The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd dog is a veritable combination of brains and beauty! This is an intelligent and fun-loving working dog and it’s striking good looks will make you want to parade it around in a show ring!
The Tervuren makes for a wonderful companion, protector and family dog. However, it is not ideal for weak-willed or couch potato pet owners. This dog breed wants action action action!!
A Brief History of the Belgian Tervuren Dog Breed
The Belgian Tervuren is one of four Belgian Shepherd dogs. These four herding breeds were originally considered to be one breed, the Chiens de Berger Belge.
However, in the late 1800s, the Club du Chien de Berger Belge (Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) formed to determine what kind of dogs were truly representative of Belgian sheepdogs.
Subsequently, four varieties (based on the appearance of their coat) were identified.
- The Belgian Malinois has a short fawn-mahogany coat with a black mask.
- Belgian Groenendaels have long black coats.
- The Belgian Laekenois has a rough/wiry coat, usually fawn in color.
- Belgian Tervurens have long coats, fawn-mahogany, with a black mask.
Although the Belgian herding dog has been protecting farms and shepherding stock for centuries, it was only in 1901 that the Belgian Shepherd Dog (encompassing all four varieties) was recognized as a breed by the Belgian version of the American Kennel Club (Societe Royale Saint-Huberte).
On the other side of the pond, it was only in 1959 that the Tervuren was recognized as a separate breed by the AKC.
The Tervuren takes its name from the small Belgian village of Tervuren. This village was home to M.F Corbeel who bred Tom and Poes. These two fawn-colored dogs were believed to be the foundation of this breed.
The two world wars usually show a dramatic decline in numbers of dogs within a breed. The versatile, hard-working Tervuren was, however, put to work. The jobs that they were given included being messengers, pulling ambulance carts and being Red Cross dogs.
Medium Sized Belgian Dog Breeds? Average Tervuren Size and Weight!
According to their breed standard, the Tervuren is a medium-sized dog with an elegant, yet muscular build. The wedge-shaped head is carried proudly. They have dark-brown, slightly almond-shaped eyes with an intelligent and inquisitive expression. Their triangular-shaped ears are always pricked to attention.
Adult male Tervs weigh in at 55 – 75 pounds (25 – 35 kg) and measure to a height of 24 – 26 inches (60 – 65 cm) at the shoulder.
Adult females are finer, weighing in at between 45 and 60 pounds (20- 27 kg). They usually reach a shoulder height of 22 – 24 inches (55 – 60 cm).
Their Beautiful Coats and Colors!
The Belgian Tervuren has a long, rich, double coat. A generous top coat (or guard coat) of long straight hair covers the dense and soft undercoat. The thickness of the undercoat depends on the climate in which the Terv puppy is raised.
These sheepdogs adapt well to different climates. The hair on the head, the front of the legs, and the outside of the ears is short. On the rest of the body, however, the hair is long. A min-mane or collarette forms around the neck. This is more pronounced in the males.
Like the Malinois, the color of the Terv’s coat ranges from fawn to russet mahogany with a black overlay. The face has a black mask. The chest, tail, and ears are black too.
What are Their Grooming Requirements?
Being a double-coated dog, the Tervuren sheds continuously. Regular, 10-15-minute grooming sessions 2-3 times per week should keep loose hair under control and off your couch!
Males usually shed their entire coat once per year and females after each heat cycle. Expect to groom more frequently at these times. For regular grooming, a pin brush and a slicker brush will be sufficient. For the shedding season, a rake comb might be a good idea to assist in removing the loose hair.
Temperament and Personality: What to Expect!
The Belgian Tervuren breed is intelligent and vigilant. This makes it an excellent watchdog that will not attack without reason. Their protective instincts will extend to human and animal family members as well as their property.
At the same time, the Terv is a very affectionate and devoted dog. They make for super family dogs but are more suited to families with older children who will treat them with respect. These herders get along with other family pets that they have been raised with. However, their herding instinct will kick in when they see smaller fluffy objects on the run!
This is by no means a backyard dog! The Belgian Shepherd is a working dog, and a highly intelligent one at that. Your Terv will need a great deal of time and attention. Lots of mental stimulation is essential to keep this doggo engaged.
Play games, give food puzzle toys and take part in training classes. A Tervuren is eager to please and loves to learn new things. These herding dogs have a lovely sense of humor, and they even delight in outsmarting their owner every so often!
As with most dogs, positive reinforcement training is the most rewarding way to do obedience training, and any other type of training you are considering for you and your Tervuren. Being such versatile dogs, one can train them in agility, herding, tracking, search and rescue, as therapy dogs and even for sledding.
Early socialization and obedience training are essential in forming a well-balanced, happy dog. Start with socialization classes as soon as possible. Expose your Terv puppy to as many different places and faces as you can so that they get a good sense of what is right and wrong in our society.
What is Their Lifespan?
A healthy Tervuren dog can live for 10 – 12 years. Be sure to feed your Terv pup a well-balanced, veterinary approved diet. Plenty of play and exercise is important to keep this dog both mentally and physically fit.
Don’t forget to take your dog for annual vet checks and keep important vaccinations up to date. Follow a thorough anti-pest regime to prevent unnecessary discomfort and allergies arising from pest infestations such as worms and fleas.
4 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of!
The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd is generally a healthy breed of dog. However, like all breeds, there are some conditions and diseases that this breed is prone to. Most dogs will never show signs of any of these conditions. Yet it is important to be aware of them and know their symptoms so that you can react timeously.
1. Hip Dysplasia. This condition is prevalent amongst most medium and large breed dogs. It is a congenital (inherited) disease in which the thigh bone doesn’t fit well inside the socket of the hip joint. In severe cases, dogs will show pain and be lame in one or both of their hind legs. With age, arthritis can develop.
2. Elbow Dysplasia. Sadly, this is another congenital bone disease that is found mostly in large breed dogs. It is thought to be caused by the three bones that comprise the elbow, growing at different rates. This causes joint laxity (looseness).
3. Epilepsy. This disorder can cause mild or grave seizures. Seizures are characterized by frantic running, hiding, or staggering. Epilepsy can be controlled with the correct medication.
4. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This degenerative eye disorder is caused by a gradual dying off of the rod cells (light receptors) in the retina. Regular vet checks will assist in the detection of this condition long before any signs of blindness occur.
Belgian Tervuren Puppies for Sale!
If you are looking for a loyal protector, and an energetic and enterprising companion, the Belgian Shepherd might be the right dog for you. Have a look online for local breeders’ clubs or ask at your local vet or pet store for details of Tervuren breeders.
The sites of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Belgian Tervuren Club (ABTC) are good places to start your search.
Be Sure to Get Your Puppy from a Reputable Breeder!
Don’t be the person that supports an irresponsible breeder simply breeding puppies for financial gain. Do your due diligence about the breed and potential breeders before deciding to get a puppy.
You have a responsibility and commitment towards your canine friend for the next 10 -14 years. Be sure that you can give them the best kind of life that they deserve. This starts with choosing the right breeder. A responsible breeder will only breed with healthy dogs who have well-balanced personalities.
A reputable dog breeder will be happy to answer all your dog health related questions. They will present you with the necessary checks and certifications. Puppies bred and raised in homes are generally healthier and more well-adjusted. Insist on seeing where the puppies are being raised as well as meeting their parents.
Adopt! Don’t Shop! Ask a Local Animal Shelter About Tervuren Rescues!
Puppies are hard work. Sometimes it makes sense to take a shortcut past all that potty training and chewing! Choose an adult dog instead.
As with most breeds, there are many Belgian Tervuren rescue groups that will be happy to unite you with a Terv that will be best suited to your lifestyle.
Common Questions About the Belgian Tervuren
Are Tervuren Good Family Dogs?
How Much Exercise Does a Tervuren Need?
Are Belgian Tervuren Good Guard Dogs?
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