- When you look at a Belgian Tervuren, your first impression is one of elegance. This is a medium-size dog with a square build, a wedge-shaped head carried proudly, dark-brown eyes that are slightly almond-shaped, prick ears, and an intelligent, questioning expression that indicates he’s always ready for action.
- The Belgian Tervuren has a double coat that is short on the head and the front of the legs. The opening of the ear is protected by tufts of hair. A collarette of longer hair surrounds the neck and is especially abundant on males. Other areas where the hair is longer are the back of the legs and the tail.
- A Belgian Tervuren’s coat is a beautiful rich fawn-to-russet mahogany with a black overlay, meaning the tip of each fawn hair is black. A Terv’s coat typically darkens with age.
AKC group: Herding Dogs
UKC group: Herding Dogs
Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Average size: 40 to 70 pounds
Coat appearance: dense undercoat with long, straight outercoat
Coloration: red, fawn, also grey with black overlay. Black mask on face.
Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards, farms/rural areas, watchdog
Temperament: Athletic, hard working, loyal, lovingComparable Breeds: Belgian Malinois, Belgian Laekenois
This herding breed from Belgium — he takes his name from the village of Tervuren — does not have a well-known history until the late 1800s. He may have been helping shepherds care for flocks for centuries, but it wasn’t until 1891, in a burst of national enthusiasm, that Belgian herding dogs were divided into types and given names. A standard for the Tervuren was written in 1893, and the Society Royale Saint-Hubert recognized the breed in 1901.
One of the early breeders of the dogs, M. F. Corbeel, who lived in Tervuren, bred Tom and Poes, who are considered to be the breed’s foundation dogs. They produced Miss, who in turn gave birth to Milsart, the breed’s first champion in 1907.
The American Kennel Club registered its first Tervuren in 1918, but few people took an interest in the breed. By the 1930s, Tervuren were no longer seen in the AKCstud book. In Europe, the breed survived two world wars, and in 1953 Belgian Tervuren were again imported into the United States. The AKC recognized the Terv as a distinct breed in 1959. Today the breed ranks 108th among the dogs registered by the AKC.
The Belgian Tervuren is a breed of the Belgian Sheepdog
. Loyal companions, the Tervuren can be a farm dog or a family dog. As with all Belgian Sheepdog
breeds, they were bred to herd and protect livestock, so Tervurens need constant activity, whether playing with children, going on long walks, or chasing a frisbee. Always vigilant, they make excellent watchdogs, and can be trained to do just about any task put before them.
This hardy, healthy breed has no major health concerns. Some minor concerns that have been seen are epilepsy, skin allergies, eye problems, excessive shyness, excessive aggressiveness and occasionally hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Do not overfeed this breed, for it has a tendency to become obese and lazy.
The Belgian Tervuren is an indoor/outdoor dog. He should live indoors with the family but needs access to a securely fenced yard that will prevent him from escaping to chase passing cyclists, joggers, and cars.
Belgian Tervuren are sensitive and highly trainable. Be firm, calm, and consistent with them. Anger and physical force are counterproductive. Use positive training techniques, rewarding them with praise, play, or treats when they perform commands correctly or do anything you like — even if you didn’t ask them to.
The Belgian Tervuren will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. This breed prefers cool climates, but adapts well to others. It can live outdoors but would much rather be with his people.
Though sometimes willful and stubborn, Belgians are highly trainable and thrive on advanced obedience, trick and agility training. They can read small movements and even changes in facial expression, and are famous for being so “in tune” with their trainers that they can literally stay one step ahead of the person giving commands. For this reason, Belgian Sheepdogs are often competitors in agility and herding competitions.
Though easily trainable, Belgians are not for the first-time dog owner. They are highly intelligent and manipulative, and can easily walk all over someone who does not know how to remain consistent with training. Positive reinforcement is the best method to train a Belgian Sheepdog, as discipline can lead to avoidance behavior and stubbornness.
Being that the Belgian Tervuren was bred to herd and protect livestock, this dog is athletic and needs lots of exercise. An hour or so of playing with the kids, fetching a ball or jogging through the park will keep the average Terv in tip-top condition both physically and mentally. Because of their tremendous chase instinct, this breed should only be exercised on a leash or in a securely fenced area.
The Belgian Tervuren’s harshdouble coat sheds dirt, but he will need a thorough brushing once or twice a week to remove dead hair. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. Have grooming tools such as a medium-size pin brush, slicker brush, undercoat rake, and a mat comb on hand. He sheds heavily once or twice a year and will need more frequent brushing during those times to control the amount of loose hair floating around. There will be lots of it!
He shouldn’t need a bath very often , but warm baths during shedding season can help remove dead hair. Trim his nails as needed — weekly for puppies and monthly in most cases for adults — and keep the ears clean and dry to prevent infections. Proper dental hygiene is also important. Brush the teeth frequently for overall health and fresh breath.
Children And Other Pets
Well-socialized Tervs are good with children, especially if they are raised with them, but because of their herding heritage they may have a tendency to nip at their heels and try to herd them when playing. You must teach your Terv that this behavior is unacceptable. An adult Tervuren who’s unfamiliar with children may do best in a home with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Tervs get along best with other dogs and cats when they’re brought up with them from puppyhood. Sometimes they become best friends with cats and other animals and will protect them as they would members of their flock, and sometimes they all come to an agreement of mutual indifference. Tervs do have a chase instinct, however, and even if they don’t chase “their” cats, they may be unable to resist chasing cats or other animals that intrude in their yards. If you want your Terv to get along with other animals you must start early and reward them for appropriate behavior. If your Terv hasn’t been socialized to other animals, it’s your responsibility to keep him under control in their presence.
Is the Belgian Tervuren the Right Breed for you?
Moderate Maintenance: Regular grooming is required to keep its fur in good shape. No trimming or stripping needed.
Constant Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Easy Training: The Belgian Tervuren is known to listen to commands and obey its owner. Expect fewer repetitions when training this breed.
Very Active: It will need daily exercise to maintain its shape. Committed and active owners will enjoy performing fitness activities with this breed.
Good for New Owners: This breed is well suited for those who have little experience with dog ownership.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.
Did You Know?
The Belgian Tervuren is one of four related varieties of Belgian herding breeds
. In their home country they are all known as Chiens de Berger (bair-zhay) Belge (belzh). The Terv is distinguished from the other varieties by his coat length and color.
- In an episode of Hogan’s Heroes, Belgian Shepherds were referred to as the preferred choice of police dogs.
- For the film The Company of Wolves the wolves are primarily played by dyed Tervurens.
- A Tervuren is featured in Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London as a test subject for a mind-control device.
- A Tervuren is also featured in Friday Night Dinner as neighbour Jim’s dog, Wilson
- A Belgian Malinois is featured in Inspector Lewis Season 1 Episode Sons of the Twice Born
- A Tervuren named Mr. Cupcake can be seen on Alaskan Bush People, he’s the family’s dog.