Belgian Tervuren

Type: Herding Dog

Height: Males: 24 - 26 inches; Females: 22 - 24 inches

Weight: 60.5 lbs. - 63 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 14 years

Litter Size: 6 - 10

Country of Origin: Belgium

Activity: High. Tervurens need lots of exercises for continual physical and mental development.

Watch-dog: Very High, suspicious of strangers. They are very alert and aware of their surroundings.

Guard-dog: Very High, will protect family and property but will not attack unwarranted.


Description: The Belgian Tervuren is one of the four breeds of the Belgian Shepherds. They are identical to the Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael), Belgian Malinois, as well as the Laekenois, except their coat is long, feathery and consists of shades of red, gray and black. All four dogs are spawned from the same breed, and closely resemble each other save for their coats. The Belgian Tervuren is a well balanced medium size dog, elegant in appearance, standing squarely on all fours. The appearance of the dog has earned itself a popular place among the Belgian Sheepdogs, and is known for its beautiful coat. The Belgian Tervuren is a picture of power and grace. Belgian Tervurens are intelligent, courageous, alert and devoted to their master. They excel in an active family environment, but are also wonderful working dogs whether in obedience, herding, agility or tracking. Tervurens do not tend to be friendly to anyone that walks by, as they have been used over the centuries as guard dogs and herders and tend to remain very reserved. The Tervuren will adapt to both urban or a country environment as long as they have space to exercise and a master to serve.

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Other Names: Tervuren, Chien de Berger Belge

Colors: All shades of red, fawn, gray, with black overlap. Faces and ears are black.

Coat: Long, straight and abundant, with a dense undercoat of fine, black hairs. Belgian Tervurens' coats have long, feathery hair that is especially abundant around the shoulders, neck and chest. Their tails are densely covered in thick guard hair. Tervurens are known to be the more glamorous-looking breed of the Belgian Sheepdogs.

Temperament: Belgian Tervurens are obedient, loyal, lively, reserved, protective, intelligent, attentive, and very active. If not occupied for a long time, they may turn to mischief for entertainment. The Tervuren, as well as the Groenendael and Laekenois tend to be slightly more snappy than the Malinois. They tend to be one-person dogs, and seem to greatly enjoy being with their owner.

With Children: Yes, Belgian Sheepdogs are good with their family, but should not rough-house or play chasing games. May not tolerate other children.

With Pets: Needs to be socialized to other pets. Take extra care when socializing with a new pet. Belgian Tervurens have natural instincts to guard, and therefore should be trained very carefully when dealing with new pets.

Care and Training: Weekly brushing, more during heavy shedding in the spring and autumn. Vigorous daily exercise is required plus time in a wide-opened fence run. Puppies need early socialization. Tervurens do well in obedience or herding. The Belgian Tervuren is a working dog and needs a lot of exercise, preferably off the leash as much as possible. But they should not be allowed to chase cars, bikes, joggers, or children.

Learning Rate: Very High. Tervurens are highly intelligent and should have mental exercises to utilize their learning skills. Obedience - Very High. The Belgian Tervuren is designed to serve. Problem Solving - High. Overbearing training techniques may encourage fear-biting, careful choosing of training methods must be taken into consideration. The Belgian breeds are known for having a negative reaction to deterrence or punishment training, and should therefore be trained with a reward-based routine. Reward-based training is best, but the owner should not be overly permissive either, as the Belgian Tervuren is very intelligent and can take advantage of such opportunities. Professional training courses or training by someone who knows how to do so is suggested.

Special Needs: Belgian Tervurens need attention, a job or activity, positive training and early socialization.

Living Environment: Belgian Tervurens are best suited for country living, but if this is not possible a home will suffice, with a fenced yard being essential. Tervurens adapt well to both an urban or country environment as long as they have a space to roam. An owner of a Belgian Tervuren should desire an active dog who is intelligent and protective. The most desirable environment for the Tervuren would be a yard with a job to do and an experienced owner who can be with them most of the time.

Health Issues: The Belgian Sheepdogs are free from hereditary diseases a majority of the time, although problems such as epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia should be checked out. Possible health issues also include anesthesia sensitivity, cancer, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), thyroid problems, eye problems.

History: The Belgian Tervuren was developed in Belgium for guarding and the herding of sheep. Named for the regions in which they were produced, the Belgian Tervuren came from an area in Belgium with a name that probably closely resembled "Tervuren". This breed was formally recognized as the Belgian Shepherd Dog in 1891. Present in the gene pool of this breed are alleles producing long coats, short coats, rough or wired coats and a variance of colors. This created the Belgian Shepherd Dog with four different varieties. The Groenendael (known simple as the Belgian Sheepdog), with a long, solid black coat, the Laekenois, a rough or wire-coat in fawn, red or brown, the Malinois, a short coat in fawn, red or brown and the Tervuren, a long coated fawn or dark red dog. All of these dogs originated from the variance of sheepdogs that existed in Belgium towards the end of the 19th century. In the year of 1890, a man named Monsieur Nicholas Rose of the Cafe du Groenendael found a completely black, long-haired Belgian sheepdog in a litter. After buying a dog similar to this one, Monsieur Rose used selective breeding to create the Belgian Sheepdog, or Groenendael. In 1891 the breed was decided upon to develop and separate three more versions of this dog at the Brussels Veterinary University. The American Kennel Club has recognized three of these four varieties. The United States and Belgium are the only countries to accept at least three of the four of them as distinguished from each other as four separate breeds. The British Kennel Club regards them as a single breed and the Federation Cynologique states one breed with four varieties. Because of this, the dogs are always registered on their coat type and color, not of their parents. The Belgian breeds were used as sentry dogs, messengers and even draft dogs in World War I, and continued to serve in World War II. Belgian Tervurens are especially used today as guide dogs and police dogs.

First Registered by the AKC: 1912 (registered as the Belgian Sheepdog until 1959)

AKC Group: Herding

Class: Herding

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 1), KC(GB), UKC