europe. Cattle herds were their food source and they used dogs to guard them against thieves and to deter predators. The dogs also helped move the cattle.

In Germany, the Rottweiler developed from dogs the Romans abandoned when the Germans finally drove them out around 400 AD. To a considerable extent, the Rottweiler self-propagated when legion dogs bred freely with the local canids.

The Germans continued to use these dogs to drive cattle, selecting for protection as well as cattle handling. Rottweilers also pulled butchered meat in carts, and once at the trade centers, would guard their owner’s valuables.

Trains replaced dogs for transporting cattle in the 1830s, almost leading to the extinction of the Rottweiler breed by the 1880s. There was a resurgence just before World War I as Rotties became active in the police force.

The International Club for Leonbergers and Rottweiler Dogs in Germany formalized the Rottie breed standard in 1901. Rotties would later prove useful during the war.

A few Rottweilers emigrated with their owners to the US around 1928 with the AKC recognizing the breed as a member of the working group in 1931.

What are the good points and challenges of training?

Rotties are intelligent and attentive and enjoy working. They scored high enough in a series of tests to rank in the top 10 smartest dogs based on working intelligence according to the well-known canine psychologist, Stanley Coran. However, the Rottweiler is strong-minded and may bully and take advantage of inexperience and hesitation. A few can be domineering and pushy.

If you own a purebred Rottie, he needs patient but straightforward training methods and plenty of positive reinforcement.

The Rottweiler contributes to size and presence.

Rottweilers are not by nature vicious

One reason Rottweilers make such effective guard dogs is that it is impossible to ignore them. Not only are they large, but they also make a memorable first impression.

A Rottie’s disposition is bold and steadfast. Their approach to a suspicious person or occurrence is initially calm watchfulness which is unsettling and intimidating to many would-be trespassers. A Rottweiler will progress to loud barking and posturing as a warning, only charging, and biting as a last resort.

You should spend considerable time and energy socializing your Rottie from a puppy. Rottweilers are usually open to making friends when you are present once the initial suspicion wears off.

Rotties are willing and able to protect you and your property in the face of a threat. Exposing them to many people, situations, animals, and strange objects teaches Rottweilers to appropriately identify true danger. Extreme aggression can result from neglect of proper character development or abusive training methods.

How does the Rottie influence the looks of a mix?

Rottweilers are quite popular and thus easy to recognize. They are large with males standing 24 to 27 inches taller and weighing 95 to 140 pounds. Females are typically only a couple of inches shorter but can weigh significantly less at 80 to 115 pounds.

The breed keeps a relatively large and round head from its Molosser ancestors. You will notice wide-spaced deep-set eyes and the broadness of the skull between the high-set ears. Despite their clear strength at the base, a Rottie’s medium-sized triangular ears flop.

These dogs convey intensity and strength from their powerful arched necks to their long sloping shoulders to their bouncy ground-covering trot.

Rottweilers have a length-to-height ratio of 10:9 and have athleticism, speed, and agility that belies their size.

Their tails, if undocked, are plumed and set high. Dogs carry their tails in a gradual curve that does not reach the back as a Spitz would. Breeders in the US usually dock a Rottie’s tail shortly after birth, only leaving the length of one or two vertebrae.


The only acceptable Rottie color per the major registries is black and tan. A Black and tan is a reference to the dog’s genetic makeup rather than its color. In Rottweilers, it refers to a gene combination on the Agouti or “A” locus that gives a black-coated dog tan points.

Black and tan can manifest in the Rottweiler in three forms. Brown markings should be in a stereotypical pattern.

  • Black and rust – Points almost orange
  • Black and mahogany – Brown is a deep reddish color
  • Black and tan – Brown is light beige to dark brown

There is a lot of controversy about rare Rottweiler color variations. First, can certain colors occur genetically in the breed? When you see “off colors” like solid red, are you dealing with a purebred dog? The short answer is certain colors can technically occur in the Rottweiler. It is difficult to confirm the occurrence of some of the rarer shades in purebred Rotties.

  • Blue and tan – Two copies of a recessive gene at the D locus will dilute the black part of the coat to bluish
  • White – It is not clear whether albinism even exists in dogs, although many websites refer to albino Rottweilers; White Rotties often have vitiligo – a disorder that affects skin pigmentation like in the human form; the most common reason for a white Rottie is crossbreeding
  • Liver and tan – Dilution at the “B” locus, completely suppressing black in the coat; Base color will be chocolate; The potential exists for dilution to occur in Rotties, but many liver dogs are Dobie mixes
  • Red – A solid red or yellow dog is unable to express any color at the A locus, so no black with tan points but instead, a solid reddish or yellowish coat; Note, this is different than fawn
  • Isabella – Dilution at “D” and “B”, resulting in a dilute liver dog that looks taupe

Solid black is highly unlikely in the purebred Rottie for the following reasons.

  • Dominant black at the “K” locus is not likely where black with tan points is the prevailing color; Black and tan is recessive to dominant black; The consensus is that solid black Rotties are often Black Labrador crosses
  • Recessive black on the “a” locus is recessive to the tan-pointed gene; A dog would need two copies of the recessive gene at locus “a,” so both parents would need to be at least carriers of recessive black; Solid black will not express if there is a black and tan gene; Recessive black exists in the GSD, a frequently black and tan dog; Not clear whether recessive black exists in Rotties as the saddle gene also appears absent
  • Some dogs that appear solid black have barely visible tan points

What does the Belgian Shepherd add to the Rottweiler?

A Belgian Shepherd often adds refinement to the Rottweiler mix with a smaller frame and greater mobility. The head becomes slightly longer and more narrow and the ears more upright. Moreover, you can get additional colors and a more agile dog.

Where did the Belgian Malinois come from?

As its name suggests, the Belgian Malinois originated from the northwestern area of Belgium near Malines. A new breed relative to the Rottweiler, the Malinois stemmed from a group of herding dogs known as Belgian Shepherds.

Similar to Germany, Belgium sought to standardize generic herding dogs across their countryside around 1882. However, unlike Germany, Belgium was also dealing with the near extinction of their unique herding dog type.

Interested parties sought the help of Professor Adolphe Reul who began a program with about 117 dogs. Reul separated the Belgian Shepherd into distinct classes. His system grouped dogs by their coat length and color regardless of their parents.

This classification is still in use by registries that recognize the Belgian Shepherd as a single breed with four variations.

  • Malinois – Short-haired fawn
  • Laekenois – Wire-haired
  • Groenendael – Long-haired black; Can produce long-haired fawns which will not receive recognition from the AKC
  • Tervuren – Long-haired fawn

A breed standard for the Belgian Shepherd first arose in 1892 setting up the four varieties. Fanciers registered the first dog with the Royal Saint-Hubert Society Stud Book in 1901. The Belgian herding type was breeding true by 1910, especially the Malinois.

In 1905, interbreeding between variants was no longer allowed. Breeders would relax this rule on various occasions as the Belgian Shepherd declined in numbers.

The AKC recognized the Malinois as a separate breed in 1959. Previously, the AKC accepted two Malinois and a couple of Groenendaels under the German Shepherd umbrella with a Belgian designation in 1911. Most other countries still classify the Malinois as a variation of the Belgian Shepherd as of 2021.

Belgian Shepherds are lithe and protective.

Your Malinois needs a job.

A Belgian Malinois rarely makes a good pet for the average person because of their intensity and working drive. They have a tremendous amount of energy and require tons of commitment from their owners on several different fronts.

Without thorough socialization, Mals can show destructive behavior such as snapping, unprovoked aggression, edgy nervousness, and hair-trigger reactions at the slightest strange noise.

The Malinois also needs a lot of one-on-one attention and a great deal of vigorous exercise. Highly intelligent and sensitive, a Belgian Malinois requires engagement from you for most of her waking hours. Otherwise, a Belgian Malinois has many of the personality traits of a Rottweiler.

  • Bold and confident
  • Alert and watchful
  • Protective
  • Initially suspicious but warms up to strangers depending on the vibe they get from you

Training an intelligent dog is not always a cakewalk

According to, the Belgian Malinois is in the high teens in terms of working intelligence. What makes the breed so challenging is its sensitivity and independent thinking.

Although not as willful as perhaps German Shepherds or Rottweilers, the Belgian Malinois comes from a herding background that once placed it in charge of sheep and cattle.

You may face stubbornness on top of an extreme reaction to negative training methods. The Belgian Malinois is not very forgiving of trainer errors.

A Belgian Malinois contributes shepherd good looks.

Many people may think a Belgian Malinois is a lot like a GSD in appearance. However, a close look at the Malinois reveals the resemblance is fleeting.

The Malinois is a medium-sized dog 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder. It weighs between 40 and 80 pounds with females being significantly smaller than males.

The Belgian Malinois is unique among herding dogs in having a square build. These dogs pack a lot of strength on a small but muscular frame.

The neck is long, powerful, and rounded with laid-back shoulders, a deep chest, and well-muscled hind limbs. The back is level, and the tail reaches the hocks. A Malinois carries his tail in a slight upward curve when working.

The head is proportional to the body with the snout slightly longer than the back part of the skull. A feature of the Belgian Malinois is a proud and elegant head carriage.

Ears are medium and triangular as well as strongly upright. The darker the eyes the better and they should have a slight tilt. The top of the skull is flat in stark contrast to the GSD.


Standard colors are fawn, fawn sable, solid red, red sable, and mahogany. Sable in the Malinois shows up as black-tipped hairs or looks like a dark overlay.

Nonstandard colors can appear occasionally as throwbacks of historical crosses with Dutch Shepherds, German Shepherds, and other breeds. The Belgian Malinois has a black facial mask that will not show in solid black dogs.

Nonstandard Colors
  • Brindle
  • Solid black
  • Cream or cream sable
  • Liver
  • Gray or gray sable

What can you expect from a Belgian Malinois Rottweiler mix?

Where did they come from?

It is unclear why someone first decided to cross a Malinois and a Rottie, but it likely began in the US in the 2000s. The mix combines herding ability with versatility, guarding instincts, protectiveness, and athleticism.

Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix temperament should be balanced.

A Malinois Rottweiler cross will be alert, calm but intense, watchful, intelligent, and energetic. Combining the protectiveness of both parent breeds, the cross will be an excellent guard dog and protective of children, livestock, territory, and property. Socialization is a must to prevent overt aggression.

You must exercise caution with small children because of the dog’s size, energy, and tendency to herd. This cross may not be the best choice for multiple-dog households unless raised with the other dog. Dog aggression can be a trait of the Rottie parent, but you will have to judge your dog as an individual.

Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix Training has the same challenges as many herding dogs.

Your cross is likely to rank among the top 10 smartest dogs. Training challenges may include independence, sensitivity, and stubbornness.

Your Malinois cross can be manipulative or react adversely to a reprimand. Your Rottie may try to push you around. Your cross will need a lot of mental stimulation to stave off boredom. Advanced training helps this mix exercise mentally and physically and creates quality bonding time with you.

  • Obedience
  • Rally
  • Shutzhund
  • Belgian or French Ring – Both are similar to Shutzhund
  • Agility
  • Tracking
  • Search and rescue
  • Herding trials

This mix is likely to excel in police and military operations.

What will the Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix look like?

As always, the mix can favor one of the parent breeds over the other. As one example, the ears can be completely erect or lie down all the way against the head. The following presumes a fairly even distribution of genes between the two breeds.

A Malinois Rottie cross will have a medium-sized head with a longer and narrower snout than a Rottweiler and a more pronounced stop than a Mal. The ears are likely to be semi-prick or even rose and the eyes are almond-shaped and dark. The tail will have a fair amount of curve and will be either plain or may have slight plumes.

Your dog will have a double coat that may be black and tan, red sable, fawn, or fawn sable. Dogs that are not black and tan will show a black facial mask.

The body will be powerful with a deep chest, powerful limbs, and a quick and tireless gait. Dogs can range from 23 to 25 inches tall and weigh from 50 to 100 pounds.

How to care for the Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix.

The Rottweiler Malinois mix is a high-maintenance dog. She needs two or more hours of exercise daily.

Grooming is not as intensive, only needing brushing every few days. Your dog may experience abundant seasonal shedding in the fall and spring as both parent breeds have an undercoat. Your dog should tolerate hot and chilly weather between 30- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.

The Malinois has a dense undercoat that effectively circulates cool air in conjunction with the outer guard hairs to protect as well against the heat as it does against frigid conditions.

Good-quality dog food will have animal proteins and fats as the major ingredients. Your dog will need 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day depending on age, activity level, and health. Feed your dog divided food portions as the cross is vulnerable to bloat.

As with all dogs, trim the nails every four to six weeks, bathe every six to eight weeks, and check the ears for redness or other signs of infection.

Are Belgian Malinois Rottweiler Mix healthy?

Your mix will likely live 11 to 14 years with diligent care. Some problems you may run across thanks to the parent breeds are as follows.

  • Hip dysplasia – Growing abnormality
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Slipped disc
  • GDV – Whereby the stomach bloats with gas and twists
  • Low thyroid
  • Von Willebrand’s – Clotting disorder


This video shows a fawn sable dog. Note the Malinois tail and broad Rottie expression on the face. Also, notice the high energy of the dog.

This dog is interesting because it is a complete merge of the two breeds. You can see the blend best in the face which is a little wide for a Malinois but small for a Rottie.

The eyes seem to have the slanted glint of the Malinois with two rust points above to remind you of the Rottweiler heritage. The colors also seem to indicate uncertainty – The front quarter is black and tan patterned like a Rottweiler, and the lower part is a gray sable reminiscent of a German Shepherd’s coat pattern. The Mal’s tail, once again, is the type that appears on this dog.

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