Herding and AKC Herding and part of the Sheepdog family.
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
The colors of the Belgian Tervuren vary slightly with the norm being a rich shade of red (often described as mahogany) with black highlights and a black mask. Occasionally, you will see a small spot of white on the chest or the tip of the toes.
24-26 inches (61-66 cm)
65-75 pounds (29-34 kg)
60-70 pounds (27-32 kg)
The Belgian Tervuren is comfortable and will adapt to any kind of temperature as long as he has protection from the extreme cold and extreme heat. Depending on where you live, some of these extremes can be dangerous without protection. They are happiest when indoors with the family and loving bonding with them.
The Belgian Tervuren is a breed of dog that is often classified as a Belgian Shepherd dog. In the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) calls them Belgian Tervuren, however in Canada, they are recognized as a member of the Belgian Shepherd dog.
The Belgian Tervuren, one of four Belgian Sheepdogs, is a medium-sized, slender, square proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. He has a strong look to him with a solid muscular body with hind legs that are also muscular. The entire body is solid and muscular without looking bulky, but rather elegant. The front legs are straight and perfectly proportioned to the body with round catlike feet. It has light and graceful gait, which has the appearance of floating.
The Belgian Tervuren is a lively and happy dog known for their loyalty and protectiveness. They are happiest when they are doing something, specifically with their owner. They were originally bred as a herding dog and his herding instincts will still surface from time to time such as circle and nipping at heels. The Tervuren has a very high intelligence, is easy to train, and is known for having a great sense of humor. If you could hear them laughing, you would. He is very gentle dog with this family members and people he knows well, but more guarded with strangers. They are very playful and always alert with their eyes erect constantly paying close attention to what is happening around them. When you are talking to them, you can tell they are listening.
They thrive on attention and praise and need lots of attention. They are extremely energetic dogs that love to play. Failure to give them all the attention and exercise they require may result in the Tervuren turning to destructive behavior regardless of how well behaved they are. They participate in many AKC events revolving around tracking, herding, agility and obedience. Due to their intelligence, trainability and loyalty, they are used for search and rescue, guard and protection dogs for the military and police, therapy dogs, pulling sleds and fly ball competitions. The Belgian Tervuren is still very rare in the United States.
Because they are such energetic dogs, they do need a yard that they can run around in and play. If they are going to spend any measurable amount of time outdoors, they will need some running room. Due to the heavy shedding, you may not want them spending every minute of the day in the house.
The Belgian Tervuren has a very harsh coat of medium to long length that consists of a straight black-tipped overcoat and then a dense under coat. Together they give an overlay appearance. There is thicker coat of hair on the rump and back of the legs. There is also a thicker pile of hair around the neck that looks like a collar. This shows up more on the male than the female.
They coat sheds daily and needs to be brushed regularly and they have an annual big shedding where they loose one coating and develop another. The texture of the hair is very course and straight and not at all wavy. This makes it easier to keep brushed and clean, as there is less chance for matting.
Although mahogany is the basic color, there have been some Tervuren that are sable or grey with white on the chin and muzzle. With the thick coat of hair and coloring, they sometimes resemble the longhaired German shepherd and are a beautiful dog.
The history of the Belgian Tervuren traces back to the 1880s when the Tervuren, German shepherd, French shepherds and Dutch shepherds were all called Continental Shepherd Dogs. In a 1891 a club called the Club du Chein de Berger Belge (aka Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was started to determine if there was one true shepherd dog belonging to Belgium. Veterinary professor Adolphe Reul, in charge of the research, determined that there was one consistent type of native shepherd dog, a square medium-sized dog that differed only by the length and color of hair. A year later, the CCBB (Belgium's version of the AKC) began petitioning for a breed status for this dog.
After a long process and into the beginning of the twentieth century, the dogs were finally acknowledged and broke down into divisions of Tervuren, Malinois and Laekenois. For awhile the breed dwindled out until after the war when they began importing and breeding first the Malinois and then the Tervuren into the United States. The first Tervuren was imported in the US in 1953 and finally acknowledged by the AKC in 1959. Today they are finally registered as a breed of their own.
The Belgian Tervuren was used during as guard dogs and sled dogs pulling the injured on carts as well as deliver messages. Today they are still used as police and guard dogs.
The Belgian Tervuren is an alert, intelligent loving dog that makes a wonderful pet. He wants to be entertained by his family or he will look for his own ways to have fun. He is very protective of his family and home. He will protect his home when his family is gone. When he meets strangers, he will be alert and on guard, but does not act aggressive. If you become his friend, you are his friend for life.
It is very important the Tervuren be socialized around other dogs and other people at a very young age. Proper socializing from a young age will help to prevent over aggressiveness or over shyness. If raised around young children, he makes a great playmate and watchdog. Because of his large size and energetic personality, he shouldn't be left alone with small children. Although, they are very protective and watchful of young children in the family and will not let outside harm come to them. The training should be firm, but not too harsh. They do need to know from the start what is expected of them.
If they are properly socialized with cats and other animals, they seem to get along great, although they have a tendency to be dominant with other dogs. Although, by nature they are very loving, loyal and intelligent, they are demanding dogs and need a firm hand or they can be very hard to control. It is important to realize, however, that dogs are like people in that they each have their own personalities and much of how they turn out as adults is a result of the training and socialization they had as pups.
Tervuren dogs are very loyal, bond to their family members, and are always watchful of them. They are quick to pick up on any strange situations in their surroundings. They are not quick to make friends with strangers, preferring their family and friends they know. They are not a recommended dog for first time dog owners because of their demanding personality. Those that own them say that you can tell the females from the males just from their behavior as the females act very feminine and the males act masculine.
The Belgian Tervuren doesn't have any real major Health concerns out of the ordinary for dogs of this breed or type. Some problems that have been seen are:
If planning on Breeding, pay close attention to the parents you intend to breed for signs of either type of excessive Behavior. This breed has a tendency to become obese and lazy, which is not healthy for dog, so be sure to not overfeed them.
Grooming is important to all dogs for a couple reasons. One reason is to make him look good and it's a way to possibly alert you to any unusual health problems in or on the skin. Another reason is this is a time for you and your dog to bond-just the two of you. It's important that you start grooming your dog when he is still a young pup so he gets used to the feeling and doesn't consider it a chore or something to fear.
The Belgian has a long, straight heavy outer coat of medium length and another dense coat underneath that needs to be brushed and combed daily, if possible. With such a large amount of thick hair, it easily is matted if it's neglected and not brushed with any regularity. Clip out any mats that form, specifically in the ruff and on the legs, also clipping hair between their toes. While you are doing this is a good time to clip their toenails as well. This dog is a heavy shedder and will require regular brushing with a thorough brushing at least once a week.
Keeping the ears clean and dry is very important for dogs, especially dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. Your Tervuren will not need to be bathed very regularly, but his ears should be clean and dry. If you do bathe him, ask you pet supply store to recommend a good shampoo or conditioner for your breed of dog. Your vet or pet supply store can also recommend some wipes or cleaning supplies for your dog. While you are cleaning your dog and brushing him, use this opportunity to check him for ticks, if prevalent in your area, or anything else unusual. He will love the extra one on one attention.
The Belgian Tervuren is a very active energetic dog and because of this, they require lots of exercise. It is used to being in the outdoors working and needs space to run and play off the leash. The kind of exercise a dog gets walking on a leash won't satisfy his desire for releasing energy. If you live near a tennis court or ball park, this would be a perfect place to take him and run with him or play catch. The Tervuren love to retrieve things and this is a great source of exercise. To avoid your Tervuren being bored at home and resorting to destructive behavior, you need to give him enough exercise to tire him out.
Because of their tendency to get obese and lazy if overfed, it is imperative that they get proper exercise to avoid that. Most dogs, like humans, slow down with age so it's up to the master to see that the dog is exercised regularly and vigorously especially if he's indoors all day while you work.
Training of the Belgian Tervuren is very important, as they are an energetic, active, intelligent dog that requires constant activity and need to be doing things. It is also important to begin the training at a young age when the dog is the easiest to work with. The Tervuren thrives on pleasing his master and will respond well to positive reinforcement. Because they are very sensitive to any change in the environment, the training should be consistent.
They do not take well to a leash, but need firm and loving treatment as part of their training. They need to know that you are the boss, but they need to know in a positive loving tone and they respond admirably. Once you begin the training of your puppy, obedience will be the first step. If you don't feel you have the time to do the training consistently, you may need to consult a professional trainer for assistance.
The Belgian Tervuren is too energetic to be allowed to run around untrained, not to mention letting all that intelligence and loyalty go to waste. Lure coursing is a great sport for the Belgian Tervuren that teaches them control and how to retrieve and they love participating. Agility is another sport that the Tervuren excels in and has placed in at AKC competitions.
Basic Obedience and Schutzund training go in steps from beginning to advanced and each step is consistent with the dog's age. It is very important for this dog to be given as much training as possible. With their background and personality traits, they are meant to serve and help people. Due to their sense of loyalty, they make excellent guard dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs and search and rescue just to name some of their accomplishments.