The Belgian Tervuren is a part of the Belgian Shepherd family that includes four distinct breeds; the Malinois, the Groenendael, the Laekenois, and the Tervuren. Out of the four breeds, the Tervuren is considered the most elegant and good-looking. They all have similar characters and working abilities, but Malinois is the most popular member of this impressive working dog family.
The Belgian Tervuren is an active dog that is a natural-born herder and shepherd. They are powerful, agile, and brilliant. Their natural athletic capabilities make them great dog sports contestants. Some owners describe these dogs as:
- Has a great sense of humor
If you are thinking of getting a Belgian Tervuren, here is a breed profile that could help you decide about getting this dog.
22-26 in (56-66 cm)
45-75 lb (20-34 kg)
The history of the four Belgian Shepherd dogs began in the late 19th century when veterinary professor Adolphe Reul and his panel of judges determined which shepherd dogs from that area had Belgian roots. They concluded that square-built dogs, with pointy ears and muzzles, and dark eyes were the Belgian sheepherding dogs. They also concluded that these dogs could differ only by the texture and the length of the coat.
At the time, Belgian breeders decided to name each distinct Belgian Shepherd after a village in Belgium, and the Tervuren is no different. It was named after a village where the “father of Tervuren” lived, Mr. M. F. Corbeel. Mr. Corbeel bred two dogs, Poes and Tom, which are now considered the ancestors and the foundation to all modern-day Belgian Tervurens.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Like all other Belgian Shepherds, the Tervuren is a well-balanced, square-built dog with pointy ears and a muscular body. These dogs are strong and agile, making them great dog sport competitors. A male dog should reach a height of 24 - 26 inches while the females should reach 22 - 24 inches. Males can weigh 55-75 pounds and females 45-60 pounds.
The Belgian Tervuren has medium-sized, brown to dark-brown, almond-shaped eyes and a moderately pointed muzzle. The most famous part of these dogs is their beautiful long coats. The coat can be rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay. The fawn hair has black tips that give these dogs a beautiful sable pattern.
The Belgian Tervuren is a natural herder. They were born to work, which is when they feel most comfortable and “at home.” Because of their natural herding characters, these dogs are distrustful towards strangers, and most of the Belgian Tervuren need socialization from a young age.
Tervuren makes incredible watchdogs; they are alert and completely aware of everything going on around them. These dogs do not like to be left alone for too long, and they will demand their family’s attention. Like the rest of the Belgian Shepherd family, they are rather smart, which means their minds and bodies need to be challenged. Make sure you have enough games you can play with your Tervuren and that they receive plenty of exercises each day.
Training a Tervuren
Training such an intelligent dog breed is essential for preventing the development of bad behavioral traits. Start training them as soon as they arrive at your house, and if you do not have time to work with such an active breed, maybe it is not the best choice for you.
They can be aggressive toward other dogs and cats if not socialized to other animals. Keep in mind that these dogs don't respond well to harsh training methods. Be firm, fair, and consistent, but use only positive reinforcement! These dogs love to learn new things and are eager to do whatever their people ask of them. The best way to train them is by using positive training methods. Involve as many treats as you can and keep the training sessions interesting. Allow them to develop their problem-solving capabilities, and they will be thrilled and satisfied. These characteristics make them a popular choice for military, service, and police dogs.
Like any other dog breed, the Belgian Tervuren should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with. The Tervuren is naturally a protective and territorial breed, like the rest of the Belgian Shepherds, and proper socialization is the key to having a well-behaved and friendly dog.
Make sure you expose them to different sights, sounds, people, and other puppies. Take them to busy parks, streets, woods, wherever they can see new things and experience new situations. That way, your puppy will learn about different situations and know when and how to react. Socialization can even be done at home. Dress differently; wear glasses, hats, and baggy clothes so your puppy can’t recognize you right away. Teach your puppy to stay alone for a while and not make a fuss about it. It is the best way to make sure your puppy will grow up to be a stable, confident, and well-behaved dog.
Tervuren as a pet
If you are looking for a working dog, the Tervuren might be one of the strongest candidates. These dogs have performed numerous tasks over the years, and they have excelled at all of them. If you are looking for an active family pet, the Belgian Tervuren will have some requirements. These dogs will need an active owner that takes them regularly for hiking adventures, running, or playing in the park. They have endless energy and can run and play all day. However, if these requirements are not met, the Tervuren can become problematic.
These dogs can be great playing partners for kids, especially if they grew up together. However, they can have a nipping tendency, so it is crucial to teach your dog not to herd children. They are not the best choice for households with smaller pets like cats, guinea pigs, or ferrets. The high prey drive of the Tervuren can easily make them see smaller pets as prey.
If you are interested in checking out other Belgian Shepherds, check out the Laekenois, Groenendael (Sheepdog), and Malinois.
Coat and care
The Belgian Tervuren has a coat similar to the Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael). They are double-coated with a longer, protective outer-coat and soft, insulating undercoat. Their coat is medium-long and shouldn’t be too soft nor too wiry. It is also weather-resistant and keeps them insulated and safe from all weather conditions. It can come in several colors ranging from rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay.
Brushing them will be required at least twice a week for 10 minutes to get rid of the dead hair and keep the coat from matting and tangling. They will also need other basic care; brush their teeth at least three times a week. Check their ears for signs of infection and redness, bathe them every 6-8 weeks (more if they live inside the house), and trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally.
Like any other dog breed, the Belgian Tervuren is prone to specific health problems. That doesn’t mean it will develop these problems; it just means that you should be aware of you as a future Tervuren owner. These problems include:
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Epilepsy - Brain problem causing mild to severe seizures.
- Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy - A group of diseases that affect the retina and cause it to deteriorate over time.
Belgian Tervuren breeders
When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable Belgian Tervuren breeder. These dogs are energetic and protective, and getting a poorly bred dog can have catastrophic results. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good Tervuren breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team