Super Dog ConanThe world’s eyes are on Conan right now: the heroic dog who helped chase down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This lovely, female Belgian malinois (pronounced MAL IN WAH) is just one of many malinois who serve in the military and in our police forces every day. And each time one of these amazing dogs makes the news– which is fairly often– some people start to think they would like a dog like this for themselves. But the problem is, this breed is not designed to be a pet. The reasons that make them indispensable for all kinds of dangerous work are the very reasons they will not be happy sitting around an apartment all day. Malinois want to work. All. The. Time. As soon as you finish one activity with them, they are ready for another. A bike ride? That’s just a warm up! Their energy is endless and their “drive,” which is the thing that makes them go, is located deep in the DNA. Which is perfect if you want to check a stadium for explosives or hunt down a criminal, but not so great for the average 9-to-5er. This breed has lots of nicknames in the dog world, but the one most used is maligator. Because they do love to use their teeth. And they need to be taught how to use those gator-like teeth properly with structured bite work done with qualified trainers. Their fearlessness also leads them into physical injury, so they require a handler who can make sure they don’t hurt themselves or overheat because, if it is up the them, they wouldn’t stop to rest or cool off. They will jump any height, not thinking about the landing. Again, great for chasing bad guys, but not so good for your average person’s vet bill! They are fast — incredibly fast — so even trying to play a simple game with them may leave you accidentally injured. Do I say all this because I don’t like this breed? Exactly the opposite. I LOVE the malinois and have had the privilege of owning or living with several. And so I care that this amazing creature is in the right home. Can they be good with kids? Maybe. Can they be happy in a home where someone works all day? Maybe. But it takes a big commitment to fulfill this breed’s needs. And right now, with the need for so many working K9s, the industry is churning out more and more dogs suitable only for work–breeding for that crazy drive. There may be malinois bred with less drive out there. I have one. It took me two years to find her. Think about that: I searched for two years for the right malinois. Are most people willing to do that? No. They’ll see one in a shelter or online and think they can handle it. So, if you see one of these dogs out in public, admire from afar. And if I haven’t convinced you, and you believe you can offer the right kind of home for a malinois, with plenty of both physical and mental activities for it, please start talking to breeders and owners and be patient about getting a nice, low-drive mal suitable for a pet home. And then definitely contact Super Dog School, because you are going to need help!