Pet Connection: Meet Earl

Actually, you probably already have.

This week’s Pet Connection is a little different than most — because the Belgian Malinois, the breed of dog that’s taking the world of K9 law enforcement work by storm, is a breed a little different than most.

Earl, who just retired as one of the Fargo police force’s most decorated dogs, as well as one of its best-known canine ambassadors to outreach with students at area public schools, is a Belgian Malinois. He’s not up for adoption, since he’s going to remain with Lt. Vinson as a pet now that he’s retired.

The new police puppy joining the force is also a Malinois, a young dog named Blue. He’ll join the other other Belgian Malinois who remain on the Fargo city police force. More and more often, law enforcement agencies are moving to Malinois from the more traditional German Shepherd K9s.

Between their high-profile jobs,  good looks and obvious intelligence, this may have you wondering if a Malinois is the right kind of dog for you to adopt. We asked Earl and his partner, Lieutenant George Vinson, to join the KVRR Morning Show’s Emily Welker in-studio to talk about what you need to know about this high-energy, highly intelligent breed.

Vinson explained that the breed has some very specific needs, first and foremost an owner who’s going to be able to keep them busy. Malinois are high-drive as well as being high-energy, meaning you need to keep them occupied and working — something he does with Earl all the time both on the job and at home. If you don’t, the dog will find ways to keep themselves busy– sometimes at your expense. Earl will sometimes fetch objects off the kitchen counter at home to bring to Vinson if there’s no other way to entertain himself. Malinois are also a relatively large, strong, and fast dog, meaning an owner will need to have plenty of space for the dog to get exercise.

While all of these attributes may sound daunting — and indeed, may not be the easiest characteristics with which to get a first-time dog owner started — they can be incredibly rewarding.

“I’ve had dogs pretty much all my life, and this breed has been the most unique, in that I’ve been able to it seems connect with this breed quite a bit, with Earl. And the bond that we have built through the last decade is  unlike any other I’ve had,” said Vinson.

Do your homework by talking with your family veterinarian, reputable breeders, canine rescue workers and other Malinois owners to find out if this is the breed that’s right for you!


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