Despite their names sounding similar to one another, there are two distinct dog breeds known as the Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois. While their ancestry and original reasons for breeding are similar, there are still many things that separate these two breeds from each other. But what might those things be, and how can you learn how to tell them apart?
In this article, we will address all of the similarities and differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois. We will discuss their appearances, ancestry, and behavioral differences, as well as their lifespans.
By the end of all this, you should have a clear understanding of both of these dog breeds.
Let’s get started now!
Comparing Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois
|21-26 inches tall; 60-75 pounds
|22-27 inches tall; 65-80 pounds
|Fawn, brown, and black colored coat with long and silky appearance. Wide and short snout with mane of fur around face
|Fawn, brown, and black colored coat in a short and coarse appearance. Small eyes and wide snout with large paws; elegant and elongated in appearance
|Bred in Belgium for herding and guarding; the first breed to win an AKC herding dog championship
|Bred in Belgium for herding; brought to the US in 1911 and was an immediate hit for its herding abilities
|Extremely friendly, eager to please, and high energy. Needs a large and secure yard to roam in, as well as consistent socialization and training
|Absolutely devoted to their owners and dedicated to herding work. Does not do well in a home that cannot provide consistent work and exercise
Key Differences Between Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois
There are many key differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois. The Belgian Malinois grows larger than the Belgian Tervuren, in both height and weight. Additionally, Tervurens live slightly shorter lives compared to the average Malinois. The fur length of the Tervuren is longer than the fur of the Malinois. Finally, the Tervuren is a better guard dog compared to the Malinois.
Let’s take a closer look at all of these differences in more detail now.
Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois: Size
While it can be difficult to tell upon first glance, there are some size differences between the Tervuren and the Malinois. For example, the Malinois is larger than the Tervuren, in both height and weight. But by how much? Let’s take a closer look at those figures now.
The Malinois reaches heights of 22-27 inches tall on average, while the Tervuren reaches 21-26 inches tall. While this height often overlaps, the Malinois is larger overall. This also includes the weights of both of these dogs. For example, the Tervuren weighs 60-75 pounds, while the average Malinois reaches 65-80 pounds on average. However, these weights are extremely similar, making it difficult to tell the difference.
Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois: Appearance
Given how closely related the Belgian Tervuren is to the Belgian Malinois, it can be extremely difficult to tell them apart based on appearance alone. However, the fur of both of these dog breeds is one indication of their differences. For example, the Tervuren has long and silky fur, while the Malinois has short and coarse fur.
The snout and body shape of both of these dogs is very similar as well, though the Malinois is elongated and elegant in their body compared to the stockier Tervuren. They both have similarly colored coats, which resemble the coat of the German Shepherd. Finally, both of their ears are erect and triangular, and their tails are also fluffy.
Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois: Ancestry and Breeding
While both of these breeds are closely related, there are some ancestral and breeding differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois. Both dogs originated in Belgium and are capable working dogs. However, the Tervuren is a better guard dog compared to the herding-focused Malinois.
In Belgium, both of these dogs are classified as types of Belgian Shepherds. However, both the Malinois and the Tervuren are their own distinct breeds in the United States. They are both fantastic herders and companions, alert and focused. Speaking of, let’s address the behavioral differences between these two fantastic breeds now.
Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois: Behavior
Both the Tervuren and the Malinois live to serve their families and farm. However, the Tervuren is more friendly and sociable compared to the more serious Malinois. In fact, the Malinois tends to bond with a single owner more than a whole family, while the Belgian Tervuren enjoys the company of a number of people.
Both breeds thrive in a working environment, especially the Malinois. You may have difficulty training both of these breeds if they are not given a job to do or work until they are tired. They require ample exercise and things that stimulate their brains, so keep this in mind if you are interested in adopting either of these breeds.
Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois: Lifespan
A final difference between the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois is their lifespans. The Malinois lives slightly longer than the Tervuren, which is interesting when compared to their size differences. Typically, larger dogs live shorter lives than smaller dogs, but the size differences between these two breeds is barely noticeable.
In closer detail, the Tervuren lives an average of 11-15 years, while the Malinois lives 12-16 years. However, it all depends on the individual dog’s health, breeding, and activity level as to whether or not they live a long and happy life.
Do Belgian Tervurens Bond to One Person?
Belgian Sheepdogs can form strong bonds with one or sometimes two people. When introducing them to small non-canine pets, it’s important to exercise caution as they can be somewhat territorial. These dogs are usually good with children, but they can display dominant behavior around other dogs.
Their affections are usually spread evenly among all family members rather than forming an exclusive bond with just one.
If you’re new to the breed, female Belgian Sheepdogs are a great choice due to their smaller size and gentle nature. While the breed can be cuddly, they are also fairly rough during play.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Eric Metz
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