The Belgian Tervuren, also known as the Belgian Shepherd dog, Chien de Berger Belge, and Tervuren, is a medium sized, well-balanced dog that stands squarely on its feet and is elegant in appearance. The square, slender, proportioned Tervuren has firm, powerful hind legs and a solid body, elegant in appearance. With catlike round feet on beautifully proportioned, straight front legs, the Belgian Tervuren moves with an elegant gait that makes the dog appear almost as if he floats as he moves.
A picture of grace and power, the Tervuren are devoted to their owner and family, loyal, courageous, intelligent and alert. This beautiful dog is affectionate and loves doing things with his master and family, demanding their attention and time. Guarded around people he does not know, he is loving, gentle, playful, and happy with family members. An extremely intelligent dog, the Belgian Tervuren is always aware of everything that goes on around him so makes an excellent watchdog and guard dog, always ready to protect its master and family.
The Belgian Tervurens are very energetic dogs that require a great deal of exercise and attention to work off some of their excess vim and vigor. Dogs that do not receive enough mental stimulation and physical exercise often find other things to do such as destroying property, barking, and soiling in the house.
They use these loyal, protective, very smart dogs for herding, police work, assistance dogs, search and rescue, and as therapy dogs. They also participate in many sports such as agility, herding, tracking, sledding, and agility.
A double coated breed, the Belgian Tervurens abundant medium to long, harsh outer coat is black-tipped and straight while their under coat is very soft, dense and provides the dog protection from the elements. The ears, head, and front of the dog’s legs have short hair while there is thicker, longer hair on the back of the thighs and front legs, tail, rump, and around the dogs neck, chest, and shoulders. Called a collarets, it looks like a mini-mane and is more obvious in the ornamental, beautiful looking male dogs. Thick guard hair covers their densely covered tails. The beautiful coat of the Tervuren is usually mahogany in color with a black mask and highlights although there are some dogs that have grey or sable coats with white hair on their muzzle and chin.
In the late 1800’s, they developed the Belgian Tervuren in Belgium when the Dutch shepherds, Tervuren, French Shepherds and the German shepherds were known as the Continental Shepherd Dogs. Belgian Tervuren dog lovers started the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club in 1891 to find out if Belgium actually had their own single shepherd dog. Adolphe Reul was the veterinary professor that headed research to determine this and what they discovered was that a medium-sized, square dog with hair a different color and length was consistent with the native shepherd dog. It was not until the start of the twentieth century that they finally recognized these dogs, which were broken down into Laekenois, Malinois, and Tervuren divisions. In 1953, they brought the first Belgian Tervuren to the U.S. and in 1959; the American Kennel Club recognized and registered the dog as their own breed.
An intelligent, protective, reserved, alert, obedient, and very active dog, Belgian Tervuren will make their own fun if their human companions do not keep them exercised, amused, and entertained. It is important to socialize your dog at an early age to keep it from becoming very nervous and shy or overly aggressive. The Belgian Tervuren is excellent with older family children especially when raised with them but because of their large size, should be supervised around young children. Tervurens need to be socialized and trained very carefully so they understand how to get along with other animals.
Hardy dogs, Belgian Tervurens have very few serious health concerns but some do have problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, anesthesia sensitivity, and thyroid problems. Laziness and obesity could become a problem if the Tervuren is overfed and does not receive sufficient exercise.
The Belgian Tervurens are double-coated dogs that shed so demand daily brushing and combing and even more often during shedding season. Not only does brushing your dog help prevent mats and remove dead or loose hair but gives you’re a chance to check the dogs skin for cuts, scratches, rashes, or other signs of infection or problems. Getting your dog used to you brushing and grooming him from an early age is not only a great bonding experience but makes it far easier on both you and the dog when its full grown. If the Belgian Tervuren does become matted, carefully clip and comb the tangles out. Keep the hair clipped between the dog’s toes and his toenails trimmed back every month or more often, if necessary. Examine your Belgian Tervurens ears, eyes and mouth for any odor, discharge, or other signs of problems such as infection. Bathe your pet only when necessary using a good quality shampoo made specifically for dogs.
A very energetic, busy animal that needs continual mental stimulation and physical exercise, this wonderful indoor dog does best with a safe fenced area or yard where it can play with his master and human family. Tervuren like to play catch, run, and retrieve things, which are wonderful exercises. Like all dogs, daily walks are important to not only burn off energy but also let the dog experience new sights, sounds, smells, and places.
Belgian Tervurens are extremely smart dogs that are highly trainable and not recommended for a first time dog owner. It is best to start training and socializing them at a very young age using only positive, consistent training methods. They have to understand that their owner is ‘top dog’ or boss. Tervuren require as much basic and advanced obedience training as possible because of their high energy level, intelligence, and love for being very busy. A well-trained dog can participate in family functions, understands how to behave in social situations, and are a pleasure to have as a companion.