An expert dog trainer has warned people against buying one breed – and says he believes it will be the next added to the UK’s list of banned dangerous dogs. There are currently four breeds and types of dogs banned in the UK – Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.
Jacob Morgan, founder and trainer of the YorkshireCanineAcademy.co.uk, believes another name could soon be added to that list. Jacob has trained more than 2,500 dogs and owns five himself.
But there is one breed he says most people shouldn’t buy, and he knows because he owns one. Jacob says: “Just this week I have seen five Belgian Malinois dogs looking to be re-homed via Facebook. This is frightening to see as it shows people are buying this breed of dog and not being able to care for them.
“My Belgian Malinois puppy, Stark, is 15 weeks old, and I’m with him most of the day while I train our clients’ dogs. But I also have members of staff who can also make sure Stark is getting stimulated by giving him an activity to do every hour. Even as a dog trainer, if it was just me looking after Stark, I’d struggle.”
Often confused for a short haired German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is traditionally a herding dog. Highly intelligent, athletic and highly energetic, they have been made famous through films such as John Wick, and Dog with Channing Tatum. You’ve also probably seen them leaping over high walls in videos online and working for the SAS and police forces all over the world.
The Belgian Malinois can grow to around 30kg, and life expectancy is 14-16 years. The breed has a high prey drive, and without adequate socialization and training, they will chase small animals, vehicles or children.
Jacob said: “I planned to get a Belgian Malinois puppy for two years. I’d chosen his name before I found the right breeder, as there are so many people breeding for profit over health and the right personality traits. I can confidently say the Belgian Malinois is not a family pet and especially if you have a full time job, you don’t have time for this breed.
“It takes thousands of hours of training to make a Belgian Malinois a ‘regular dog’. So many are being bred to have a ‘nervy edge’, which is being mistaken for a willingness to protect.”
Jacob says: “This breed has strong herding and guarding instincts, and genetics make it need to chase and bite things. If an owner is not providing an outlet like the training shown in our video, the dogs can become anxious and lash out at their owners.”
“It’s a perfect storm happening right now and I’m sure it won’t be long until the breed is banned altogether. Through no fault of their own, it will be the fault of the thoughtless breeders and those owners who haven’t done their research properly.”
Belgian Malinois puppies are being sold on public pet selling sites for as little as £650, and Google trends shows there’s been a 50% increase in online interest for these puppies over the last 12 months alone. Jacob plans to compete in suitable sports with Stark when he’s older, in competitions such as Shutzhund, a dog sport that tests tracking, obedience and protection skills, and evaluates if a dog has the appropriate traits and characteristics of a good working dog.