Belgian Tervuren

A Large, Beautiful, Long-Haired Guard Dog and Devoted Companion

Belgian Tervuren

A Large, Beautiful, Long-Haired Belgian Shepherd Guard Dog and Devoted Companion

The Belgian Tervuren, which gets its name from a Belgian village, is part of the breed family known as Belgian Shepherds. The AKC has recognized the name Belgian Tervuren since 1960, although some breed standards simply classify it as one of the variations of the Belgian Shepherd. In its home country, it is known as the Chien de Berger Beige, with a coat color and length classified as "long-haired other than black."


Bred to be an "all-purpose" guard and herding dog for rural Belgian farmers, the Tervuren’s ancestors date back to before the Industrial Age. Shepherds needed a medium-sized dog that was strong, attentive, a consummate "helper" with plenty of stamina to keep up with the demands of daily life. The dog they developed possessed all of the desired traits, including beauty, loyalty, and an exceedingly diligent and intelligent work ethic. After the Industrial Revolution, the farm dog became less important, but the Belgian Tervuren maintained its status as a beloved family companion and pet. The Belgian Tervuren is one of four Shepherd Dog varieties that originate from Belgium; the others include the Laekenois (rough coat, fawn colored), Malinois (fawn and mahogany short coat, black mask), and the Belgian Sheepdog or Groenendael (with a long, black coat).

The Tervuren name designation comes from the village of Tervuren in Belgium, where M.F. Corbeel made his home. He bred "Tom" and "Poes," the parents of the breed, both fawn-colored, who had a female offspring named "Miss”; she was in turn bred with "Duc de Groenendael," a black male. Their offspring, the fawn-colored “Milsart,” earned the honor of being the first Tervuren champion in 1907.

The Belgian Shepherd Club was established in 1891, with Professor Adolphe Reul documenting exhibitions to determine breed type. The first breed standard was established in 1893, with the breed recognition by the Societe Royale Saint-Hubert in 1901.

Once the Belgian Shepherd breed was established, a few aficionados devoted themselves specifically to the Tervuren Shepherd, with breeding continuing modestly until after World War II. The AKC registered its first Tervuren in 1918, although by the time of the Depression, the breed was no longer recognized in the AKC Studbook. In 1953, these "blackened fawn long-haired dogs" were imported once again, but prior to 1959, the breed was not shown as the Belgian Tervuren but as simply "Belgian sheepdogs." In 1960, the AKC finally gave the Belgian Tervuren its own distinct breed designation and today is classified as a member of the Herding Group.


Beautiful and elegant, these "blackened fawn long-haired dogs" have a double coat: a top coat with long straight hair that feels somewhat coarse and a dense, soft undercoat that provides protection from the weather. The thickness of the undercoat is determined by the climate of residence. Although the hair is short on the head and on the front of the legs, there are tufts of hair over the ear openings and long hair on the rest of the body including a short "mane" of sorts called a "collarette" around the neck. Tervurens also have long hair fringes down the backs of the thighs and front legs, as well as on the tail. Males generally have longer fringes than females, and as with many species, are in general more striking in appearance.

The coat color is fawn with black fur covering the rest of the fur, which comes in shades ranging from fawn to mahogany/russet in color and a black or black-and-gray chest. There is almost always a black mask, black tail tip, and black ears. In adulthood, Belgian Tervurens stand 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 60 and 75 pounds.


Bright and obedient, this is a working dog at heart. Determined, very protective and even territorial, Tervurens that are not well socialized can become shy or very sensitive. This breed will become utterly devoted to you once it gets to know you, and makes a great family dog and companion. Loyal, alert and watchful, this is also an excellent guard dog. Active and energetic, the Belgian Tervuren will need to be kept occupied. Quiet indoors, the breed is nonetheless happiest in a house (rather than an apartment) with a yard.

You will need to adopt an alpha-dog attitude around your pet at all times, because this is a dog that wants and needs a master, whose strong leadership will provide the guidance the dog needs. It will be very gentle with your children as long as you expose your puppy from an early age to many social situations and circumstances to teach it proper etiquette. It is advised that you enroll this type of dog in obedience classes as soon as you bring it home. If your pet is not taught acceptable behavior through consistent and patient discipline, this dog can become very difficult to control.

One thing to note about the Tervuren is that if you fail to teach it respect for your leadership, it may adopt instinctive "herding behavior." Although it may look amusing to see your pet circling your children, pets, and even other people, it is important to restrict such instinctive behavior by your dog. Although Tervurens are not necessarily aggressive, you still must maintain full control at all times. Because your pet was bred to be a herding animal, this tendency can take over – undesirably so for the human members of your family – and must be addressed immediately.

Finally, be certain to adopt your dog from a reputable breeder who will allow you to choose the friendliest and most outgoing puppy from the litter.


This is an exceedingly healthy breed, although it can have difficulties with common canine conditions such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, elbow dysplasia, and epilepsy. Your breeder should be able to give you clearances for your puppy's parents for hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and elbow dysplasia. Should your pet develop epilepsy, seizures can be mild or severe and the cause is sometimes but not always hereditary. The long-term prognosis for pets diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy is good and seizures can be controlled with medication. Your pet can live a long and healthy life.

Finally, and unfortunately, this is a breed that can develop gastric torsion or bloat, which can be fatal within an hour of onset. If your pet shows extreme distress, has a hard distended belly, or tries to vomit unsuccessfully, rush to a vet for treatment immediately. Surgery is usually recommended. You can prevent this condition by providing your dog with smaller meals several times a day and restricting vigorous activity after eating.

Life expectancy is 12 to 14 years, a very long time for such a relatively large breed.


With a thick double coat, regular brushing is absolutely necessary, at least once or twice a week. Your pet will shed profusely once or twice a year, and is a light shedder otherwise. Bathe only when necessary. Clip mats that can form on the legs and "collar" particularly. Trim toenails and the hair between the toes and on the outer ears as well.


Adopt a Belgian Tervuren.

Retrieved September 21, 2013.

AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Belgian Tervuren.

Retrieved September 21, 2013.

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren). 29.

Retrieved September 21, 2013.

Belgian Tervuren.

Retrieved September 21, 2013.

Belgian Tervuren (Belgian Shepherd Tervuren) (Tervuren) (Chien de Berger Belge).

http://www.dogbreedinfo. com/belgiantervueren.htm.

Retrieved September 21, 2013.

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