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First off, for some reason I couldn't post this in the Welcome to the GSD/FAQ's for the First Time Owner section.

I'm considering adopting a rescue GSD or Malinois in the near future, ideally a retired military working dog after I PCS to Hawaii later this year. I've heard of rescue programs that do adopt military working dogs that have retired. And as an Army officer myself I'd certainly like to give a dog that's given his country some years of service a nice home.

I've got experience dealing with the latter breed (my family in Florida shares its home with a Maligator) and know that Mals are said to be 'hot blooded' and reactive compared to the GSD. Some I've talked to mentioned GSDs tend not to be as 'quick to bite' as Mals can be.

Because of their thicker coats I assume GSDs are a little less heat tolerant than Malinois? I intend my future pet to live indoors with me, of course, but given that I'll be living in Hawaii heat and humidity are things I'll need to keep in mind when the pair of us are out and about.

Any other big differences between Malinois and GSD I should be aware of should I wind up adopting the latter breed in a few months?
 

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Well, I've only fostered a 1/2 Mal, though he had most of the Mal behaviors. I've known a couple Mals and they were very much like Brunson, our temp Mal.

Our Mal was far more independent than my GSD. My ten month old GSD boy is very attached to me and often likes to lie on the couch with his head in my lap or, barring that, on the floor by me with his head on my foot. Our Mal at the same age was more apt to be doing his own thing nearby.

Also the GSD is more vocal. Jaeger has a huge vocabulary of whines, moans, groans, and barks and he likes to share his feelings, lol. Our Mal was much quieter.

Last thing: Both dogs were very trainable, but the Mal mix was less motivated by verbal praise or scolding. He was whip smart and could learn something in a heartbeat, but the Mal was a bit more "What's in it for me?" It didn't make a difference in how obedient he was, merely informed how we trained him.

Both just amazing breeds. For me, the GSD's way of bonding deeply and demonstrably is more appealing, but that's just really because I'm a touchy-feely type of person. :wub:
 

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Both my Mals are clingy and want to please me so bad that they would do anything. The other day they flushed a rabbit on a walk. Both chased after it, but they were both back with me after they realized how far away I was. My 2 dogs are not related.
 

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Because of their thicker coats I assume GSDs are a little less heat tolerant than Malinois? I intend my future pet to live indoors with me, of course, but given that I'll be living in Hawaii heat and humidity are things I'll need to keep in mind when the pair of us are out and about.
Don't be too quick to assume that. Read up on the experience of the US Forces in WW II in Papua New Guinea which is even hotter and more humid than Hawaii. At that time, both Dobermans and GSDs were used as MWDs. To the surprise of the Marines, the GSDs turned out to be better suited to the environment. First of all, GSD coats do become less thick in warmer weather naturally (they'll shed like crazy at first). Second, the double coat of the GSD (I'm not sure if Malis are double coated too) tends to protect them from sunburn and tropical insects.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Don't be too quick to assume that. Read up on the experience of the US Forces in WW II in Papua New Guinea which is even hotter and more humid than Hawaii. At that time, both Dobermans and GSDs were used as MWDs. To the surprise of the Marines, the GSDs turned out to be better suited to the environment. First of all, GSD coats do become less thick in warmer weather naturally (they'll shed like crazy at first). Second, the double coat of the GSD (I'm not sure if Malis are double coated too) tends to protect them from sunburn and tropical insects.
Interesting. I didn't know that. However I do know of folks who've kept even heavier fur dogs (Huskies and Malamutes) in Hawaii before too.

Also the GSD is more vocal. Jaeger has a huge vocabulary of whines, moans, groans, and barks and he likes to share his feelings, lol. Our Mal was much quieter.
My parents' Mal has a vocabulary akin to Jaeger's. He's got his own distinctive 'Where's dad' Bark (sort of a plaintive sounding 'oof') usually he'll go up to Mom and do that if Dad's on any sort of long trip.
 

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I'm up in a high desert area and my GSD seems to handle the varying temps well. I get the high highs (115+) to the low lows (12) (ok for those in the northern states i.e. N. Dakota, that's low for S. Cal. so quit laughing). I've seen many GSD in my area and they seem to handle it well. I know my GSD does, sheds a ton, and probably does prefer the snow but she is doing well.
 

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I lived on Oahu while my dad was stationed at Tripler. It is not as hot and humid as one would expect. Although we PCS from Barstow, so anything would be an improvement. Just make sure to keep pup groomed with lots of water to drink and play in. I am in Southern California now and have a pool for Fiona ... A kiddie pool.


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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'm up in a high desert area and my GSD seems to handle the varying temps well. I get the high highs (115+) to the low lows (12) (ok for those in the northern states i.e. N. Dakota, that's low for S. Cal. so quit laughing). I've seen many GSD in my area and they seem to handle it well. I know my GSD does, sheds a ton, and probably does prefer the snow but she is doing well.
Interesting, I was stationed in Fort Irwin for a number of years and did see my fair number of GSDs as family pets and as working dogs. Although I've seen a handful of Malinois as working dogs in the High Desert with some of the police units.

Just make sure to keep pup groomed with lots of water to drink and play in. I am in Southern California now and have a pool for Fiona ... A kiddie pool.
Compared to a Malinois how much more grooming does a GSD require?
 

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Depends upon how much hair you can live with. :shocked:

They shed their coat twice a year. Some dogs shed year around. I brushed Ossie twice a day I never got it all. I was forever chasing furrballs around with the dustmop and vacuum cleaner. His fur would come out in clumps.

Lisl just finished shedding her puppy coat and was nothing compared to Ossie. I brush Lisl twice a day currently, but I could get away without brushing her for several days right now as her adult coat is growing in. The wire brush isn't picking up much at all right now.

As much as I love my Lisl, I hate stray dog hair rambling across my hardwood floors, or attached to me, or all over my carpeting. I sweep and vacuum a lot, or at least I did while she was shedding her puppy coat.

GSD's require no special grooming like a very long haired breed. A bath maybe once a year, but they need brushing at least once a day or you'll be hip deep in used fur.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Depends upon how much hair you can live with.

They shed their coat twice a year. Some dogs shed year around. I brushed Ossie twice a day I never got it all. I was forever chasing furrballs around with the dustmop and vacuum cleaner. His fur would come out in clumps.
Well, in terms of how much hair I can live with, I would vacuum about 1x week or if I know my girlfriend will be flying in from the mainland.

I take it GSDs shed with a fair bit of frequency in more humid climates?
 

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Well, in terms of how much hair I can live with, I would vacuum about 1x week or if I know my girlfriend will be flying in from the mainland.

I take it GSDs shed with a fair bit of frequency in more humid climates?
I don't know, I'm in dry heat climate except in the monsoon (?sp?) time, and Sasha seems to shed the most when it's warm and I live in the desert......during the summer I just brush her outside and then she chases her flying fur. Since she bulks up in the winter, she doesn't shed as much.
 

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HaHa Exactly!!!!

German Shedders? I can speak to that. Horrible all the time and worse twice a year:laugh:

I live in South Florida and my GSD tolerates the heat although I'm confident he'd be much happier north of the Mason Dixon line. He's pretty laid back most of the summer. We do have a kiddie pool that he lounges around in most of the summer but with our humidity, he never really dries out on his own. I have to blow dry him daily as he gets pretty aromatic.

That apparently won't be a problem for you but back to the point, I wish I had bought stock in Kirby.
 

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I prefer GSDs over Mals, but I've only met two or three Mals ever, so don't take my opinion for much. Mals, IMHO, are very serious and aloof around everyone. Unless you are interracting with them, they seem like they could care less...but I'm drawing on very limited experience with them.

We moved from relatively low humidity (SE Pennsylvania) to the humidifier known as So. Maryland. The only difference I noticed was that instead of blowing his coat twice a year with slight shedding year round, he sheds lightly year round and still does a big blow twice a year. He's done fine in the humidity and heat; we spent the first summer getting him used to being in it and we don't do anything but "water play" during the heat of the day. Walks got switched to very early AM and very late PM walks, but it was a bit more for our personal comfort than his.

As for bathing...I bathe Finn once every three or four months. Only reason for that is he gets dingy looking after being in the dirt and mud and over time, he looks yellowish. I'm sure I could go longer between baths.

A good vacuum cleaner should be on your list as when they do shed, they shed like mad and it can be hard to get up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I prefer GSDs over Mals, but I've only met two or three Mals ever, so don't take my opinion for much. Mals, IMHO, are very serious and aloof around everyone. Unless you are interracting with them, they seem like they could care less...but I'm drawing on very limited experience with them.
I've heard the term maligator thrown out in a few circles owing to some saying Malinois are fairly reactive compared to the GSD.

My own Malinois experience is limited to the Malinois my parents own. He's a very smart animal, that's for darn certain with a fairly accurate internal clock (he certainly knows when it's 4:30 P.M., because that's when Mom gets home and she gives him a treat just for looking cute).

Any other really pronouncible temperament differences between the Malinois and GSD besides the maligator trait?
 

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Malinois "drive" varies widely depending on breeder. I think if you are getting a retired military dog, you'll have more drive, but the dogs are already trained, so it's under control. It will probably be focused into ball/kong fetching.

Belgians definitely shed much less than GSDs, unless they have GSD in their bloodlines. Mine shed in the spring and fall where I have to rake their butts outside, but there isn't hair all over the house and I certainly don't vacuum every day. Another reason I prefer Belgians. ;)

You really should look into the Malinois rescue. They may not be the best bred Malinois (not show lines), but there are some sweethearts that can keep up with whatever you want to do.
ABMC Belgian Malinois Rescue - Rescued Belgian Malinois

Like I said early, Belgian will bend over backwards to do what you want. They live to please their human.
 

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Last summer when it was we were in a 110+ heat wave here in OK, my GSD did fine. She would roam through the woods (we lived in the mountains on 53 acres at that time) till about eleven am or so, then come home and sleep in the shade till evening. Then run again.
 

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Any other really pronouncible temperament differences between the Malinois and GSD besides the maligator trait?
You are going to encounter a larger range of temperaments in the individuals of both breeds than generalizable differences between the two breeds. Especially if they come from working dog backgrounds they'll have more in common than differences. Most of the breed differences you'll read about are going to be overblown generalizations. Just try to adopt a good dog.
 

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Most of the breed differences you'll read about are going to be overblown generalizations. Just try to adopt a good dog.
I'll definitely keep that in mind. I merely started this thread as part of my research into one of two alternatives I'm thinking of.

I'm familiar with Malinois, but have only a few brief encounters with the GSD and thought I'd ask about one before I adopt one (ideally a former military dog, as an Army officer myself I'd like to give an ex military dog a good home).

Belgians definitely shed much less than GSDs, unless they have GSD in their bloodlines. Mine shed in the spring and fall where I have to rake their butts outside, but there isn't hair all over the house and I certainly don't vacuum every day. Another reason I prefer Belgians.
This was an advantage both my parents told me as well.

I've also heard GSDs tend to be bulkier than Mals too.
 
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