The Belgian Tervuren is considered to be the most elegant among the other three Belgian sheepdogs which encompass the Belgian Groenendael, the Belgian Malinois and the Belgian Laekenois. This is an intelligent, versatile breed that loves to be involved with your every day tasks.
The terv was selectively bred in Belgium in the late 1800s to be a herding dog. The name Tervuren, was taken from the Belgian village where M. F. Corbeel, a devotee who bred the foundation stock of the breed, resided. Prior to the Industrial Age,this breed was popular among Belgian farmers of Belgium in need for a versatile herding and guard dog. Along with the Belgian Malinois, Tervs were the first dogs utilized by the Belgian police and they won many prizes at international police dogs trials. They also made wonderful draught dogs and guard dogs. With the beginning of World War I,Tervs were used as messenger dogs and carting dogs for injured soldiers. After the war, several American soldiers brought some specimens abroad with them, but by the 1930s’ during the Depression era their numbers became quite scarce. It wasn’t until 1953 that more of them were imported. Different breed standards may classify this breed as a breed on its own or as a variation of the Belgian sheepdog. In 1959, the American Kennel Club considered Tervs as a separate breed from the other Belgian sheepdogs and was categorized under the herding group.
This is an elegant dog that boasts a long coat ranging from fawn to russet mahogany in color with black markings. A Terv’s face with a complete absence of black is considered a serious fault. Some hairs are tipped with black.The coat is slightly harsh to the touch. This dog stands between 21 and 26 inches at the withers and weighs between 40 and 70 pounds. The hair is longer around the neck and much more distinctive in males. There are tufts of hair in the ears to protect them. The tail may have a black tip. Puppies tend to darken as they age. The tips of the toes may have white hairs. Over all, this dogs stands squarely on all fours. Males look masculine, females are more feminine.
As the other Belgian sheepdogs, the Terv is highly intelligent and very active. This breed has an innate predisposition to be protective of people and property. With is family, he’s affectionate but craves attention. This breed loves to play and may engage in clownish behavior. This breed should be confident and not show fear or shyness, shyness can be become a problem in under socialized Tervs. Naturally vigilant and alert, this breed makes an excellent watchdog.
The Ideal Household
This breed needs an owner who has the time and commitment to keep this breed exercised and mentally stimulated. This is a breed that loves to be involved with you and hates being left alone for prolonged periods of time. Leave him alone too long and he may get destructive or develop separation anxiety. Tervs are in constant motion eager to wait for you to give them something to do..Take your Terv along for jogging, hikes and long walks. Make sure you can give this breed at least an hour of exercise each day along with ample of mental stimulation.This is a breed that must go to an experienced dog handler. A fenced yard is a must as this breed tends to want to chase critters and the occasional joggers, but don’t keep here there and forget about him; this breed may run in circles from boredom and is happiest indoors with his family. Being a high-maintenance dog, sd with other Belgian shepherds, this breed should go to an experienced handler.
With other dogs, this breed tends to get along, and if you have other animals, he should be introduced to them from an early age. Will Tervs may accept your cat, all other cats and animals coming to visit your yard will likely be chased. With children a well-socialized Terv may get along well, but keep in mind this breed’s predisposition to herd which may entail chasing and nipping running children. Some Tervs do best in a home with older children. Never leave a child and dog unsupervised.
While today most Tervs are kept as family dogs, they still need to have a job to do. Not many are utilized as herders anymore, but their work is replaced with other activities such as police work, therapy dog work, obedience training. He’s an active participant in many doggy sports such as agility, sledding, Treibball and tracking. This breed has an innate predisposition to chase, and without a flock of sheep to herd, may redirect his instinct into chasing cars, bikes, joggers and animals. This breed is an independent thinker that will require motivation through positive-based techniques. This breed is predisposed to learning through play. Getting upset and frustrated and using corrections may damage this sensitive dog’s soul. Yet, along with employing gentle techniques, you’ll have to be firm and consistent at the same time. Make sure you have a sturdy fence, many Tervs given the opportunity will be determined to chase even out of their property lines. Make sure to socialize this breed as some under-socialized specimens may be nervous around people or new situations.
Blessed with a double-coat, this breed will shed year round. Make sure you have time to brush him to prevent stray hours from taking over your home. The coat naturally sheds dirt and debris and is generally not much prone to matting.
This breed is predisposed to the following health conditions: hip dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Elbow Dysplasia,bloat, Epilepsy. Life span averages 12 to 14 years.
Where to get one:
Belgian Tervuren Rescue Inc.
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Belgian Tervuren.
American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc.
Belgian Tervuren Rescue Inc.