Belgian Tervuren – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Do you want to know why Belgian Tervuren is such a unique dog? Read on and discover what makes this breed so superb.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
21 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
40 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Belgian Tervuren is part of a herding family native to Belgium. This is definitely not a breed for first time owners, due to their higher energy levels.

In fact, this breed is so unique and so active, that the Belgian Tervuren’s breed standard says that he is “always in motion unless under command.” when such fair warning comes from a breed standard you should take is seriously, and doublethink if this breed is for you.

Bear in mind that many dogs end up in local animal shelters because their owners could handle owning a specific breed.

Always do your research on the breed first and once you are sure that a specific breed is for, and that you have enough time and energy to invest in that breed, then you can get a dog.

Getting the Belgian Tervuren is defintiely soemthgin that shoudl be taken ligtlhy. This breed is one of four related varieties of a Belgian herding breed.

In Belgium, these breeds are all considered to be a single breed. So, what makes this breed different compared to causing breed? The Belgian Tervuren separates from other varieties by its coat length and color. Let’s see first what are the basic info on this breed that you be aware of.

Quick Facts

Real name: Belgian Shepherd
Other names: Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Sheepdog
Common Nickname: Terv
Origin: Belgium
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 40 to 70 pounds
Height: 21 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 6 – 10 puppies
Color: Varies by variety
Coat: Varies by variety

Belgian Tervuren History

Belgian Tervuren got his name from the village of Tervuren in Belgium. As for the recorded history of the breed, we don’t know much. In fact, the world can learn about this breed mostly from records written in the late 1800s.

This breed was probably busy herding for centuries before a huge milestone happened in 1891. In 1891, Belgian herding dogs were finally divided into types and given names.

In 1893, the Belgium Tervuren got his standard, while the Society Royale Saint-Hubert recognized the breed in 1901. Tom and Poes are considered to be the breed’s foundation dogs, and they were bred by M.F. Corbell, one of the breeds earlier breeders, who lived in Tervuren.

Tom and Poes produced Miss, who gave birth to Milsart, the breed’s first champion in 1907. The American Kennel Club registered its first Tervuren in far 1918, but interest in the breed was extremely low. The interest in the breed was so low that by the 1930s Tervuren were no longer seen in the AKC studbook.

Somehow, the breed managed to survive two world wars in Europe, and in 1953 Belgian Tervuren were again imported into the United States.

AKC recognized the Belgian Tervuren in 1959 as a distinct breed, and the now interest in the breed was noticeable. Today, the Belgian Tervuren ranks 108th among the dogs registered by the AKC.

Belgian Tervuren Physical Appearance

The Belgian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed that is highly athletic. This breed was bred to be strong. They usually stand between 22 and 26 in, with biotches being on average 1.6 in shorter than males.

Terv usually weighs between 44 and 66 Ib. According to breed’s standards, the Belgian Shepherd should have 24 in for dogs and 23 in for bitches. The body is muscular and elegant. Overall, the body is compact and well-balanced.

The breed has three coat varieties:

  • Long-haired. This type of coat is long and smooth, with short hair on their faces.
  • Short-haired. This type of coat is short on the face, ears, and over the rest of the body. Their coat is slightly longer on the neck and tail.
  • Rough-haired. This type of coat is dry, rough, and usually 2.4 in long over the body. Unlike the other coat types, this coat type has long hair on the face and muzzle.

To understand better the appearance of this breed, its important to understand the breed’s varieties:

  • The Groenendael is a long-haired variety, with a black double coat. The outer coat is straight and long around the shoulders, chest, and neck. The hair on the face is short, while the legs and tail are well feathered.
  • The Laekenois is rough-haired variety, with coat fawn in colour. The overall coat is slightly tangled in appearance. Feathering is limited on the legs and tail.
  • The Malinois is probably the most famous variety of Belgian Shepherds. Famous Malinoisis short-haired, fawn in color with black overlay, and a well-known charcoal-colored face and body extremities.
  • The Tervuren is a long-haired variety, with a double coat which is usually fawn in color. This variety has a black overlay and black extremities. There are also those who are grey with black, but rarely.

Belgian Shepherds are a highly intelligent breed. They are alert, active, and highly sensitive. This is one of the best breeds to train, as long as you have enough training experience.

Belgian Shepherds have a strong guarding instinct making them highly protective of their family and property. These same instincts make them a great choice for security services.

The Groenendael and Tervueren varieties have a reputation of being snappy, which makes them less suitable as companion dogs for children.

Still, no matter which dog breed you might have, make sure that you educate your children on how to behave around dogs.

Your children should know:

  • Not to disturb a dog while eating, sleeping, or drinking water
  • Not to pul dog’s tail
  • Not to poke or yell at the dog
  • Not to make sudden moves near dogs
  • How to walk a dog on a leash
  • To know general traits of dog’s psychology
  • How to react when dogs get into a fight/or to recognize moments of thinking about it

If you want a variety that gets along with children perfectly, then you should think about getting the Laekenois. However, they can be troublesome with other dogs, which is why they are the best choice for a single dog home.

The Belgian Shepherd responds well to training and enjoys it. However, to have a well-behaved Belgian Shepherd, you should invest in training, both your time and energy.

They need early socialization and well-structured training, particularly with the Laekenois which can have a tendency to try to dominate a weaker-willed master.

Every variety of the breed is active, with Malinois being the most active one. Still, they all require exercise, they all adapt well to indoors, with Malinois having the biggest need to be exercised often.

Belgian Tervuren Training

Just like with any other dog breed, you need to provide proper training and early socialization. These two factors are the only two things that can make a well-behaved canine citizen.

Exposing your puppy to new places, sounds, smells, and situations will help you develop a dog who is open, outgoing, and fearless. This is also a great way to build a dog’s independence.

Make sure that you puppy-proof your home and proveir peroper traingin sessions.

Since this isn’t a breed for first time dog owners, you should provide training sessions that are:

  • Well-organized
  • Short
  • Fun, and
  • Packed with snacks

This breed tends to be active and sensitive, which means that he might get into trouble if he is not trained to channel his energy the right way.

This also means that harsh training methods do not work, but more game-focused training sessions.

If you feel that you need help with training sessions, think about attending puppy classes, and hiring a professional dog trainer.

This breed will be happy with having a task to do. Think about dog sport, like agility to help him get that energy out.

Belgian Tervuren Exercise

As mentioned earlier, the Belgian Tervuren is an active bred who seems never tiring. This is a dog who needs a lot of exercise every day. They love challenges and having a job to do.

If you are sure that this breed is for you, make sure that you spend a fair amount of active quality time outdoors.

This breed may need up to two hours of exercise every day. Due to this strong exercise need, you should think about dog sports options.

Encourging your Terv to participate in dog sport is a great way to fulfill their exercise needs and make the bond with the owner stronger.

They will still be happy to relax on the couch at the end of the day. All in, they need an owner who will prioritize exercise.

Belgian Tervuren Grooming

This breed has a fantastic coat and fur that is in the face double layer coat – which has to go somewhere. Samuel said you will have to brush your Terv frequently.

Make sure that you have the best grooming tools on hand. Use grooming time as a special moment to bond with your Terv.

Brushing should be done at least once a week and should be regular. The rest is regular grooming:

How long should brushing last? As a general rule, it should last between 15 to 20 minutes. Should you focus specifically on certain grooming tools? Yes, you should.

Include the following tools into your grooming kit:

  • Slicker brush
  • Undercoat rake
  • Mat comb
  • Pin brush

You can expect heavy shedding once or twice a year. During the shedding season, you should have more frequent brushing sessions to keep that fur off your carpets and couch.

If he rolls into something stinky you should bathe him with only dog shampoo, others they dont need frequent baths.

Dogs don’t have the same pH skin value as humans do and they dont need frequent baths, in fact, the less bath the better.

Provide foods that promote teeth health.

Belgian Tervuren Health

Belgian Tervurens are generally healthy dogs. At least that’s the case if you are dealing with responsible dog breeders. If you get yourself into a puppy mill, just walk away.

If you are not allowed to see the entire litter, check the facilities, meet dog parents or at least the birth, and you are not presented with any medical documentation you should know that you are standing in the middle of puppy mills, and you should walk away.

The only way to be sure that you are getting indeed a healthy dog is to work with responsible breeders. They will always screen dogs for the most common health issues within the breed and provide you with medical documentation.

Still, being too cautious cannot harm you, and you should take your Terv to the vet’s office as soon as you get home. This is a great way to teach your puppy not to be scared of the veterinarian.

If you are getting a senior dog or an adult dog, you should still have the same process. Always take your dog to the vet’s office. Common health problems in this breed include:

Still, prevention is the best key when it comes to Terv’s health. Provide regular veterinarian check-ups, regular vaccination, and nutrition if you want your Terv to live a long and healthy life.

The Bottom Line

Belgian Shepherd Dogs come in four varieties, and if you are sure that the Belgian Tervuren is for you if you want a large dog who is powerful, but also elegant.

If you want a dog who is excellent when it comes to performance activities and is observant with strong protective instinct, then a Belgian Shepherd may be right for you.

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