One of four Belgian Sheepdogs, the Belgian Tervuren is often mistaken for a German Shepherd because they closely resemble each other in size, coat and color. It is pronounced Ter-VER-en. The Belgian Tervuren is recognized as its own breed by the AKC, but many countries consider all four Belgian Sheepdogs to be one breed even though there are noticeable differences in everything from coat to size to color.
Also known as a “Terv” by their owners, the Belgian Tervuren is named for the Belgian village of Tervuren. They were traditionally used as cattle and sheep herding dogs. They have also been used as police dogs and in narcotics detection, bomb detection, search and rescue and as therapy dogs. While two of the Belgian Sheepdogs are still used more as working dogs, the Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Groenendael are both seen more as companion dogs today.
They are a medium to medium large breed. They weigh between 45-75 pounds and are anywhere from 22″ to 27″ in height. They are an energetic, powerful breed that enjoys exercise and play. Because of their high energy and size, they are not ideal apartment dogs but are perfect for families with large yards or those who have access to parks or fields where they can run.
Their coat color is recognized by the AKC in the colors of a mahogany or fawn base with black tips, mask and ears. A small amount of white on nose, chest and chin is permissible. The long, straight, thick and harsh outer coat and soft dense undercoat needs daily grooming to prevent matting and knots. They shed throughout the year, but it is typically light shedding.
As a guard dog or family dog, the Belgian Tervuren is protective, loyal and highly intelligent. They are energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise and activity whether they are working on the farm or kept mainly as a companion dog. They need to be socialized and trained from an early age. The earlier they are introduced to children, dogs and other pets, the better they will do. They might be dominant towards other dogs. It is important to research a Belgian Tervuren’s history before making a purchase to ensure that there is no aggression found in their lineage. Give your Belgian Tervuren plenty to do and they will be happy. A bored Belgian Tervuren can be a bit destructive as they will find a way to fill their time.
If you are an energetic family looking for a dog that will enjoy activity and outside play, then the Belgian Tervuren is a perfect breed for you. They will match you step for step in running or walking. They will be protective of you and your home and make awesome watchdogs. If you are looking for a farm dog and family companion all rolled into one, any of the Belgian Sheepdogs including the Belgian Tervuren will be ideal for you.