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Belgian Tervuren – The Majestic and Versatile Herding Dog

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The Belgian Tervuren is a versatile and intelligent dog that hails from Belgium. People often call this breed the Terv, and it has earned renown for its high energy levels, loyalty, and herding instincts.For centuries, humans have bred Belgian Tervurens as working dogs to herd sheep and protect livestock. 

Today, they have maintained their popularity as working dogs and gained a following as household pets. This blog explores the various characteristics, temperament, history, and uses of Belgian Tervurens. From their impressive physical abilities to their intuitive nature, readers will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for this remarkable breed.

History and Origin of the Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervuren
By The original uploader was Mwinda at French Wikipedia. – Transferred from fr.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain,

The Belgian Tervuren is a breed that originates from Belgium. A group of Belgian shepherds developed the breed in the late 19th century, aiming to create a versatile working dog with the intelligence and agility to perform various tasks.

These shepherds crossbred different local dogs, including the sheepdogs of the Flemish region, with German and French sheepdogs to create four distinct varieties of the Belgian Shepherd: the Groenendael, Malinois, Laekenois, and Tervuren.

The Tervuren’s Role as a Herding Dog and Guardian of Livestock

Belgian Tervuren
By Canarian – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Breeders specifically bred the Belgian Tervuren for herding livestock and guarding purposes. They highly valued the breed’s ability to work in all weather conditions and terrains, as well as its intelligence, trainability, and loyalty to its master.

Read more about similar breeds: American Alsatian 

Notably, the Tervuren’s work involved herding, guarding, and protecting livestock from predators, thieves, or other potential threats. The breed’s strong instinct to protect its family makes it an excellent choice as a watchdog. Its agility and sharp senses also make it a valuable asset in police, military, search, and rescue roles.

The Tervuren’s Distinction as a Separate Variety within the Belgian Shepherd Breed

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The Tervuren is one of the four varieties of the Belgian Shepherd dog breed. It was named after the Belgian village of Tervuren, located near Brussels. The Tervuren has a long, flowing coat ranging from fawn to mahogany with black tips. This distinguishes it from the other three varieties, with shorter coats and different colorings. In 1959, the American Kennel Club recognized the Tervuren as separate from the Belgian Shepherd breed. Today, the Tervuren is still valued as a working dog but is also beloved as a family pet for its friendliness, intelligence, and loyalty.

Physical Characteristics

By Ron Armstrong from Helena, MT, USA – HMKC Spring 2007 Agility Trial, CC BY 2.0,

The Belgian Tervuren is an exquisite and graceful breed, renowned for its medium to large size and stunning appearance. These dogs have well-proportioned bodies, with lean and muscular limbs that give them a sense of agility and swiftness in movement.

One of the most striking aspects of the Belgian Tervuren’s physical appearance is their luxurious double coat. This coat is typically a rich mahogany color with black accents on the face, ears, and tail. The Tervuren’s coat is thick and plush, with a more extended outer layer that almost shimmers in the light. This double coat protects the dog from harsh weather conditions and gives them a regal, practically lion-like appearance.

Check out this cutie: The Appenzeller Dog – Endearing Spirit and Impressive Agility

In terms of their movement, the Belgian Tervuren is known for its agility and gracefulness. These dogs move with a fluidity that is simply mesmerizing to watch; they seem to almost float across the ground. This agility and gracefulness are a direct result of their lean and muscular physique, which gives them incredible power and flexibility.

The Belgian Tervuren is a true masterpiece of canine beauty and athleticism. Their elegant appearance, striking double coats, and graceful movements all create a genuinely stunning breed that will turn heads wherever they go. Whether you’re a fan of working dogs, show dogs, or appreciate the natural beauty of animals, the Belgian Tervuren is a breed that is truly worth admiring.

Temperament and Personality Traits 

By Jt15550 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Intelligence, Trainability, and Problem-Solving Abilities

Tervurens are brilliant dogs with a quick-witted and curious nature. They have an innate ability to learn and adapt to new situations, which makes them excellent candidates for training, especially for roles in search and rescue, police work, and other similar jobs that require quick thinking and decision-making skills.

Additionally, Tervurens possess excellent problem-solving abilities and can think on their feet. They are known to find creative ways to solve problems, making them perfect at working independently and seeking solutions to complex issues.

High Energy Levels and Need for Mental and Physical Stimulation

Tervurens have high energy levels and require plenty of daily exercise to burn off their surplus energy. They enjoy activities that provide both physical and mental stimulation, such as running, hiking, playing fetch, and obedience training. Tervurens can become bored and destructive without adequate exercise and mental stimulation, leading to behavioral problems such as chewing, digging, and barking.

Moreover, Tervurens are known to have a natural inclination towards herding instincts, and they require opportunities to channel these instincts through mentally stimulating activities like obedience trials, agility competitions, and even herding trials.

Loyalty, Devotion, and Protective Instincts

Tervurens are loyal and devoted dogs known for their affectionate nature towards their owners and families. They are protective of their loved ones and are not afraid to defend them when necessary. Tervurens’ protective instincts make them an excellent choice for families looking for a watchdog or guard dog.

Furthermore, Tervurens’ protective nature extends beyond their immediate families, and they are known to be friendly towards strangers and other pets. With early socialization and proper training, Tervurens can be well-adjusted and social dogs that make excellent companions.

Training and Exercise Requirements 

By Ron Armstrong from Helena, MT, USA – HMKC Spring 2007 Agility Trial, CC BY 2.0,

The Belgian Tervuren is a brilliant breed eager to please its owners. This characteristic makes them an excellent breed for training, and they excel in obedience, agility, and other advanced training activities. However, their high energy levels and intelligence can make exercise challenging if their energy is not correctly channeled.

Start training early to tap into their intelligence and energy effectively. Begin with basic obedience training for a strong foundation. Use positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and play to motivate Tervurens.

Mental stimulation is crucial due to their active nature. Employ puzzle games, food puzzles, and interactive toys to keep them engaged. Regular tasks and challenges will keep them smart and content.

Daily exercise of at least an hour is necessary to prevent boredom and dissatisfaction in the breed. They enjoy high-energy activities such as long walks, hikes and dog sports like agility and fly-ball. The species is also skilled at herding, tracking, and other activities in which they can use their instincts. Moderate-intensity exercise can keep their weight in check and help prevent obesity. 

Grooming and Care 

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Tervurens have a long, lustrous double coat that requires regular maintenance to keep it in ideal condition. To prevent matting and tangling, their coat should be brushed a minimum of twice a week, and during shedding season, it may need to be brushed daily. Regular grooming helps maintain the dog’s beautiful appearance, keeps the coat healthy, and prevents skin irritation.

Regular grooming routines such as nail trimming, teeth cleaning, and ear cleaning are essential in maintaining Tervuren’s hygiene and health. Oral hygiene is especially vital for this breed since they are prone to periodontal disease. Regular veterinary checkups and vaccinations are also necessary to maintain their health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

By Kristian – Flickr: _MG_7317, CC BY-SA 2.0,

What is the origin of Belgian Tervuren?

The Belgian Tervuren, also known as the Belgian Shepherd Dog, originated from the Belgian town of Tervuren, where shepherd enthusiasts initially bred it as a herding and guard dog. They developed the breed in the late 1800s with the aim of creating a versatile dog that could excel in many tasks, including tracking, search and rescue, and obedience.

What are the physical characteristics of Belgian Tervuren?

Belgian Tervuren is a medium-sized dog belonging to the herding group. They have a distinctive long and thick coat with shades of fawn, mahogany, and grey with black overlay. They are agile and well-muscled, with a noble head, almond-shaped eyes, and erect ears. The average height of a Belgian Tervuren is between 22-26 inches, and they can weigh between 55-75 pounds.

What is the temperament of Belgian Tervuren?

Belgian Tervuren is a brilliant and energetic breed known for loyalty and trainability. They require plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and well-behaved. Belgian Tervurens are territorial, protective of their families, and can be aloof with strangers. 

They are an excellent choice for an active and experienced owner who can provide them with proper training and socialization. These dogs are also well-suited for various activities, including obedience, agility, herding, and search and rescue.


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In conclusion, Belgian Tervurens are a breed of dog with an exceptional combination of beauty, intelligence, and loyalty.

Belgian Tervurens are not only stunning but also highly intelligent and trainable. They excel in various tasks, including obedience training and search and rescue. Their unwavering loyalty to their owners makes them a great addition to any family. Consider adding a Belgian Tervuren to your life as a cherished companion and working partner for boundless joy and happiness.

Check out other interesting doggies: American Pit Bull TerriersAmerican BulldogAbyssinian DogThe Boggle Dog, and Blue Lacy Dog -Unleashing Texas Charm And Boundless Energy!

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