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Belgian Tervuren… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Okay, before you read this article, look at the picture of the Belgian Tervuren. Look very closely. Isn’t he such a marvelous-looking creature? We here at IndulgeYourPet certainly think so! But being a handsome devil is only a tiny part of why this particular dog, among all the world’s dog breeds, has been as popular as it has been over the centuries and why it has emerged from a small town in Belgium to exist worldwide now!

But that doesn’t…

You mean that they’ll be the “right” dog for everyone. This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Belgian Tervuren so that if you do decide to purchase a Tervuren puppy, or, better yet adopt a Belgian Tervuren rescue dog, you won’t be disappointed by your decision 6 months from now! So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it!

Belgian Tervuren Facts

Country of Origin:  Belgium

Original Purpose: Herding Dog, Guard Dog or Watch Dog

Height:  22 to 26 inches tall

Weight:  40 to 65 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding Dogs

Origins of the Belgian Tervuren

Like the other 3 major Belgian shepherd dog breeds in existence today, the Belgian Tervuren picks up his name from the small Belgian village with the same name, where they were first developed. And while not much is known about his ancestral origin, what is clear is that these dogs were originally bred to help shepherds manage their flock as well as provide personal protection and companionship.

First “officially” recognized in 1891…

Belgian authorities decided to separate their herding dogs into four distinct breeds, the:

Shortly after, the Tervuren was further recognized by the Société Royale Saint-Hubert in 1901, further solidifying itself as its own unique and separate breed.

Despite all of this…

The Belgian Tervuren didn’t become an instant sensation within the United States. This “unpopularity” may have been due in part because, while the American Kennel Club (AKC) did officially recognize in 1918, this “official” recognition lumped the four primary sheepherding dogs of Belgium all together under the title Belgian Sheepdog, which is a bit silly given how different each of these four dog breeds appears.

The excellent news is…

IIn 1959, the AKC recognized the “error of their ways” and separated all four Belgian breeds with their unique title and Breed standards. This acknowledgment of the breed was probably due largely to how important the Tervurens played during the Second World War, where they proved their “merit” as strong, brave, and highly loyal companions on the battlefield!

The Terv

Today, the Terv, as he is called, is a popular dog breed in the United States, even though many folks will commonly mistake a purebred Trev, thinking that they are instead some “mix” because they will look quite similar to the more commonly know German Shepherd, just not the same. Today, even an American Belgian Tervuren Club provides further evidence of just how great this dog breed is!

Physical Characteristics

The Belgian Tervuren is a medium-sized dog that weighs between 40 and 65 pounds. He is undoubtedly lighter than the other Belgian Shepherds but will be significantly “similarly shaped” with his square build, prick ears, pointed muzzle, and wedged-shaped head. He also has a proud look about him and is almost majestic in the way he carries himself. His eyes are dark brown, and you can see from how he looks at you that he is brilliant.


You can quickly identify him by his fawn or mahogany coat types. He has a thick double coat, which is covered by a lot of hair across the middle of the body, and unlike the Groenendale, his skin won’t be as thick on his head and legs. You’ll commonly notice that the males of the breed will have longer hair growth around the neck than the females, making these guys a bit more challenging to maintain.

Lastly, we should mention that shedding will be a problem with this dog. Regular brushing done every week is a must. Otherwise, you will find hair all over the house, which can get rather “unhygienic.”

Personality and Temperament

You can trust the Terv to protect your family…  One of the most noticeable things about the Belgian Tervuren is his remarkable coolness under pressure. He is always in control and very brave when under attack. This is why the Terv has been chosen as the “breed of choice” by many police departments and emergency rescue centers worldwide!

The Terv is a perfect guard dog or watchdog.

Most Tervs tend to be very alert and “sharp” dogs capable of discriminating between the good and bad guys. While at the same time refraining from being “naturally” aggressive. The Belgian Tervuren is one of those “kinds” of dogs that’s not going to be shy or afraid and is ready to “mix it up” if it has to while being very friendly and social all at the same time. This is why you’ll typically find that most Tervs will seek out the attention of their owner and won’t like to be left on their own for extended periods. He’s almost like an energetic bunny, always up to something.

Training is essential.

Obedience training, agility training, flyball training, herding training, search and rescue training – all matters. So, if you’d like to get a good guard dog that will be happy sitting around the house all day, chances are a Terv isn’t the right dog for you.


Because Belgian Tervurens tend to be naturally energetic and rather large dogs, having one of these “kinds” of a dog running all around your house “untrained” will probably not work out all that well. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet advise any Tervuren owner to enroll their Terv puppy into obedience classes early and often.

The good news is that Belgian Tervurens make great students and are straightforward dogs to train. So, if you do decide to adopt a Tervuren and six months later he is driving you crazy, chances are, you may be the problem, not him! And probably the most significant reason someone may be having difficulty with their Terv is that they aren’t giving them enough exercise. These dogs love to run and play, and they will probably get bored if not given that opportunity. And bored Terv’s like to chew!


  • dog treats,
  • dog toys,
  • shoes,
  • furniture,
  • Walls!

Or anything else they can get their jaws on. So… Consider yourself warned!

Potential Health Concerns

The Terv is a healthy dog with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. But like all dogs, especially purebred dogs, he could pick up a few hereditary disorders. That’s why it is essential to ask the breeder for proof of DNA testing. Also, ask him to show you the following…

  • PennHIP or OFA certification for hips
  • OFA clearance for elbows
  • Canine Eye Registry Foundation certification for eyes

These clearances are needed for CHIC certification. So be sure only to buy a Belgian Tervuren with a CHIC certification. Generally speaking, though, the Belgian Sheepdog is known to suffer from the following diseases…

This is why it’s probably also a good idea to see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on your new puppy should you decide to get one. Because you never know.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

Probably not, but until you know what they will and won’t cover and what it might cost, it’s tough to say who “should” and who “shouldn’t” buy one. This is why we decided to write our own Best Pet Insurance Companies article so that you can get a quick idea if getting a pet insurance policy is “right” for you.

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