About The breed

Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Groenendael

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is one of four breeds of the commonly referred to Belgian Shepherd. The Belgian breeds are: Tervuren, Groenendael (Sheepdog), Malinois, and Laekenois.

The Tervuren is a herding dog and versatile worker. The highest value is to be placed on qualities that maintain these abilities, specifically correct structure, temperament, gait, bite and coat.

The first impression of the Belgian Tervuren is that of a medium-size dog with proud carriage of head and neck, elegant in appearance. The height and length of the body are equal, unlike the extended bodies of German Shepherds. It is strong, agile, well-muscled, alert and full of life. The male should appear unquestionably masculine; the female should have a distinctly feminine look and somewhat smaller stature.

The Belgian Tervuren reflects the qualities of intelligence, courage, and devotion to master without being overtly aggressive. It is watchful, attentive, and usually in motion when not under command.


Height: Males 24-26;” Females 22-24”

Weight: Males 50-65 lbs.; Females 40-55 lbs.

Structure: Square (length & height at withers relatively equal), straight topline, proud carriage with beautifully arched neck

Coat: Moderately long, abundant coat; Requires regular brushing

Color: Russet Mahogany to Rich Fawn with Black overlay (guard hairs) *

Temperament: Courageous, Alert, Intelligent, Loyal, Affectionate

Energy Level: High, active, athletic; needs physical & mental exercise

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

* Sometimes grey or cream color (Refer to the Breed Standard)

Physical Appearance

There are few breeds more physically striking than the graceful and elegant Belgian Tervuren. Its signature characteristic is a beautifully arched neck leading to a strong, level back/topline. Dark, intelligent eyes gaze from a black-masked face.

The head is elegant and long, without being excessively so, and is accentuated by high-set, erect ears of small to medium size. The topline of the muzzle is parallel to the topline of the skull when viewed from the side. The skull cap should be flat (not rounded) and equal length to the muzzle, measured from the stop.

The body is evenly proportioned so that its length is approximately equal to its height at the withers. At rest the tail is held low, the tip bent back level with the hock. When in action, the tail may be raised to a point level with the topline giving it a slight curve, but not a hook. The tail is not carried above the topline nor turned to one side. The total visual effect of the ideal dog is that it is perfectly balanced and stands squarely on all four feet.

Belgian Tervuren have an abundant double coat with a long, straight outer coat and dense undercoat. The fur is somewhat harsh to the touch, but not overly so. Extra hair around the neck forms a 'collarette,' particularly on mature males. Base coat colors range from warm fawn to fiery mahogany, overlaid with a veil of black. The underbelly and leg fringes are typically a lighter shade of the same base color.

Males should range is height from 24”-26” and typically weigh between 50-65 lbs. Females should appear feminine with heights ranging from 22”-24” and weights between 40-55 lbs.

Because the Tervuren is a herding dog, it moves with a light, tireless, reaching gait that appears to be effortless. "Floating" is a word often used to describe it. This movement is reflective of the work requirements of a herding dog, which demands that the animal be capable of performing for long hours without rest in harsh weather or rough terrain.

The Breed Standard describes the Tervuren in detail.


The Tervuren is highly individualistic. Some are very energetic, while others might best be described as mellow. In general, however, there are some characteristics which should be possessed by every Tervuren.

Most importantly, the dog must be stable, not showing viciousness when unprovoked. It is observant and cautious with strangers, but not apprehensive, shy or fearful. A Terv should be confident and approachable, standing its ground to meet overtures without it making them. With those it knows well, the Tervuren is most affectionate and friendly, eager for attention and very possessive.

Since Tervs are very protective of their family members, they do best with early socialization to learn most strangers are not a threat. You should expect your Tervuren to be a companion which is highly intelligent, happy, and responsive to you and your family. You should expect devotion and watchfulness.

Living With A Tervuren

The Tervuren’s intelligence, trainability, protective instincts, and devotion make it an ideal companion for those willing to devote spending daily time with their pets. Playful in nature, Tervurens excel in all types of sports but can be just as entertained playing backyard frisbee or fetch. Mischief can happen, though, when constantly left to their own entertainment.

Tervuren breed character has a strong chase instinct which can put the dog in risky situations, so a fenced yard is necessary for the Terv's own well-being.

The Breed Standard states a Tervuren is usually in motion when not under command. Take that description to heart if you are considering a Terv. However, these charmers love spending time with their family and can spend the evening snuggled up on a couch.

Training & Activities

Tervuren are well suited to just about any dog sport or activity you can teach, including agility, flyball, herding, obedience, rally, search and rescue, and tracking. Begin socialization and training early to make the most of the Belgian Tervuren's intelligence, rapid learning ability, and drive.

Also, its quick intelligence, stamina, and agility ideally suit it to an extraordinary array of services. It is used as a guide for the blind and the deaf, as helper for the handicapped, as a search and rescue dog, including avalanche rescue work, as sentry and courier in wartime, and as a tracking dog. Finally, it is a conscientious and talented babysitter.


Today the breed is still relatively rare in the United States, but it is well-established. Tervuren may be found in the rings of many all-breed shows and performance trials. There are local clubs that host supported and licensed specialty shows, and there is an annual national specialty show, sponsored by the American Belgian Tervuren Club (ABTC). The rare versatility of the Belgian Tervuren is the inspiration for the ABTC's motto, "A well-balanced Tervuren has a CH (championship) on one end and a UDT (Utility Dog Tracker) on the other."

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