Belgian Tervuren

About the Breed

The Belgian Tervuren is one of the herding breeds developed within Belgium.  He is very much like the other three breeds, the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Sheepdog, and the Belgian Laekenois.  In fact, they are all considered basically the same breed of dog with minor differences such as coat length and color.

The Belgian Tervuren variation was traditionally used as a herding breed of dog, but as herding became less of a necessary institution, he (and the other versions) found work with the police and as family guardians.  Today he is an intelligent training companion able to compete in a variety of performance sports with high abilities.

Physical Characteristics

The Belgian Tervuren is a larger breed of dog at 22-26 inches tall.  Males are larger than females, and the average weight is about 40-80 or so pounds.  He is lighter boned like the other Belgian Shepherd dogs and is not a heavy or overly muscled breed of dog.  He should be square and evenly balanced.

The breed is double coated and has a soft, dense undercoat with a longer, straight-haired top coat.  The main difference between this breed and the Belgian Sheepdog is that the Tervuren is a rich mahogany with black overlay and black masking on the face, whereas the Sheepdog is black.

Personality

For those that love the breed, they find him to be a wonderful companion dog.  Belgian Turvuren are excellent family dogs and are good with all ages of people.  When raised with respectful children, he will watch the child as his own.  Indeed he is very loyal to all family members and is naturally protective with those he considers his family.

He wants to be with his family all the time and will follow them eagerly throughout the home.  He doesn’t do well with social isolation and craves family time.  He requires a good deal of exercise and playtime as he is an energetic breed that desires something to do.

The Belgian Tervuren can do very well with other animals in his family.  If he is raised with other animals like cats, he normally has no problems unless he has a higher prey drive instinct.  He generally does very well with other dogs as well although sometimes opposite sex pairings produce the fewest issues.

He is reserved and aloof with strangers until he determines that they are a friend.  With family he is very affectionate.

Training

The Belgian Tervuren does best when trained using positive reinforcement techniques.  He is a sensitive breed of dog that doesn’t handle harsh or punitive training methods.  These can break his spirit.  With the right training methods, he is an eager worker that is highly intelligent and desires to please his handler.

The breed does require a lot of early and ongoing socialization.  This is needed as a sensitive dog but is also required because he is naturally protective.  He needs to have a lot of experiences that help him later make good decisions.

The breed is highly intelligent and responsive to training.  He makes an excellent choice for someone wanting a training companion and can compete successfully in a variety of sports.

Shedding & Grooming

The Belgian Tervuren doesn’t require as much upkeep as one might think, but he should have weekly brushings with a pin brush to avoid tangles forming in his coat.  Otherwise, he will have seasonal shedding, which is heavier, but if you brush every week, you should be able to keep it under control.

He doesn’t require frequent baths, but he does need routine nail trims and toothbrushing.

Health & Life Expectancy

The average lifespan for a Belgian Turvuren is about 10-14 years of age.  He is a generally healthy breed of dog with a few health issues to be aware of:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Epilepsy

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