Mary Jo DiLonardo has operated in print, online, and also broadcast journalism because that 25 years and covers nature, health, science, and also animals.

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Some persons don"t recognize what they"re acquiring into as soon as they take it in a Malinois.Fesus Robert/Shutterstock

Some fans of the Belgian Malinois are worried. They experienced what "Marley & Me" did for the Labrador retriever and what Walt Disney did because that Dalmatians. They"re calling it the "Max effect."


The movie "Max" speak the story of a armed forces dog that goes come live through his handler's household after leave Afghanistan. It's a emotional tale, and also Max is a good dog — so good that moviegoers may leave the theatre wanting a Max that their an extremely own.


The Belgian Malinois Is a working Breed

The dogs that mutual the starring duty were every Belgian Malinois, one active, intelligent functioning breed regularly used for regulation enforcement and the military. However talk to anyone who has owned or trained among these high-drive dogs, and they'll tell friend the dogs are not your common family pet.


"If girlfriend are looking for a beautiful animal to just sit at house with you, or to it is in left come its own designs, perform NOT choose a Malinois," states a statement on the American Belgian Malinois club website. "These dogs space bred to it is in taught and assigned tasks, and also then to carry out them in ~ the greatest levels of their mental and physical capabilities. An underutilized dog is a frustrated dog. And also a irritable dog is not a great housemate."


online Drive to Educate the public

The movie influenced the production of a on facebook page dubbed "Soooo,you think you want a Malinois?", a location where breed owners share cautionary tales and photos of your dogs" activities. This has bites, destroyed furniture and snarling, bared teeth.


"We are NOT Malinois bashing. Us love the breed, so lot so in fact, the we want to breed to be preserved as a working BREED. Uneducated, irresponsible malinois breeders and owners will, in the brief term, get a lot of civilization hurt and also a the majority of dogs destroyed. Castle will, in the lengthy term, cause the devastation of the breed and the lose of its functioning ability. ‪#‎SavetheMalinois We are your Malinois' warning label."


They're Not an ideal as family Pets

Daniel McElroy, a Chicago-based trainer, helped produced the Facebook web page after number of trainers were worried about the "Max" effect and also were talking about it in ~ a training conference right before the movie came out.


"I don't think world realize what genetics really space in any certain dog population, particularly in functioning breed dogs," McElroy tells MNN. "People have no idea what they're acquiring themselves into. I'm a full time trainer, and also I obtain people all of the time saying they check out the description of a certain breed ~ above the Internet. They involved me saying, 'I read where it said they were defensive, headstrong and also so forth. I believed I can handle it till I actually acquired the dog.'"


Breeders and also trainers talk about what a strong "prey drive" and "bite drive" these dogs have. YouTube is full of videos of small Malinois puppies latching ~ above to trousers legs and not letting go. Here's a good example:


Malinois lovers are afraid the newbie each other converts will certainly buy a pup, it is in overwhelmed through the dog's power drive — or worse, gain bitten — and also the dog will end up at a shelter.


"We love dogs, and also we love movies, and also we love movies v dogs in them — yet we don"t love when civilization buy dogs since they saw them in movies," claims a post on the Facebook page of ras Vegas K9 Training.


"Malinois are a pretty hardcore breed, even among trainers, they room 'the functioning dogs of functioning dogs.' They space NOT mini German shepherd's and also they are certainly NOT pets. Don't get a dog just since you saw numerous professionally trained animal actors pat the same part in a movie."


"We are already seeing advertisements ~ above the internet by irresponsible breeders selling the "Air Jordon of dogs" or dogs like "Max" native the movie," says Marcia Tokson, chairman of the American Belgian Malinois Rescue. "Our rescue coordinators are currently getting call from world looking for dogs due to the fact that they have actually just watched the movie and their kids want one."


Tokson claims they'll likely see rise in exit Malinois puppies in about six to ripe months.


"After the cute puppy phase is over and the dogs end up being harder to handle as adolescents, that's when they are dumped due to the fact that they are doing damages to the house, knocking end the children et cetera."


largely Trained for Military and Police work

Yes, there are negatives to the Malinois' new-found popularity, yet there are additionally positives, claims dog trainer and also retired police K9 handler Jeff Schettler, owner the Georgia K9 nationwide Training Center and author of numerous tactical cultivate books.


"The optimistic is the it brings a many light to the intelligence and the all at once versatility and beauty the the breed," states Schettler, that points the end that it's not simply the Malinois that isn't a an ideal family pets in the traditional sense.


"Any that the high-caliber functioning breeds favor a high-caliber German shepherd or Rottweiler shouldn’t walk the mean person. In Europe, they likewise use large shepherds. It"s also Dutch shepherds and Rhodesian ridgebacks," the says. "It"s not simply the breed, the the drive of the dog."


With the Malinois, Schettler claims the vast majority are bred for the military and also police work. "The breeding has been for extremely high drive, incredible intelligence and also some can be really aggressive. The average human should never ever own that," that says.


Schettler is right now training 2 Malinois the turned the end to be an ext than their owners space able to handle.

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"It's the biggest difficulty we have actually in ours business: human being dealing v dogs that are too lot for them," he says. "I think Malinois space absolutely fantastic, but they're not for the average person."


If you've checked out "Max," you know it's a emotional canine tale. If not, check out the trailer below. It's a reminder of the breed's grace and intelligence — yet that doesn't average you should bring one home with you.