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12 Belgian Malinois Colors (With Pictures)


Jun 27, 2023
male belgian malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a beautiful dog commonly mistaken for the German Shepherd (GSD), another lovely dog. Like the GSD, they are renowned for their work with the police and the military.

The Belgian Malinois (also known affectionately as the Mal) is smaller and slimmer but has a longer lifespan than the GSD. They also come in one more color.

In fact, the Mal comes in 12 colors, although only five of these are standard colors, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Let’s discuss the five AKC standard colors and the seven non-standard colors of the Belgian Malinois.


Standard Coat Colors

1.  Fawn

Fawn is the most common coat color for the Mal. It’s essentially a beige or café latte color that can range from light to dark. It covers the whole coat with the exception of the muzzle, eyes, and ears, which are black. As the Mal ages, the color can change over time.

2.  Fawn Sable

Credit: BiancaW, Pixabay

A fawn sable Mal has what at first glance is a darker fawn coat. But “sable” is a difference in the hair strands. They are a light fawn at the roots and gradually get darker toward the tips.

Many Belgian Malinois owners believe that they have a fawn-coated dog, but it’s quite possible that they have a fawn sable dog instead.

3.  Mahogany

Mahogany wood has a deep but rich brownish-red color, which is how you would describe the mahogany coat of this Mal. This coat color is rarer than fawn and can be dark enough that the black muzzle is less noticeable.

4.  Red

belgian malinois dog in the lake
Image Credit: ubaru, Shutterstock

A red coat on a Mal is lighter than mahogany and can range from a light to a slightly deep red. Dogs with a red coat tend to have a black mask on their faces, which includes the muzzle and ears, and this can really stand out against the red.

5.  Red Sable

Like fawn sable, red sable is a dark red coat where the hair strands are red at the base and grow gradually darker to the tips.

The sable coloring can be dark enough that the dog can look almost black by the time that they’ve fully matured. The easiest way to determine this dog’s coloring is in the sunlight.

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Non-standard Coat Colors

6.  Black

black belgian malinois shepherd dog
Image Credit: msgrafixx, Shutterstock

Black Mals are black from head to toe, which makes their black masks nearly invisible. Some of these dogs might have a small white patch on their chest and light brown eyes.

Finding an all-black Mal might be challenging because this is a rare color for this breed.

7.  Brindle

Brindle is a rare coat color for the Mal. The base coat can be red or fawn with black hair that forms a striped pattern. It has often been compared to a tiger’s coat.

It’s rare because it is a genetic trait, and very few breeds have the genes that produce the brindle coat.

8.  Cream

Belgian malinois dog swimming in the pool
Image Credit: NSC Photography, Shutterstock

Cream is rare to find on a Mal. This color is paler than the common fawn but is definitely eye-catching! Cream Mals tend to have the typical black muzzle and eyes and ears lined in black.

9.  Cream Sable

Like fawn and red sable, cream sable has cream at the base of the hair, which darkens to black toward the tip.

The sable coloring is more pronounced on the cream compared to the fawn and red because of the contrast between the light and the dark.

10.  Gray

The gray coloring of this Mal is technically a dilute black and is a rare color for the breed. These dogs are a charcoal gray color that is sometimes considered blue because in certain lights, the gray can look bluish, which is particularly noticeable when they are puppies. Many of these dogs also tend to have gray eyes and noses.

11.  Gray Sable

Gray sable is like other sable coats, with the charcoal base color gradually darkening to black at the tips. The gray sable coat is often confused with that of a gray Mal. This is a rare coat color for the Mal.

12.  Liver

male belgian malinois walking on grass
Image Credit: Piqsels

The liver color in the Mal is actually a dilute black coat. It ranges from cream or yellow to red. The color depends on the amount of red pigment, or pheomelanin, in their coat.

This dilute gene will affect the color of the entire body of the Mal, which means they’ll have liver-colored paw pads, eye rims, lips, and nose. They also tend to have amber-colored eyes.

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What Are Standard & Non-standard Coat Colors?

The AKC lists standard coat colors for all dog breeds, which are the ones that are recognized and conform to the club’s official standards.

The club doesn’t officially recognize colors that are not standard. What this means is that you can enroll your dog into the AKC, but you can’t have your dog compete in official competitions.

Do Puppies Change Color as They Mature?

Belgian Malinois puppies do not change color as they age, and this includes any markings or patterns that they have. The coat might become darker or lighter, but the color itself, as well as any patterns, will remain unchanged for the most part.

Their coat might also thicken and become lustrous and shiny as they mature, but if your Mal puppy is a red sable, they will remain a red sable dog for the rest of their life.

belgian malinois puppy running on grass
Image Credit: Anton Kudryashov, Pexels



The Belgian Malinois can make a wonderful companion for the right owner. They are exceptionally devoted and intelligent but need an experienced owner. They come in 12 colors, but only five of these are AKC standard colors.

Regardless of what color your dog is, they are a gorgeous animal that needs plenty of care, attention, and love from you.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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