Intelligent, courageous and alert, the Belgian Tervuren is marked by its devotion to work and family. Elegant in appearance, the Belgian Tervuren’s color is a rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay. The Terv owes its name to the Belgian village of Tervuren, the home of M.F. Corbeel, an early devotee of the breed. Excelling in obedience and agility competitions, this breed also makes an excellent therapy or guide dog for the disabled, as well as being outstanding at their original job of herding.
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.
According to standard, the Tervuren has almond shaped eyes and a moderate stop. His ears are triangular shape and stand stiff and erect. His back is straight and the tail as a slight curve when the dog moves, and held low when at rest. His feet are described as cat shaped.
The Belgian Tervuren has been recognized by the AKC since 1959 and is a member of the Herding Group.
Belgian Tervuren Temperament
Tervurens are highly energetic, intelligent dogs who require a job to keep them occupied. This can be herding, obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, or protection work. They are also found working as Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs, finding missing persons and avalanche victims. Tervurens that are not kept sufficiently busy can become hyperactive or destructive.
As companion animals, Tervurens are loyal and form strong bonds with their family, leading some to be shy around strangers. They are good watch dogs, being very observant and attentive to the slightest change in their environment. Some can be nervous, depending on breeding and early experiences, so care must be taken to adequately socialize Tervuren puppies to a wide variety of people and situations.
As with all the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, Tervurens are not generally recommended to first-time dog owners due to their high maintenance level.
Adult males are distinctly masculine and females are likewise feminine. Their appearance projects alertness and elegance. The breed is known for its loyalty and versatility. Those who own them, report being charmed by their intelligence, trainability, and, perhaps most of all, their sense of humor. They excel in many kinds of activities. Today the breed is still relatively rare in the United States, but it is well-established.
The Belgian Shepherd has a long, straight, heavy outer coat and a dense under coat that requires daily combing and brushing. Extra care should be given when the dog is shedding. Clip out mats that form, particularly in the ruff and on the legs, and clip hair from between the toes and on the outer ears. This breed is a seasonal, heavy shedder, shedding twice a year with some additional shedding throughout the year.
The history of the Belgian Tervuren traces back to the 1880s when the Tervuren, German shepherd, French shepherds and Dutch shepherds were all called Continental Shepherd Dogs. In a 1891 a club called the Club du Chein de Berger Belge (aka Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was started to determine if there was one true shepherd dog belonging to Belgium. Veterinary professor Adolphe Reul, in charge of the research, determined that there was one consistent type of native shepherd dog, a square medium-sized dog that differed only by the length and color of hair. A year later, the CCBB (Belgium's version of the AKC) began petitioning for a breed status for this dog.
After a long process and into the beginning of the twentieth century, the dogs were finally acknowledged and broke down into divisions of Tervuren, Malinois and Laekenois. For awhile the breed dwindled out until after the war when they began importing and breeding first the Malinois and then the Tervuren into the United States. The first Tervuren was imported in the US in 1953 and finally acknowledged by the AKC in 1959. Today they are finally registered as a breed of their own.
The Belgian Tervuren was used during as guard dogs and sled dogs pulling the injured on carts as well as deliver messages. Today they are still used as police and guard dogs.
Training of the Belgian Tervuren is very important, as they are an energetic, active, intelligent dog that requires constant activity and need to be doing things. It is also important to begin the training at a young age when the dog is the easiest to work with. The Tervuren thrives on pleasing his master and will respond well to positive reinforcement. Because they are very sensitive to any change in the environment, the training should be consistent.
They do not take well to a leash, but need firm and loving treatment as part of their training. They need to know that you are the boss, but they need to know in a positive loving tone and they respond admirably. Once you begin the training of your puppy, obedience will be the first step. If you don't feel you have the time to do the training consistently, you may need to consult a professional trainer for assistance.
The Belgian Tervuren is too energetic to be allowed to run around untrained, not to mention letting all that intelligence and loyalty go to waste. Lure coursing is a great sport for the Belgian Tervuren that teaches them control and how to retrieve and they love participating. Agility is another sport that the Tervuren excels in and has placed in at AKC competitions.
Basic Obedience and Schutzund training go in steps from beginning to advanced and each step is consistent with the dog's age. It is very important for this dog to be given as much training as possible. With their background and personality traits, they are meant to serve and help people. Due to their sense of loyalty, they make excellent guard dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs and search and rescue just to name some of their accomplishments.
Generally healthy, but Tervurens can have a susceptibility to hip dysplasia, epilepsy, gastric problems (including bloats and tortions) and some eye and skin problems.