Experts fear that Channing Tatum’s ‘Dog’ film could lead to an increase in the number of abandoned Belgian Malinois

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channing tatums dog movie

While moviegoers may be swooning over the four-legged star of Channing Tatum’s ‘Dog,’ experts fear it could lead to an increase in cases of abandoned Belgian Malinois, the breed of dog featured in the film. .

The canine star of the hit film is Lulu, who is played by three different Belgian Malinois. In the feel-good comedy, an army ranger – played by Tatum – is tasked with bringing the military working dog to the Pacific Coast to attend his master’s funeral.

While Lulu is portrayed as lovable, smart, and mischievous, which is true about the breed, Belgian Malinois experts urge moviegoers to do their research before bringing the breed into their homes.

“The average owner shouldn’t have a Belgian Malinois,” Vinnie Somma, dog trainer and owner of Say It Once Dog Training, said today.

Renowned canine behaviorist Vladae Roytapel agreed that although the depiction of Lulu acting “like hell” is reflected in the film, new dog owners of the breed might not realize how difficult the Belgian Malinois can be.

Known for their extreme agility and drive, a Belgian Malinois is considered a high-energy dog ​​breed with an intense focus on work.

Similar in appearance to the German Shepherd and physically packed with muscle, the breed is frequently used as a K9 police dog due to its high drive, highly territorial nature, and craving for mental and physical stimulation.

A Belgian Malinois is considered a specially bred working dog and not suitable for the novice owner, as they require plenty of daily outdoor exercise and mental stimulation. Without proper handling, they can become dangerous.

“If you don’t genetically meet a Belgian Malinois, they’re going to be a liability,” Somma said. “This breed has a huge financial responsibility. The amount of training and the cost of that training is something people have to think about. They are not bred to be standard pets.”

Somma warns moviegoers against being swayed by the well-formed behavior portrayed in the film.

“After $50,000 to $100,000 of training and thousands of hours of training, (the dog) can become that. That’s why the breed is so amazing,” he said.

“(But) the dog does not come to you knowing how to protect itself. Because it is not trained, this protection (instinct) becomes a handicap.”

Abigail Lightning-Bingham, director of Cecil County Animal Services in Maryland, told TODAY that she hopes anyone interested in the breed following the movie ‘Dog’ will do “as much research as possible.”

“As the director of a busy open-entry animal shelter and an experienced owner of Malinois, I can’t help but worry about the future implications for new owners of inexperienced Malinois as a result of movies like this- here,” Lightning-Bingham said.

“Our shelters could very well see an increase in this misunderstood breed, which would require local shelters to find suitable placement.”

Vladae Roytapel agrees that any new Malinois owner should think very carefully before welcoming the breed into their home and should do extensive research beforehand.

“The biggest mistake people make when selecting dog breeds (is) they think every breed of dog is created equal like people,” he said. “They are anticipating behavior that dogs are not designed for and that is causing the problems.”

“Malinois are truly brilliant animals, and with the proper training they make a wonderful addition to a household that can provide a Malinois with work and a real sense of purpose,” Lightning-Bingham summed up.