What you need to know about the Belgian Malinois

Master assassins John Wick and Sophia crossing a desert with a pair of Belgian Malinoises. The dogs are a mainstay in the May installment, John Wick 3: PARABELLUM (Photo contributed, Lionsgate Studios)

See those refined-looking dogs as Halle Berry’s companions in John Wick 3?

Those are Belgian Malinois, one of the most athletic dogs around.

Halle Berry stars as ‘Sophia’ in JOHN WICK: 3 – PARABELLUM. (Photo contributed, Mark Rogers, Lionsgate Studios)

So how did Halle make those dogs effortlessly turn from companions to vicious protectors for some of the best action sequences seen with canines?

“It was about two or three hours a day, helping as a dog trainer, getting to know them, having them get to know me, learning their personalities. We learned what tricks the dogs can do. Some dogs were good at just sitting on their mark and looking pretty and others wanted to jump off cars, through windows. So, it was just about learning what each dog can do and how I could command them to do it,’’ said the Hollywood actress.

Game of Thrones wolf trainer Andrew Simpson was the dog coordinator on John Wick 3, who oversaw Berry working for months with 5 Belgian Malinoises.

So, what’s there to know about this fabulous dog? BUZZ presents 10 interesting facts about the Belgian Malinois:

Sophia, one of Wick’s only remaining “friends”, considers his plea for help after he is declared ‘excommunicado’ in John Wick: Chapter 3 – PARABELLUM (Photo contributed, Lionsgate Studios)

1. The Belgian Malinois originated from the Flemish city of Malines where it was bred to be a herding dog that could also guard livestock.

2. A medium-sized dog, it weighs between 40 to 75 pounds depending on its gender.

3. A purebred Malinois tends to be a base fawn colour to mahogany and tan with a black mask and black ears.

4. The Belgian Malinois is fine-boned, more elegant than bulky. As an adult it stands between 22 to 26 inches and is squarely proportioned.

5. It has a short-haired double coat and is easy to groom but does shed.

6. Belgian Malinoises are very protective, alert, intelligent and confident dogs.

Sophia’s watchful companion anticipates an intruder in this scene from John Wick: Chapter 3 (Photo contributed, Lionsgate Studios)

7.  A “Mal” as it is affectionately called is extremely active, strong and agile.  It has a high work-drive and requires plenty of stimulation and exercise.

8. The Belgian Malinois is used by the Oketz, the K-9 unit of the Israel Defence Force.

9. United States Navy SEALs used a Belgian Malinois named Cairo in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

10. Its average lifespan is between 14-16 years and it is prone to hip dysplasia. It is also prone to eye disease.

See the trailer here: