I’m worried about the future of the Malinois*. On June 26 MGM will release the movie Max and I hope it tanks. I really do.
Movies can influence dog choice and the upcoming release of this movie threatens to make the Malinois the trendy dog to have; this effect can be felt 10 years after a movie’s release (Ghirlanda 2014). To make things worse, dog popularity isn’t affected by health or temperament (Ghirlanda 2013); people aren’t choosing a ‘movie’ dog because it fits with their lifestyle but simply because it’s trendy.
The disregard for temperament by trend-driven buyers will result in great misery for the Malinois. This is not a dog that will fit into your lifestyle; this is a dog you get to fit into its lifestyle. Even those who own and love this variant will admit they are difficult and challenging to own. They bite; if it moves they chase and bite it, if it doesn’t move they bite it just in case it might move. They require prodigious amounts of exercise and could tire out an elite Ethiopian marathoner. They are intelligent and highly motivated; but intelligence and motivation is good if you want to do an IronMan triahlon and learn a second language. It’s a curse if you are stuck alone with nothing to do. For a Malinois, a normal pet life is torture. And you can be sure he’ll make it torture for you too. And did I mention they bite?
People will watch Max, get a Malinois and expect to own the “Air Jordan of Dogs” but that’s movie magic and the work of 5 professionally trained dogs. Instead of Air Jordan of Dogs people will get this:
So I want this movie to fail because if it doesn’t too many good dogs will suffer the curse of popularity.
- Leader walks first/pack nonsense is another reason I want t his movie to fail
- The High Price of (Breed) Fame
- Going to Watch Max the Movie?
- Note to the American Public: Belgian Malinois, Look Don’t Touch
- It’s Just Like a German Shepherd, right?
- Most of the world views the Malinois as one of the 4 varieties of Belgian Shepherds. The AKC considers it a breed and calls it “Belgian Malinois”; I consider the arbitrary reduction in genetic diversity a crime and refuse to use the AKC name.
Ghirlanda S, Acerbi A, & Herzog H (2014). Dog movie stars and dog breed popularity: a case study in media influence on choice. PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: 25208271
Ghirlanda S, Acerbi A, Herzog H, & Serpell JA (2013). Fashion vs. function in cultural evolution: the case of dog breed popularity. PloS one, 8 (9) PMID: 24040341