Breed of dog that killed baby Elle Doherty as police say 'no criminal offences'

(Left) A general image of a Belgian Malinois dog (right) Elle Doherty
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo/West Midlands Police)

The breed of dog which killed a seven-month-old baby girl has been shared by police. Elle Doherty died after the family pet inflicted fatal injuries at a home in Coventry.

It happened at around 3pm on Sunday, June 16. West Midlands Police said the dog, which was later destroyed, was registered as a Belgian Malinois.

No criminal offences were believed to have taken place during the incident. The animal was removed from an address on Shorncliffe Road immediately after the ordeal.

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Belgian Malinois dogs are not part of the banned breeds list in the UK. Describing common traits of the breed, Hill's Pet Food states: "The Belgian Malinois excels not only in herding, but also in protection and law enforcement; drug, bomb, and gas detection; search and rescue; tracking; obedience; sledding; agility; and therapy assistance to disabled, ill or elderly people.

"This dog is demanding and needs an experienced owner. A wide range is seen in temperament and aggressiveness. They want nothing more than to be with their family, which makes them unsuitable as a kennel dog."

It is against the law to own a Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino or a Fila Brasileiro, but owning a Belgian Malinois is legal. A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said of the tragedy: "Following a detailed investigation into the circumstances of the death of a baby who tragically died after being bitten by a pet dog at a home in Coventry, detectives are now satisfied that there have been no criminal offences.

"We were called to a property at Shorncliffe Road shortly after 3pm on Sunday. Together with our ambulance colleagues we arrived within minutes. Elle Doherty, aged seven months, had received serious injuries to her head after being bitten by the family’s dog inside the home.

"Elle received treatment at the scene by paramedics before being rushed to hospital for further treatment. Tragically, she died a short time later. Our thoughts remain with her family at this devastating time.

"The pet dog, registered as a Belgian Malinois, was removed from the home on Sunday and humanely destroyed. We have updated Elle’s family, and a file is now being prepared for the Coroner.

"Our thoughts remain with the family at this tragic time, and they have now asked to be left to grieve in private."