There are four varieties of Belgian Shepherds: the Groenendael, the Tervuren, the Malinois and the Laekenois which are distinguished by the coat type. The coat varies in length, direction, appearance and color. As the names suggest, all four varieties originated in Belgium as herding and guardian dogs. In Europe, the four varieties are recognized as one breed, the Belgian Shepherd Dog. In the United States, they are separated in four breeds. The American Kennel Club recognizes the black-haired Belgian Sheepdog and the Belgian Malinois, in addition to Belgian Tervuren.
The Tervuren is an active working breed that needs vigorous daily exercise. Early socialization is a must. Tervurens are usually good with other dogs, but may not be good with dogs of the same sex. The breed excels in many canine sports.
The outer coat is long with a thick undercoat. The coat must be fawn with black tips (overlay) and a black mask and ears. For the Tervuren and Malinois, the mask must be very pronounced and tend to encompass the top and bottom lip, the corners of the lips and the eyelids in one single black zone. A strict minimum of six points of skin pigmentation is called for: the two ears, the two upper eyelids and the two lips, upper and lower, which must be black. The coat must have a black overlay.
In Tervuren and Malinois, the black overlay means that the hairs have a black tip which shades the base color. Only fawn with black overlay or gray with black overlay, with a black mask is allowed; however, the fawn with black overlay is still preferred. The fawn must be rich, neither light nor washed-out. Any dog whose coat color is anything but fawn with black overlay or does not match the desired intensity of color cannot be considered an elite specimen.