If you’re looking for a high-energy dog breed with a working history, both the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois might be exactly what you’re looking for. While both dogs are great fits for many people, they’re better for experienced owners.
Even though they’re similar in a lot of ways, they are two completely different breeds with their own personalities and quirks. They might not be an excellent choice for everyone, but for many people, either the Belgian Tervuren or the Belgian Malinois is the perfect choice for them.
At a Glance
Belgian Tervuren Overview
A large and majestic-looking dog with a long coat, it’s no wonder the Belgian Tervuren is such a popular breed. But while there’s no denying their adorable appearance and eagerness to please, there’s a bit more that goes into a Belgian Tervuren.
Personality / Character
While there’s no doubt that the Belgian Tervuren is an extremely obedient dog, they’re also extremely protective and have a fierce independent streak. They also have strong herding instincts, and because of this, they tend to nip at smaller animals and will often nip at the heels of smaller children to try and keep them in line.
Because of this, it’s best not to get a Belgian Tervuren if you have smaller children or other small pets in your home. But with proper training and socialization, there’s no reason you can’t have multiple dogs in the same home with a Belgian Tervuren.
Since the Belgian Tervuren is an extremely intelligent breed that is eager to please its owners, it’s relatively easy to train. However, they are a higher energy breed, and if you’re not meeting their daily exercise requirements, they’re prone to destructive boredom behaviors.
Moreover, since they’re a natural herding breed, training them to leave smaller children and small pets alone can be quite challenging.
Health & Care
Overall, the Belgian Tervuren is a healthy breed, but they are prone to some minor medical conditions. These conditions include hypothyroidism, canine hip dysplasia, allergies, and elbow dysplasia.
However, getting a thorough health history from both parents and purchasing your Belgian Tervuren from a reputable breeder can significantly reduce the likelihood of any of these conditions affecting your pup.
The Belgian Tervuren is an excellent choice for owners that don’t have small children or other small pets in the home. Because they’re a high-energy breed, they do better when they have space to roam or if you need a working dog.
We don’t recommend getting a Belgian Tervuren if you live in a smaller space or plan on having kids in the next 10 to 15 years.
Belgian Malinois Overview
While both the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois have strong Belgian roots and a herding background, that’s where the similarities stop. The Belgian Malinois has a short coat and a much wider range in height and weight.
Personality / Character
The Belgian Malinois is a very strong-willed dog that excels in working environments. They’re eager to please their owners and never want to leave their side. They’re also extremely protective, and without an experienced hand, this protectiveness can manifest itself as aggression.
But with the right owner, proper socialization, and training, the Belgian Malinois is a sweet and loving dog towards its owner, and it’s typically a little wary of strangers.
The Belgian Malinois needs an experienced handler and isn’t a great choice for first-time dog owners. This is despite the fact that they’re extremely intelligent and eager to please, making them great dogs for a wide array of working tasks.
They do well with consistent training, but because of their protective nature, they need an experienced handler that can control the Belgian Malinois in situations where their protective nature might come out as aggression.
Health & Care
While the Belgian Malinois is a relatively healthy breed, they are prone to a few health issues. These issues include hip and elbow dysplasia and eye problems. However, getting a full health history from both parents and only getting your Belgian Malinois from a reputable breeder can help prevent these issues.
The Belgian Malinois is an excellent choice for an experienced handler that doesn’t have small children or other small pets in the home. If the owner has enough experience, they can have other large dog breeds in the home with a Belgian Malinois.
The Belgian Malinois is also an outstanding choice for law enforcement and military dog handlers that need a well-trained dog for work.
Which Breed Is Right for You?
With similar personalities and temperaments, if one breed is suitable for you, the other likely is too. However, if you want a dog with a long coat, the Belgian Tervuren is the way to go, while the Belgian Malinois has a short coat.
From there, both are great working dogs that are extremely protective of their owners. Both dogs excel in working situations, although the Belgian Tervuren is usually a bit more adaptable if you don’t have work tasks for them.
They’re both great dog breeds, but we don’t recommend either one if you have small kids or small pets in your home.