Belgian Tervuren

Temperament: Courageous, Alert, Intelligent

  • Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Herding Group 

The elegant, agile Belgian Tervuren is a bright and self-assured herding dog of medium size, known to be affectionate and possessive with loved ones. Lots of hard work and challenging play is heaven for this tireless, do-it-all dog.


The first impression of the Belgian Tervuren is that of a well-balanced, medium-size dog, elegant in appearance, standing squarely on all fours, with proud carriage of head and neck. He is strong, agile, well-muscled, alert and full of life. He gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male should appear unquestionably masculine; the female should have a distinctly feminine look and be judged equally with the male. The Belgian Tervuren is a natural dog and there is no need for excessive posing in the show ring. The Belgian Tervuren reflects the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. In addition to his inherent ability as a herding dog, he protects his master’s person and property without being overtly aggressive. He is watchful, attentive, and usually in motion when not under command. The Belgian Tervuren is a herding dog and versatile worker. The highest value is to be placed on qualities that maintain these abilities, specifically, correct temperament, gait, bite and coat.

About the Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is characterised by a straight and abundant coat, an elegant but muscular frame, a proudly carried head, an alert and intelligent demeanor, and an insatiable work drive. The Tervuren’s coat furnishings, like the sporty “collarette” around the neck, are more profuse on males, who run larger than females.

“Their intelligence and high activity level can be a challenge for the less creative individual who may not understand the breed’s need to work,” warns one longtime owner. But don’t get the idea that Tervurens are grim, mechanical worker drones. In fact, this breed takes real delight in their ability to master any task, and owners say a mischievous sense of humor is at work whenever Tervurens outsmart their beloved human.

NUTRITION The Belgian Tervuren  should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING The Belgian Tervuren has a double-layer coat, with a dense, protective undercoat covered by a harsher outer coat. For most of the year, all that’s required to groom him is a quick but thorough brushing once or twice a week with a pin brush and a slicker brush. During shedding season, however, which occurs at least once a year, these sessions expand to 15 or 20 minutes and may become a bit more frequent, and a rake is added to the toolkit to help remove all the dead hair. As with all breeds, the Terv’s nails should be trimmed regularly.

EXERCISE The Belgian Tervuren’s AKC standard says the breed is “always in motion, seemingly never tiring ….” So, yes, this is a dog who needs a lot of exercise every day. Lots of hard work and challenging play—preferably with his owner rather than by himself—are a Terv’s idea of heaven. This is not a breed for everyone, and a Terv owner should expect to spend a good amount of active quality time with his canine friend. Its strong herding instinct and quick intelligence make the breed suitable for any number of activities, including herding, agility, and obedience competitions, mushing and Schutzhund (protection) activities.

TRAINING Socialisation and obedience training are a must for the Belgian Tervuren. Exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. A Terv’s intelligence and independence can lead him into trouble if he’s not trained to channel his boundless energy into acceptable activities. Tervs tend to be play oriented and surprisingly sensitive, which means that harsh training methods seldom work, but turning the task into a game always does. Tervs take genuine delight in their ability to master a new task.

HEALTH The Belgian Tervuren is typically a healthy breed, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint; elbow dysplasia; progressive retinal atrophy, which causes vision loss and blindness; and epilepsy. As with all breeds, a Terv’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Elbow Evaluation
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  4. Thyroid Evaluation

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