The Belgian Tervuren was named for the Belgian village of Tervuren.
It is one of the four varieties of the Belgian sheepdogs, the Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Groenendael, Belgian Malinois and the less popular Belgian Laekenois, which all share a common foundation.
In most countries and breed clubs all four dogs are considered the same breed with different varieties in coat types.
All four dogs share a breed standard in all countries except for the AKC, which since 1959 recognizes them as separate breeds and does not recognize one of the four (the Laekenois), whereas the UKC, which is also a U.S. registry does recognize all four varieties as one breed.
Versatile and highly intelligent, all four varieties of the Belgian sheepdog excel at a variety of talents, including but not limited to, police work such as narcotics and bomb detection, protection and Schutzhund, search and rescue, also obedience, agility, tracking, herding, sled and cart pulling and as a guide for the blind and assistant to the disabled.
These high energy, extremely intelligent dogs need leadership, to be challenged, and well exercised daily and therefore are not for everyone, but can make an excellent family companion with the right owners. The Belgian Malinois was the first of the four sheepdogs to establish type. Until the other four were established in type they were called "Berger Belge a poil court autre que Malinois," which means "Belgian short-coated Sheepdog who is not the Malinois."
Today all four sheepdogs are popular in Belgium, with the Laekenois and Malinois more often used as working type dogs than the Belgian Groenendael and Tervuren but all types still making excellent workers.