The 7 Best Dog Foods for Belgian Malinois

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

If you were to look up “High Energy Dog” in the dictionary, you would surely find a picture of the Belgian Malinois.

These highly active intelligent dogs are a favorite of police and rescue departments around the world. They excel at almost everything they try, and they attack life with vigor.

It’s no wonder then that a dog like the Belgian Malinois needs a high-quality dog food rich in protein with the right balance of fat to fuel its relentless zeal for action.

I will discuss the dietary needs of your Malinois further on in the buyers’ guide section, but for those ready to jump right in, let’s get to my top picks.

The 7 Best Dog Foods for Belgian Malinois

Top PicksTop Ingredients
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Dog Food
(Best For Adults)
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
2. Nutro Puppy Lamb & Brown Rice Dog Food
(Best For Puppies)
Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Split Peas, Whole Oatmeal
3. Merrick Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Dog Food 
(Best For Seniors)
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
4. Purina Beyond Ground Entree Wet Dog Food
(Best Wet Meal)
Beef, Beef Broth, Chicken, Liver, Potatoes
5. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
(Best Premium Option)
Whole Mackerel, Whole Herring, Monkfish, Acadian Redfish, Flounder
6. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Dog Food
(Best For Weight Loss)
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas
7. Merrick LID Grain-Free Real Lamb Dog Food
(Best For Allergies)
Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Dog Food

Best Overall, Best For Adults


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,618 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Since Belgian Malinois is a highly active breed that loves to exercise and play, formulas with a special focus on joint and bone health along with the building blocks for strong muscles are preferred. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is almost perfect in this regard. LifeSource Bits, a patented blend of antioxidants, this recipe contains glucosamine, calcium, and phosphorus.

Antioxidants in the formula get rid of the free radicals that harm the immune system and can lead to illness. Your friend will love the kibble shape and the delicious chicken flavor of this recipe, an excellent option for picky eaters.

Analysis: Protein min. 24% | Fat min. 14%, | Fiber max. 5% | Moisture max. 10%

Nutro Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Brown Rice Dog Food

Best For Puppies


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Split Peas, 5. Whole Grain Oatmeal

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,591 kcal
  • Form: Dry

When it comes to the non-raw variety of the best dog foods for Belgian Malinois puppies, Nutro’s Wholesome Essential barely has no competitors. Loaded with lamb proteins and a nutritious, flavorful blend of ingredients, Nutro fulfills the challenging needs of an active, large breed pup. 

A bowl of Nutro around four to five times a day will make sure that your baby doesn’t miss a milestone. What I love about Nutro is their commitment to quality. Every ingredient they use is natural and can be sourced back to actual suppliers.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Dog Food 

Best For Seniors


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Potatoes

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,492 kcal
  • Form: Dry

All those years of running and jumping can take their toll. It is time to switch to dog food that can take better care of your aging buddy. While your dog will get all the micro-ingredients necessary for stronger joints and bones, it also has ingredients to keep its heart and organs healthy. 

These ingredients include glucosamine, chondroitin, and L-carnitine. It is a grain-free recipe, which is perfect for sensitive stomachs, and will prevent a lot of age-related tummy troubles as well.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%

Purina Beyond Natural Pate Ground Entree Wet Dog Food

Best Wet Meal


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Broth, 3. Chicken, 4. Liver, 5. Potatoes

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,223 kcal
  • Form: Wet Food

Fuel the muscles and body of your active Belgian Malinois with the high-protein Purina Beyond Natural Pate Entrée Wet Food. The recipe is full of nutrient-dense ingredients like texas beef, potatoes, chicken, and green beans that digest in an instant. It’s also loaded with proteins that build muscle and hormones, as well as fibrous carbs that offer substantial energy and enhance digestion.

At the same time, the food is extremely delicious and contains beef broth that will drive your dog crazy. It is also fully balanced with vitamins and nutrients, so you can confidently replace it with your dog’s regular dry food. Fillers like corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives are absent from the recipe that reduce the risk of stomach upset and diarrhea.

Analysis: Protein min. 8% | Fat min. 6%, | Fiber max. 1.5% | Moisture max. 78%

My Ollie Lamb Dish

Best Fresh Option


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. butternut squash, 3. lamb liver, 4. kale, 5. rice

  • Life Stage: All
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,804 kcal
  • Form: Frozen

Achieving peak nutrition is now possible with expert nutritionist-developed fresh food from My Ollie. And the secret lies inside the recipe. Each one of their meals is made from human-grade ingredients like lamb meat, cranberries, butternut squash, and chickpeas. The foods are loaded with proteins that support muscle growth, easily-digestible carbs for sustainable energy, and tasty fruits for a dash of micronutrient support.

But that’s not the best part. My Ollie recognizes that each dog is unique and develops a customized diet plan by factoring in their age, breed, activity levels, and health history. What you get is food that’s going to make your Belgian Malinois more energetic, vibrant, and healthier in the long run. If you can afford the slightly premium cost, it’s hands-down the best food you can offer to your canine.

Analysis: Protein min. 10% | Fat min. 7%, | Fiber max. 2% | Moisture max. 74%

ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Premium Option

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Whole Mackerel, 2. Whole Herring, 3. Monkfish, 4. Acadian Redfish, 5. Flounder

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,900 kcal
  • Form: Dry

If you’ve got the budget to purchase an expensive dog food, choose Orijen Six Fish Dog Food for your Belgian Malinois. This premium-end dog food is based on the wild diet of wolves and contains approximately 85% animal ingredients. Most of this includes seafood like whole mackerel, herring, hake, redfish, and many more.

It’s extremely rich in protein at 38% content that builds more muscle and converts into more energy. Your dog will also derive fuel from various vegetable-based carbs like lentils and peas that are easy on the stomach. The food is perfectly safe for sensitive or allergic dogs, and is coated with freeze-dried meat for enhanced flavor. It’s also caloric-dense and perfect for keeping up with the daily adventures of the energetic Belgian Malinois. 

Analysis: Protein (min.) 38% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 12%

American Journey Active Life Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food

Best Budget Option

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Rice Bran, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,476 kcal
  • Form: Dry

American Journey is another wonderful meal for your Belgian Malinois. This recipe of chicken and brown rice is a great option for picky eaters. Not only is brown rice a healthy grain full of essential nutrients for your baby, but this formula also contains a blend of powerful antioxidants to make sure your mal can enjoy its meal without any uncomfortable consequences. 

There is plenty of Omega fatty acids for healthy joints, coat, and skin. Plus, your mal pal gets enough DHA to stay smart and sharp well into its later years.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dog Food

Best For Weight Gain

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Tapioca

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,427 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Instinct Raw Boost is a healthy option for Malinois on the BARF diet. It is a delicious, high-protein formula that also contains enough fats to keep your baby’s energy levels high all day. This freeze-dried recipe is an excellent option for extra active and energetic Belgian Malinois.

The protein boost comes from the meat of cage-free chicken and delicious chicken meal.  The recipe also contains a blend of probiotics to improve digestion and the immune system of your maligator.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 20.5% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 9%

Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Grain-Free Dog Food

Best For Weight Loss

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,155 kcal
  • Form: Dry

As the name implies, the mission of Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous is to create the gold standard in dog food. This recipe contains sweet potato and chicken and is indeed their finest. This lower-calorie recipe enables your dog to eat a healthy portion without packing on the pounds.

Each bowl of Solid Gold contains the right amounts of calories and nutrients without ingredients that can lead to weight gain. An excellent option for those Malinois’ that aren’t as active as is typical for the breed.

They will still get all the proteins they need along with essential omega fatty acids to ensure a gorgeous coat and skin. With around twenty superfoods and zero filler ingredients, Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous is also a tummy-friendly option for sensitive dogs.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 6.5% | Fiber (max.) 9.5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Zignature Lamb LID Grain-Free Dog Food

Best For Picky Eaters

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chickpeas, 4. Peas, 5. Sunflower Oil

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per cup): 393 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Zignature is another premium brand known for its high-quality ingredients and nutritional value. This limited ingredient diet with farm-raised lamb will give your pal a delicious boost of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Lamb is a single source of protein, which greatly reduces the chance of allergies and sensitivities.

This hypoallergenic, low glycemic recipe is free of grains and any kind of artificial additives. You will see a visible difference in your baby’s overall energy level and mood. If you want only the best for your Malinois, you don’t have to think twice about this one.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Merrick LID Grain-Free Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Best For Allergies

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,507 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Merrick’s Limited Ingredient Diet is a great recipe with quality proteins from a novel source, i.e., lamb. It is an option for those that may be allergic to poultry-based diets– which is not uncommon in some larger breeds. Aside from novel proteins from a single source, you get easily digestible carbs from non-grain sources such as potatoes. 

It is a lightweight LID recipe that is perfect for sensitive tummies and dogs that have gluten intolerance. Not to mention, you also get a good blend of fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 23% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 4.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%

Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Best For Picky Eaters

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken With Ground Bone, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Chicken Gizzard, 4. Pumpkin Seed, 5. Organic

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,420 kcal
  • Form: Freeze-dried

Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties are another delicious option for a mal on a raw diet. As yummy as any premium dog treat, these are a great choice for picky eaters or dogs that are having trouble with processed to raw transition. 

It is a high-protein meal with a single protein source, i.e., free-range chicken. Every other ingredient used in this recipe is certified organic. There is a healthy microorganism culture to take care of your pal’s gut flora.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 48% | Fat (min.) 28% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 5%

Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Dog Food

Best For Active Dogs

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice, 3. Whole Grain Wheat, 4. Soybean Meal, 5. Beef Fat

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,038 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Belgian Malinois are incredibly hardworking dogs, and it’s only fair that they get an equally amazing diet like Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Dog Food. The formula is specifically crafted for working breeds that burn through a ton of energy. It contains meat proteins like chicken to support muscle growth, and fibrous grains such as rice and wheat to keep your dog running for the whole day.

Besides that, your dog’s eyesight and fur will also become healthier as the food is enriched with vitamin A and omega fatty acids. Live probiotics are also present in the food that promote gut flora and improve digestive efficiency. Lastly, the food also features shredded pieces of chicken meat, so your dog enjoys each meal even more and receives a protein boost.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 12%


Buyers Guide

Know Your Malinois

Spend a day with a Belgian Malinois, and you know it is not an average dog. It is more active than most dogs, and it loves to play.

That means their dietary needs are going to be above average as well.

A Different Breed

A Belgian Malinois is a muscular dog, which is also highly active. That means it needs a high protein diet to keep those muscles flexing – plus, a fat-rich food to ensure higher energy levels all day. The thing about this unique combo is that you need to be more careful about their nutritional needs. Every calorie matters, and every ingredient can make a difference.

That said, it is best to keep your mal puppies on large breed puppy food because it is well suited to their growth requirements. It has all the calories to keep them playful and active. Your baby will hit all the growth milestones without the risk of malnutrition or obesity.

Daily Calories and Meal Requirement

The number of calories your dog consumes depends mainly on how active your dog is. While Belgian Malinois dogs are usually active, it may not be accurate for every mal. Also, it is not unusual for a mal to lose interest in activities with age. You need to monitor their activity and energy levels and adjust the calories accordingly.

As for daily feeding, divide a puppy’s food in four to six meals a day, but make it three to four meals for adults. If your dog isn’t finishing its food, then you need to reduce the portion size while increasing the number of meals per day.

For overweight mals, it is best to switch formulas rather than reducing the amount of food they eat every day. Reducing the amount of food you feed may cause nutritional deficiency, while unique weight control formulas reduce weight without cutting down proteins and other essential nutrients.

The Good Stuff

Here is a detailed breakdown of essentials to look for in your Belgian Malinois dog food.

Animal Protein – Look for animal-based proteins as the first ingredient on the label. Ideally, the food should have over 35% protein from real meat. By-products and meals are never the best sources of protein. If budget is not a problem, look for novel protein sources such as Bison, Rabbit, or Venison.

Fat – Fat doesn’t sound so good when we talk about the human diet, but dogs have slightly different needs than us. Fat is what converts in energy for dogs. So, for active breeds like Belgian Malinois, look for food with more than 10% fat. Good fats are also essential for better joint mobility and healthy skin.

Greens – By greens, I mean fruits as well as vegetables. You may be surprised to know that the ancestral diet of dogs included lots of fruits and greens. They are the best source of vitamins and minerals and are essential for healthy bones, brain, and vision. Not to mention, they are rich in antioxidants that keep the immune system running.

Probiotics – Many people ask me if they should include probiotic supplements to their dog’s diet. It is a good idea for a dog with an extremely sensitive tummy. Otherwise, dog food with probiotics is enough to keep tummy troubles at bay. Since mals are prone to allergies, it is a good idea to go for a dog food that is good for the gut.

Essential Compounds– Essential nutrients are limited to protein, vitamins, and minerals. There are certain compounds such as glucosamine and chondroitin that ensure not only healthy growth but also prevent common health issues such as hip dysplasia, cardiovascular

What to Avoid?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of low-quality dog foods out there, filled with ingredients that are bound to create trouble for your mal pal. They have ingredients that include fillers, which have zero nutritional value but are also known allergens.

Ingredients to watch out for include:

  • Common grains like wheat, soy, corn, and white rice
  • By-products and processed meals
  • Artificial additives such as flavor and colorings

You should always make it a point to purchase high-quality dog food for your mal. Low-quality foods may come at a lower price, but the long-term impact on your baby’s health can cost you and your mal. No point saving money if you will end up paying it to a vet.


What does Belgian Malinois eat?

A Belgian Malinois is a medium to large-sized breed and requires plenty of meat. Since it is also an active breed, feed it a higher amount of proteins, around 25 to 30% protein. Plus, there should be more than 10 percent fat to ensure adequate energy levels.

How much should Belgian Malinois eat?

A puppy six to eight weeks needs four to six meals a day. At six months, two to three meals a day. Adults should be fed once or twice a day. All these meals should amount to 1 to 1.5 cups a day. However, you need to adjust the quantity according to your dog’s appetite while keeping an eye on its weight.

How much exercise does Belgian Malinois need?

A herding dog, the Malinois is a highly active and should be exercised at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a day. In addition to 90 minutes of exercise, your Malinois also needs plenty of mental stimulation to stay in the best mood and health.

Is a raw food diet good for Belgian Malinois?

Raw food can be a healthier option for any dog, especially for an active breed like the mal. The raw diet is close to the natural ancestral diet of dogs. Belgian Malinois tend to like the taste of raw food, and properly prepared, it is safe for them. However, you need to choose only the premium options as low-quality raw food can carry many health risks.

Is the Belgian Malinois a large-sized dog?

A Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized dog but considered a large-sized more than often due to its sturdy athletic build. Interestingly, it is often mistaken for a German Shepherd.

Males can grow up to 24 to 26 inches tall. Female adults are usually 22 to 24 inches tall. Females have a narrower, more slender structure compared to males.

At what stage should Belgian Malinois start with adult dog food?

At the age of one year, a puppy starts turning into an adult dog. However, large breeds often take longer. You should switch to adult dog food at the age of 13 to 18 months.

How much should a healthy Belgian Malinois weigh?

An adult male Belgian Malinois weighs typically between 50 and 80 pounds while females can weigh 40 to 60 pounds. However, the optimal weight depends mostly on your dog’s size.

Can Belgian Malinois get obese?

Obesity is not so common in active breeds like a Malinois, but if not exercised or appropriately trained, or when given an unhealthy diet that is not balanced, there are risks of obesity. Obesity is a serious concern since it can cause major heart issues and joint problems in dogs.

What health issues are common among Belgian Malinois’?

Belgian Malinois are susceptible to health issues like dental problems, obesity, bacterial or viral infections, bloat, epilepsy, and hip, and elbow dysplasia. Retinal atrophy, cataracts, and hemangiosarcoma are also among these issues.

Is grain-free dog food good for Belgian Malinois?

According to AKC, grains aren’t exactly bad for your dog. However, grains can cause allergies for a sensitive Belgian Malinois. Some grains are also a source of unhealthy carbs that can increase your dog’s weight. There are much better alternative carb sources out there. That is why a grain-free dog food with greener carbs is a good idea.

Is the Malinois a picky eater?

The Malinois is not known for being a picky eater. However, feeding your mal table scraps can make them picky.

Can Belgian Malinois’ diet affect its temperament?

Just like us, their diet can affect their mood. If you are feeding your baby healthy food with no additives, you set them up for success. Occasional treats of premium quality can improve their mood.

Why is my Belgian Malinois lazy?

The Belgian Malinois is a highly active breed. If your mal is not active, there may be an underlying health issue keeping your baby down. Consult with your veterinarian about possible health issues. And, if needed, switch to a food with a better protein and fat ratio.

How long does Belgian Malinois live?

A healthy Belgian Malinois has an average life span of 12 to 14 years. However, that takes a proper diet and lifestyle. Make sure you are feeding your dog premium dog food and engaging it in a regular workout to ensure a healthy life.