Belgian Tervuren versus German Shepherd (A comparison)

This blog post will discuss most of the important distinctions between the German Shepherd and the Belgian Tervuren. Relevant topics like descriptions of both breeds will also be covered. 

Belgian Tervuren versus German Shepherd

Both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Tervuren have pointed ears, pointed nose, and they are also roughly the same shape. Some would even have trouble trying to distinguish which dog is which because they almost look identical. This is because both breeds were developed to do the same job of herding livestock. 

The Belgian Tervuren is actually only a variety of the Belgian Shepherd that originated in Belgium. It is one of the only four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd which include the Malinois, Greonendael, and the Laekenois. 

There are interesting differences between Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherds such as the countries of origin, body shape, coat colours, standing poses, and temperaments mainly. 

The Belgian Tervuren 

The Belgian Tervuren, or simply the Tervuren is a medium-sized dog breed that originated in Belgium. This dog is one of the four varieties of the original dog breed of Belgian Shepherd. The other varieties of the Belgian Shepherd  are Malinois, Greonendael, and Laekenois. 

Among all the shepherd dog breeds, the body shape of the Belgian Tervuren is unique in that it is square-shaped with a length that is equal to its height. A purebred male Tervuren should measure between 61 and 66 centimetres while a female should be around 56 – 61 centimetres (22 – 24 inches) as their heights at withers. The weight of a female could range from 25 – 30 kilograms while a male would be between 29 – 34 kilograms. The muzzle is mostly darkened or blackened, and the ears are erect.

The unique appearance of the Tervuren is accompanied with the presence of some extra-long hairs around the neck, which is more like a mane than not. The purebred Belgian Tervuren dog is available in mahogany colouration with a significant overlay of black colour. However, the colourations could vary depending on the standards stipulated in different kennel clubs.

The Belgian Tervuren is a highly active and hardworking animal. As a matter of fact, they tend to be destructive and/or hyperactive when they are not utilized enough by their owners or when they do not spend enough of the enormous amount of energy they need to be let out. In other words, they have a high energy requirement and as owners of such dog breeds, it is your responsibility to use your dog in order so it uses up the energy it should use. These dogs form serious bonds with the owners and are very protective of their owners.

The German Shepherd

In terms of appearance, German Shepherds are medium to large sized working dogs that are known for their loyalty and devotedness to their owners. They are also perfect for house tasks and guard duties because of this obedience that is hardwired into their systems. In fact, historical narratives will tell you that they have been employed as service dogs, police dogs, military dogs, etc.

The German Shepherds are also among the top ten breeds of dogs in the United States of America and one of the world’s most recognized dog breeds. These dogs are very active and require their owners to keep them busy. They like to be busy learning new things, engaging in activities, protecting their owners, and performing other tasks. 

If you spend too much time away from home, then these dogs are not for you. If this is the case, chances are they develop negative behaviors such as chewing, barking, and digging holes. German Shepherds require their owners for them to engage in activities such as walking them in parks where they can see other dogs because they need to be socialized at an early age so that they can mix up with other dogs.

They are also fantastic watchdogs and are wary of strangers. If trained at an early age, German Shepherds are great with children and other pets as well. They make excellent family dogs.

The Differences between the German Shepherd and the Belgian Tervuren 

Country of Origin

The first salient difference between these two dog breeds is their country of origin. From its name, the German Shepherd may be thought of as a dog that came from Germany. Well, it actually originated in the Alsace region of France. As a matter of fact, some breeders refer to these dogs as “Alsatian Shepherds” or simply “Alsatians”. 

The Belgian Tervuren, on the other hand, developed in Belgium. The specific town it originated from is Tervuren. So unlike the German Shepherd, the Belgian Tervuren, quite literally, indicates its origins. 


Another difference between these two breeds is their “status of a breed”. Because the Belgian Tervuren is among four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd, it is only a variety of a breed. This is in contrast to the German Shepherd that retains its full status of a breed. 

Size and Weight

The German Shepherd is larger and heavier than the Belgian Tervuren. The German Shepherd’s weight ranges from 65 to 90 pounds while the Belgian Tervuren weighs only from 45 pounds to 75 pounds. 

Both breeds, however, have a height of 22 to 26 inches high at the shoulder. This measurement springs from the way dogs are measured – from the bottom of their forefeet up to their winters, or tallest point of the shoulder. 

Most dog breeds also have their males essentially bigger and heavier than their females. The same case occurs in both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Tervuren. 


Overall, the German Shepherd sheds less when compared to the Belgian Tervuren. As owner of either dog, you will have to brush year-round to get rid of loose or dead hair. According to the American Kennel Club, using a de-shedder comb every day will keep all shedding to a minimum. This helps get rid of loose hair all at once and not bit by bit over time. 

It is also not recommended to own a Belgian Tervuren for people who are incapable of abiding sheddiers or clouds of dog hair. 

Coat Color

The colouration of the coats of the Belgian Tervuren is limited when compared to the German Shepherd. The head of the Tervuren is always darker than the rest of the coat, and the coat can be a silvery grey, tan or a rich red. 

The German Shepherd, on the other hand, comes in a wider variety of colors. These colors can be solid or mixed. The more solid colors include black, dark brown, dark red, blue, and silver-grey. 

Colors like bi-colors, tri-colors are also possible in a German Shepherd dog, but these are very rare. 


This blog post discussed the most of the important distinctions between the German Shepherd and the Belgian Tervuren. Relevant topics like descriptions of both breeds were also covered. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Belgian Tervuren versus German Shepherd 

Are Belgian Tervurens aggressive? 

The Belgian Tervuren is an excellent watchdog and has the size and ability to be protective when necessary. The ideal Belgian Tervuren has parents with approachable temperaments and has been socialized from an early age to be accepting. 

Is a Belgian Shepherd the same as a German Shepherd? 

No. The German Shepherd is a breed that originated in the Alsace region in France. The Belgian Shepherd, on the other hand, has four varieties: the Malinois, the Greonendael, the Laekenois, and the Belgian Tervuren. These originated in Belgium. 

Which is better, the German Shepherd or the Belgian Malinois? 

If we compare both breeds, the German Shepherds are a larger dog breed and are known to exhibit less aggression compared to Belgian Malinois. Malinois are much smaller than GSDs but tend to be more aggressive. Similarly, Belgian Malinois are much faster than German Shepherds and have more energy.


Anything German Shepherd Team. “18 Differences Between German Shepherds and Belgian Tervurens: Anything German Shepherd.” Anything German Shepherd | A Real Guide About German Shepherd, 21 Sept. 2020, Differences in Weight,inches high at the shoulder.

Naveen. “Difference Between Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherd.” Compare the Difference Between Similar Terms,, 7 Dec. 2012,

“Belgian Tervuren Breed Information.” Vetstreet,

“Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd.” My Dog’s Name, 5 Sept. 2018,

Ghimire, Divya. “Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherd: Which Dog Makes the Perfect Pet?” Husky, 4 Aug. 2019,


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