Everything You Need to Know About the Belgian Tervuren

Posted by Allie Layos
Belgian Tervuren

These picturesque dogs are a bit high maintenance, but totally worth it for their beauty and personalities.

This attractive medium-sized herding dog breed is named for the Belgian village where it originated in the late 19th century. A herding breed, the Belgian Tervuren was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1959.

Tervurens are known to be highly energetic and intelligent dogs, and they generally need a job to keep them occupied. The medium-size dog excels in herding, obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, and protection work, and can also be seen working as Search and Rescue and therapy  dogs.


If they are not kept sufficiently busy, Turvurens, sometimes called Belgian shepherds or Belgian sheepdogs, can become hyperactive or destructive, and are sometimes nervous or shy around strangers. These shepherd dogs are not recommended for first-time dog owners or owners who cannot give them adequate time or exercise. They require lots of long walks and mental stimulation.

However, when properly socialized and cared for, they make excellent watch dogs and companion animals, as they are known to be loyal and form strong bonds with their family, and they have charmed many an owner with their intelligence and trainability. While they do suffer health problems like most active dogs with issues like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy, their lifespan averages 12 to 14 years.

What about coat type? The Belgian Tervuren has a double coat, with a dense undercoat covered by a harsher outer coat.

Like the Malinois, the color of the coat ranges from fawn to russet mahogany with a black overlay. The face has a black mask.

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The breed can be recognized by its thick mahogany-colored coat with varying degrees of black overlay, and a black mask. A small patch of white on the dog's chest is permissible in the breed standard, as well as white tips on the toes.

The Tervuren can also be sable or grey, but this is penalized in the show ring according to some registering bodies, including the AKC.


The Tervuren is well-balanced, and gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The chest is neither broad nor narrow, but deep, with well-sprung ribs.

Male Tervurens generally stand between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh approximately 56 pounds, while females are smaller.


The head of the Tervuren is long and well-chiseled, with dark brown eyes of a slightly almond shape. The ears are triangular in shape and stand erect.


Though generally healthy, Tervurens can be susceptible to hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and gastric problems, as well as various eye and skin problems.

Visit the American Belgian Tervuren Club (ABTC) for more info on breed standards and where to find Belgian Tevuren puppies!

Other Belgian Shepherd breeds include:

  • the Belgian Groenendael, aka Belgian Sheepdog (longhaired black)
  • the Belgian Malinois (shorthaired fawn/mahogany)
  • the Belgian Laekenois (rough-haired fawn)

Do you have a Belgian Tevuren? Show us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About the Belgian Tervuren