German shepherd vs Belgian Tervuren: Size, Coat, Energy, Strength & Temperament Comparison

Hello Readers! We bring you here another breed battle, where we will compare and contrast German Shepherd’s characteristics with Belgian Tervuren. Both breeds are known for their herding tendencies and dominating stance. Their caring nature is the exact opposite of their loud appearance. So, let’s take a look at the major points of comparison between the two.

German Shepherd Vs Belgian Tervuren

1. Origin

Belgian Tevuren is a Belgian Herding dog that is known for its elegance. Their intelligence, caring attitude and active lifestyle make them a good fit as pack leaders. But, this breed is not something so easy to train. So, when you want to bring a Belgian Tervuren home, you must be either adoting it from a rescue shelter, or you should have prior experience of owning a dog. These dogs tend to bring home upside down, if they are not properly trained or adjusted to apartment living. So, it is essential to give them the dose of exercises, activities and companionship, as Belgian Tervurens are not the dogs to be left alone to figure their day out. This breed was developed and recognized in late 1900s, so they are younger to German Shepherds by about a century as later started showing their presence in development centers near close to end of 1800s.

German Shepherds are one of the most loyal and eager-to-please dog breeds, that can take orders and comply with training instructions quite easily. They love to bring all family members together at one place and enjoy being near to their parent when he or she is at home. These are also very active and athletic species and may feel depressed if left alone indoors for longer periods. A caretaker is essential to maintain this breed at home, if you want to go out to work. The best trick is to wear them down by doing activities, playing ‘fetch the ball’ and walk them out in the mornings so that they spend the rest of the day quietly in their resting space. The dogs were used as military dogs due to their exceptionally dutiful nature and fierce loyalty, and entered the UK after the end of World War I, from Germany, which is their place of origin.

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2. Physical characteristics

Belgian Tervuren comes under medium size puppies’ category. The Belgian Tervurens have characteristically thick and long coat and have a high shedding tendency. Their majestic looks make Tervurens a good competition to GSDs.

German Shepherds are mostly medium to big. Their thick, dense mane is quite similar to Belgian Tervurens. But, it is the color of the coat that helps distinguish these species.

Height and Weight: The Belgian Tervuren’s height may be anywhere between 21 to 26 inches, and may weigh 40 to 70 pounds in adulthood. It is a bit smaller than a German Shepherd but does not fall behind anywhere in attitude and demeanor. German Shepherd dogs are a bit bulkier than Belgian Tervuren with an average weight at the most mature stage is about 90 pounds. GSDs attain a height of up to 26 inches at full growth.

Coat: Both German Shepherd and Belgian Tervuren has a double coat, which is long and thick too. While the German Shepherd’s coat is usually black, black and tan, grey and tan or black and tan in color, Belgian Tervuren has rich fawn color to mahogany shaded coat, which has a layer of black coat atop.

3. Activity Level

Both Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherd are highly active dog breeds. They look forward to games and other physical activities.

They are fast learners and have a keenness towards acquiring various skills. If the German Shepherd is popular as Military Dog, Belgian Tervuren is used widely as a police dog and a therapy dog. Both have distinct sense for smelling danger and are fiercely protective towards their families.

One typical habit of these dogs is that they display chasing tendencies. They try to shoo away suspicious people or sometimes, even fellow animals, by chasing them out. Therefore, the owners have to be extra vigilant while taking them out for a walk.

4. Overall health, vaccination needs and natural tendencies

Overall health:

The general health of both German Shepherd and Belgian Tervuren is fine. However, the common tendency of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia is there. So, while growing up, they require frequent evaluation of hip and elbow.

Belgian Tervuren is more prone to teeth infection than a GSD. Therefore, proper and regular teeth-cleaning for this dog is necessary. Secondly, this breed tends to become obese more easily. So, meal portions are to be strictly controlled. Also, they should be kept active, and given a proper exercise to avoid other obesity-related diseases.

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Belgian Tervuren also shows more susceptibility to epilepsy. It is not that prominent in GSDs.

German Shepherds require minimal grooming and less attention when it comes to maintaining health as compared to Belgian Tervuren. Still, their tendency to bloat cannot be overlooked. GSD’s parents should know about abdominal swelling and probable causes of it, and check the dog for this condition.

Both dogs need vaccination for rabies, distemper, and parvovirus.

Natural Tendencies include:

  • Shedding: Both GSD and Belgian Tervuren are frequent shedders. They shed heavily round the year. Therefore, one has to be particular about brushing their coat. When in the heat phase, the shedding is likely to increase in Belgian Tervureng. So, a quick brushing session of a minute or two daily is quite useful for this breed.

German Shepherd tends to shed more during the season change. So, at the start of fall and spring, you can find GSD shedding more than usual.

  • Drooling: Both Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherd exhibit exceptionally low drooling tendency. So, if all of a sudden, you notice them drooling, you might need to consult a vet to know the reason; it can be a sign of a health issue!.
  • Attacking behavior: Belgian Tervuren dog is vigilant and aware of the slightest changes happening in their surroundings. But, they do not attack unless provoked. Socialization training helps these dogs to control attacking behavior. Similarly, German Shepherds do not attack by instinct. But, trainers train them to do so to extract some benefit from their dominant personality and utilize them as watchdogs.
  • Destructive Nature: Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherd show destructive tendencies when they are left to deal with boredom independently. Both breeds are loving, require companions, and do not adjust well to loneliness. They demonstrate destructive behavior like scratching furniture, tearing newspapers or rugs when they are left or locked alone in a room for long. They can behave nicely or may spend time resting when they are given a nice workout.
  • Attitude towards family members, pets, and guests: Both Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherd are caring and protective of their families. Despite the big size, they adjust well to apartments living as they enjoy being physically around their parent.
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These dogs need socialization training to get along with fellow pets and behave nicely with the guests.

Vaccination Requirements:

German Shepherd vaccination chart looks something like this:

  • parvovirus: 4-6 weeks
  • parvovirus, distemper: 6-8 weeks
  • DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza): 10-12 weeks
  • DHPP, rabies: 16-18 weeks
  • DHPP, rabies: 12-16 months

Vaccination chart of Belgian Tervuren

  • Rabies: Annually, starting from 12 weeks
  • DHPP: 6 weeks (if only parvo and distemper covered, DHPP combo starts 10-12 weeks)
  • Canine Parainfluenza: 8-16 weeks

5. Food Requirements

Belgian Tervuren needs protein-rich foods. They get their protein requirement fulfilled from eggs, fish, meat homemade dog food, and commercially made dog food enriched with kibbles. A little amount of fat about 5-8% of the diet should be given to keep skin and hair shining. The Belgian Tervuren needs to be fed 4 times a day in the growing stage; and an adult requires feeding only twice. When fed properly, they tend to respond to commands readily.

Human foods safe for Belgian Tervuren are – apples, eggs, salmon, bread, watermelon de-seeded and cut into large pieces.

GSDs need 22% protein in their diet, which can be given to them in the form of liver or organ meat, grains, and certain fruits and vegetables. Some dog foods available in the market are designed to give the requisite amount of minerals and vitamins. Young GSDs require 3 meals a day, which can be reduced to 2 when they are fully mature.

Both dogs require water in between their eating time, else they may tend to drool. So, keep the water bowl ready while feeding them.

6. Apartment-friendliness

German Shepherds and Belgian Tervurens can be easily adjusted to apartment life, as they do not require a separate room or kennel. They love being near to the parent or family members and go in their assigned space only to sleep. Developing these behaviors in both of these dogs require training, else they may tend to become clingy.

  • Companionship Needs: Both Belgian Tervuren and German Shepherd need a companion. They cannot be left alone indoors for long. They exhibit separation anxiety, tend to become depressed or destructive when left unattended or not given enough workout.
  • Training Needs: Both German Shepherds and Belgian Tervuren are a little difficult to train because they have a stubborn attitude. Reinforced obedience training is the first step to lead them into learning more games, or take behavioral training. So, you must be an experienced dog parent if you have thought of bringing these dog breeds home.

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