Belgian Malinois Howling: Find Out Why and What It Means

Howling is a common Belgian Malinois behavior, however, when the behavior occurs frequently, it can be concerning and in some cases problematic to the people around.

So what does Belgian Malinois howling mean? And what can you do about it?

We’ll delve into the various reasons why Belgian Malinois howl and how to address this behavior when it becomes a problem.

What does it mean when a Belgian Malinois howls?

Belgian Malinois howling happens as a form of communication due to attention-seeking behavior, separation anxiety, frustration, boredom, fear, territorial behavior, and an underlying medical problem. The specific reason for howling varies between individual Belgian Malinois and their specific circumstances.

By understanding the meaning behind your Belgian Malinois’s howling, a solution to this common behavior problem can be put in place to address it.

Belgian Malinois howling

Can Belgian Malinois howl?

Yes, Belgian Malinois can howl. Howling is a natural behavior in dogs, and it is not specific to any particular breed, including Belgian Malinois. While some individual Belgian Malinois may howl more than others, it is important to note that howling is part of a dog’s communication behavior.

If your Belgian Malinois howls, it is usually nothing to worry about, and it is a natural part of their behavior.  It is therefore normal for the Belgian Malinois to howl. Howling is a natural and common behavior for Belgian Malinois that serves various purposes, such as communication with other dogs, humans, and other animals.

However, excessive or prolonged howling that is out of the ordinary for your dog may indicate an underlying medical or behavioral problem that needs to be addressed.

Belgian Malinois howling

Belgian Malinois howling is a vocal form of communication much like barking or whining, used to express a range of feelings, including excitement, distress, and warning, as well as in response to various stimuli.

Understanding the reasons behind your Belgian Malinois’s howling behavior is important in addressing it effectively and ensuring your dog’s well-being.

Reasons for Belgian Malinois howling

Attention seeking behavior

Howling can be a way for Belgian Malinois to get their owner’s attention, either for affection or to get something they want, such as food or a toy.

Belgian Malinois naturally crave attention from both their owners and when they don’t receive enough of it, they might turn to howling to get it.

This can be especially true for Belgian Malinois that are left alone for long periods of time and it occurs due to being anxious or lonely without their owner’s presence.

Additionally, attention-seeking behavior can be reinforced if a Belgian Malinois succeeds in getting their owner’s attention through barking or howling. 

For example, if a Belgian Malinois howls, and their owner immediately comes to them and offers attention, the Belgian Malinois may learn that this behavior is an effective way to get what they want.

An attention-seeking Belgian Malinois will also cry, paw, jump up, or follow you everywhere in order to get your attention.

Related: Why is my Belgian Malinois so clingy? Dealing with an overly needy Belgian Malinois

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common cause of howling in Belgian Malinois. It is a condition in which a Belgian Malinois becomes anxious or distressed when their owner leaves them alone, and they may also present a variety of behaviors as a result, including barking or howling.

Separation anxiety in Belgian Malinois can stem from several triggers, like a change in their owner’s routine, a relocation, or the loss of a loved one.

It’s also frequently seen in Belgian Malinois with a history of trauma or instability, or those separated from their mother and littermates at an early age.

Some Belgian Malinois are very susceptible to separation anxiety because they are people-oriented dogs that thrive on human companionship. This means that they love being close to their human owners and family.

When separated from their owners, they tend to suffer from separation anxiety by feeling insecure. 

This is accompanied by other behaviors that include pacing, whining, and destructive behavior such as digging, or defecation in the house.


Howling by your Belgian Malinois can be brought on by frustration. A Belgian Malinois may howl if they are prevented from doing something they enjoy, such as playing with other dogs or exploring their surroundings, or if they are unable to get something they want, such as a toy that is out of reach.

A Belgian Malinois may engage in a number of undesirable behaviors in times of frustration, including barking or howling as a coping mechanism.

It is important to recognize and address the root cause of the frustration in order to prevent or resolve this behavior.

See Also: Belgian Malinois crying: Here’s why and what to do


When Belgian Malinois howl, boredom can be a common cause. Belgian Malinois need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy and if they don’t get enough of it, they might get bored and engage in negative behaviors like howling to pass the time.

When Belgian Malinois are left alone for extended periods of time without anything to do, boredom can be particularly common. 

Belgian Malinois who lack adequate room to roam and explore, or who lack access to toys or other forms of enrichment, may also experience boredom.

Underlying medical problem

In some cases, howling may be a sign of an underlying medical problem that is causing discomfort, pain, or a medical problem affecting their behavior.

If your Belgian Malinois is howling due to illness, you may also notice other signs of sickness such as loss of appetite, weakness, or signs of pain. 

Look out for these symptoms and more unusual behavior changes which can be indicative that your Belgian Malinois is unwell.

Fear and anxiety

Fear and anxiety also cause a Belgian Malinois to howl. A Belgian Malinois may feel anxious due to several reasons including the fear of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms, separation anxiety, or unfamiliar situations or environments.

Belgian Malinois fear and anxiety can have many different root causes, including past trauma or abuse, a lack of socialization or training, and adjustments to their environment or routine. 

When a Belgian Malinois is fearful or anxious, they may howl as a way to cope with their emotions.

To stop this behavior, it is important to identify the source of the fear in order to put in place an appropriate solution.

Other fearful and anxious behaviors include pacing, panting, shaking, and hiding which may also be present in addition to howling. 

Territorial behavior

Territorial behavior is a common reason why Belgian Malinois howl. Belgian Malinois are naturally territorial, and they may bark or howl to protect their territory from perceived threats like other animals or strange people.

Territorial behavior can be particularly prevalent in Belgian Malinois that have been raised to be watchdogs for their owners or trained to defend their homes. 

A Belgian Malinois that is showing territorial behavior may bark, howl, wag its tail, and exhibit other actions meant to dissuade or repel the perceived threat, such as growling, lunging, or showing teeth.

Related: Belgian Malinois crying and howling: Here’s what it means

Belgian Malinois howling in sleep, should I be worried?

Belgian Malinois howling in sleep happens due to dreaming, pain, separation anxiety, underlying medical conditions, and aging. It is not uncommon for a Belgian Malinois to howl, bark or cry in their sleep, and in most cases, the behavior is not a cause for concern, however, it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

This behavior can be unsettling for a dog owner to witness, as it may appear as though their dog is in distress.

Do not do anything to your dog when they are howling, barking or crying as they sleep. This is because waking them up is disruptive and will startle and confusing for them. 

It is best to let them sleep and allow them to process their dreams naturally even if they seem to be having a nightmare. However, continue monitoring your Belgian Malinois’s behavior.

Waking them up is necessary for certain circumstances if the howling, barking or crying are becoming a problem such as causing a disturbance, if you notice fast breathing, panting, or if they are having trouble breathing. 

In this case, wake them up gently by calling their name until they wake up. Do not touch your Belgian Malinois during this time because you might startle them and they might bite you. 

Belgian Malinois puppy howling

Belgian Malinois puppies, like many other breeds, may howl for various reasons as a form of communication to express their needs or desires. 

This could include howling to get attention, to signal hunger, or to let their owner know they need to go outside to relieve themselves, boredom, fear, separation anxiety, medical problems, and as a normal part of their social behavior when playing with other dogs.

Therefore it is normal for a Belgian Malinois puppy to howl. Howling is a natural and common behaviors for Belgian Malinois that serve various purposes, such as communication with other dogs and humans.

However, howling can be a sign problem for a sign of either a medical or behavioral problem which needs to be addressed.

What to do if your Belgian Malinois is howling

There are a number of actions you can take to manage and stop your Belgian Malinois from howling if it is becoming a problem. This includes:

Identifying the underlying reason

Determining the reason for your Belgian Malinois’s howling is essential to solving the problem. 

Examine various factors such as your Belgian Malinois’s, age, background, and environment as well as any changes or stressors that may be contributing to the behavior.

Provide mental and physical exercise

A well-rounded routine of physical and mental activities is important for the well-being of your Belgian Malinois. 

Ensure that your Belgian Malinois is getting enough exercise, playtime, and training, and consider incorporating interactive toys or games to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Set clear boundaries through training

Establish strict rules and boundaries for your Belgian Malinois, and be unwavering in their enforcement. 

This could help your Belgian Malinois understand what behaviors are deemed appropriate especially when they use howling to demand attention.

When to seek help 

Consult your veterinarian or a trained dog trainer if you are unsure of the cause of your Belgian Malinois’s howling if you suspect that the behavior stems from an underlying medical issue, or if the behavior continues to be a problem despite your efforts. 

They will assist in identifying the underlying cause and offer advice on how to address the behavior.

It is particularly important to see a veterinarian for your Belgian Malinois’s barking or howling. This includes:

  • A sudden change of behavior: If howling is sudden or unusual, it could be an indication of an underlying medical condition or psychological problem.  Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your Belgian Malinois, and perform necessary diagnostic tests to identify the reason for the behavior and provide a solution.
  • The behavior is accompanied by other symptoms: When howling is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or other behavior changes could indicate a medical problem that needs to be addressed.
  • The behavior becomes problematic: If your Belgian Malinois’s howling becomes an issue for neighbors, other people, or even for you, it is important to seek assistance. A veterinarian or professional Belgian Malinois trainer will offer guidance on stopping or minimizing the behavior.

What not to do when your Belgian Malinois is howling

Avoid the following when you see your Belgian Malinois howling:

Yelling or punishing them: Avoid yelling or punishing your Belgian Malinois when they howl. This form of discipline will only increase their stress and anxiety, leading to even more howling. 

Instead, keep calm and use positive reinforcement methods for good behavior to encourage them to stop.

Ignoring the behavior: It might seem like an easy fix to ignore your Belgian Malinois’s howling, but doing so only reinforces the behavior. 

One of the reasons Belgian Malinois howl is to get their owners’ attention and they are more likely to persist if they are not successful. It is important to address the behavior by implementing an appropriate solution.

Encouraging the behavior: Resist encouraging the behavior by not giving in to their demands by use of howling to get attention. 

In the long run, this can reinforce the behavior and make it more challenging to stop. Instead, use or get training for your Belgian Malinois to better teach them the appropriate behavior.

Takeaway: Belgian Malinois howling 

Howling is a common Belgian Malinois behavior, but they can become problematic if it is excessive or inappropriate.

A number of factors cause this behavior, therefore, to stop your Belgian Malinois from howling, it is important to identify the root cause of the behavior and to implement a solution that addresses it.

Remember, if your Belgian Malinois’s howling are causing concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian or a professional Belgian Malinois trainer for assistance on how to address the behavior.

At this point, you’ve just scratched the surface of the fascinating world of Belgian Malinois. But there’s so much more to discover! Are you curious to learn about the different Belgian Malinois colors, Belgian Malinois ear cropping styles, or perhaps you’re eager to uncover other aspects of Belgian Malinois behavior?

Our resources have you covered! Keep reading to reading our in-depth guide on Belgian Malinois and more information that will take you on a journey of knowledge and help you become a true Belgian Malinois expert.

From training tips to health care advice and everything in between, we’ve curated a collection of valuable resources to empower you as a Belgian Malinois owner. So, don’t stop here – let’s delve deeper and unlock the secrets of these majestic giants together!