Responsible Rescuers Save A Dog
Responsible Breeders Preserve A Breed
Responsible Owners Sustain our Right to Own All Dogs
The Belgian Malinois is a very versatile breed originally used as a herding dog. Over time they expanded to uses in protection and scent detection. The Standard Poodle is traditionally a hunting dog, but they excel at training in any discipline due to their intelligence. The question is never "can the breed do it?" The question is whether you have picked the right dog personality for the job. There is as much diversity within the breed as there is across all breeds. Thus, a Poodle can absolutely be a working dog and a Malinois can absolutely be a pet.
The genetic diversity of dog breeds is very important. Maintaining proper structure and health in spite of the changing (and subjectively interpreted) breed standards can be a challenge. I believe that form follows function, so if a dog properly built for its job then it will be the best representative. It should be the goal of every breeder to merge show and working lines to produce beautiful dogs that can perform their job. I subscribe to Helen King's structural teaching. That being said, companionship is just as much a function as running, jumping, retrieving, hunting, and protection, so good temperament is vital to all dog breeds. Socialization, as Dr. Ian Dunbar points out, is the most critical training a puppy can receive. Some dogs will excel at different things. You should look for the dog that's best for you.
I train my dogs in Rally, Agility, Search and Rescue, Therapy, dock diving, Barnhunt, Nosework. Phew! Sounds like a lot, huh? Some things we title in, some things we compete in, and some things we just train in right now. I am dedicated to the many aspects of the breed that keep them working and healthy, including minimal vaccinations, proper nutrition, and exercise. Positive training methods produce the best results so I highly recommend Karen Pryor's Clicker Training as a fundamental tool, but there are lots of methods to train the behaviors that you want and you need to find the one that works for you and your dog. If you have bad timing, Clicker training is NOT for you. I don't use e-collar or prong collar as part of my training.
All dogs need a job to remain happy and healthy, but a job can be as easy as a hiking companion or as hard as search and rescue. Active dogs are happy dogs, and tired dogs won't chew the furniture. If you want a dog to fend for itself with minimal interaction and no guidance, get a cat. It will be easier on your stuff. On the other hand, if you are willing to learn how to handle your dog then even a novice can train a Malinois. If you don't feel like putting in the effort and time then you shouldn't bother getting a Poodle. Both of these breeds are fantastic for the right owner, and disasters for the wrong one.
"The only thing two dog trainers can agree on is that the third dog trainer is wrong." -Unknown
"The only person nuttier than a dog breeder is a dog rescuer." - Me
Currently in New Jersey, USA