Choosing a Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is a serious and watchful breed with a strong protective and territorial instinct. This breed excels as a police dog, search and rescue dog and natural guardian.

History and Origin

Throughout time, Belgians have used various dogs to help them in their herding tasks. Through breeding trial and error, they finally developed a dog that was agile, strong, intelligent and loyal. By 1891, these dogs were known as Belgian shepherds. Since that time, four separate versions of the Belgian shepherd have been developed. They have the same basic body type but with different coats. In Belgium and France these dogs are all registered as Chien de Berger Belge. They are considered one breed with four different varieties. In many other parts of the world, including the United States, each breed is considered separate and distinct. The Belgian Tervuren is one of them.

In addition to the Belgian tervueren (long coat any color but black), the other Belgian sheep herding dogs include the Belgian sheepdog or groenendael (long black coat), the Belgian Malinois (short, smooth coat) and the Belgian laekenois (wire coat). Of these, only the laekenois is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Belgian Tervuren, as with other Belgian shepherds, was developed in Belgium, in the city of Tervuren. This breed was created by breeding longhaired Malinois and fawn Groenendael and is an excellent police dog, search and rescue dog and war dog. Today, the breed is primarily a companion.

The four Belgian breeds were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1912 as sheepdogs in the herding group. In 1959, they were recognized by their individual breeds, except the laekenois. The first Tervuren was registered with the AKC in 1918.

Appearance and Size

The Belgian Tervuren is a well-muscled lean dog with a balanced, square body. On first impression, the breed looks similar to the German shepherd. The eyes are almond shaped and brown in color. The ears are triangular and erect and the muzzle is tapered but not pointy. The tail of the Belgian Tervuren is long and feathered.

The coat of the Belgian Tervuren is medium to long and straight with a dense undercoat and a ruff around the neck. This breed adapts to extremes in temperature well. The coat color is fawn to mahogany with black overlay and may have a small amount of white.

The adult Belgian Tervuren stands 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs 60 to 75 pounds.


The Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent dog with an instinctive protective nature that helps him excel in herding animals and guarding property. Most are affectionate and gentle but some can be shy or aggressive, especially if not adequately socialized as a puppy. The Belgian Tervuren makes an excellent guard dog.

Home and Family Relations

The Belgian Tervuren is an affectionate and loyal family pet that thrives on human companionship and lots of activity. Some can become overly protective of family members and do better in families with older children. As a herding breed, the Belgian Tervuren may try to herd small children during playtime. He can get along with other family pets if raised with them but may chase small pets and some can be dog aggressive. This breed prefers to live in a home with a large yard and an active family but may do okay in an apartment if taken on long frequent walks. But be aware that this is a high energy dog that may become destructive if not allowed frequent exercise.


The Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent breed that needs basic and advanced training as well as early socialization as a young puppy. This breed is naturally confident and assertive. For this reason, the Belgian Tervuren needs a firm but gentle hand and should not be allowed to dominate family members. This breed is easily taught a variety of tasks and enjoys having a job to do.

Special Care

The Belgian Tervuren needs lots of exercise and training or he may become uncontrollable and destructive. This breed does not like being left alone for long periods and may find unacceptable ways to alleviate his boredom. The Belgian Tervuren needs lots of socialization early in left to prevent behavioral problems such as shyness or aggression.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Belgian Tervuren is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

The Belgian Tervuren is also prone to allergies and obesity.

Life Span

The life span of the Belgian Tervuren is approximately 12 to 14 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.