The Belgian Tervuren: Your complete guide!

The Belgian Tervuren, a portrait of elegance, unwavering devotion, and exceptional versatility, has won the admiration of dog lovers and professionals across various domains. With its origins in Belgium, striking physical characteristics, and a remarkable range of temperament traits, this breed has firmly established itself as both a dedicated working partner and a cherished family companion.

Belgian Tervuren portrait
Elegant | Alert | Focused
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Everything you need to know about the Belgian Tervuren!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed Conception19th century
    Country of OriginBelgium
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)55-75 lbs (25-34 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)45-60 lbs (20-27 kg)
    Coat TypeLong, double coat
    Color VariationsFawn with black overlay
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Height (cm & in)22-26 inches (56-66 cm)
    Breed SizeMedium to large
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsVigorous exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveHigh
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Eye Issues
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)10-12 years
    Make sure to take care of your Belgian Tervuren and

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    History of the Belgian Tervuren

    The Belgian Tervuren, like other Belgian Shepherd breeds, has its roots in Belgium and a history tied to herding. These dogs were originally developed to help Belgian farmers and herders with their livestock.

    Their name, “Tervuren,” is derived from a Belgian village where the breed was cultivated. Belgian Tervurens are known for their intelligence and versatility, excelling in herding, search and rescue, and police work.

    Throughout history, they have played vital roles in various capacities, including during both World Wars. Belgian Tervurens are celebrated for their unwavering loyalty and dedication to their human companions.

    What makes the Belgian Tervuren so special?

    Belgian Tervurens out for a walk

    The Belgian Tervuren is special due to its striking appearance and incredible versatility. These dogs excel in a wide range of activities, from herding to obedience and agility. Their intelligence and trainability set them apart as exceptional working dogs and loyal companions.

    Belgian Tervurens have a history deeply intertwined with herding and working tasks in Belgium. Their intelligence and agility made them excellent herding dogs, particularly for guiding and guarding livestock. These versatile canines were known for their commitment and tenacity. Today, they often participate in dog sports, and some continue to work as herders, keeping alive their legacy as dependable working dogs.

    Belgian Tervurens are known for their distinctive and engaging personalities. They are highly intelligent, versatile, and have a strong work ethic. These dogs thrive in various activities, from herding to obedience and agility.

    Their intelligence and trainability set them apart as quick learners and diligent workers. While they are often reserved with strangers, they are deeply loyal to their families, displaying affection and protective instincts. Belgian Tervurens are characterized by their elegance, adaptability, and a loving nature, epitomizing the perfect blend of intelligence and versatility.

    Belgian Tervurens are highly intelligent and obedient dogs. They are loyal and protective of their families. These dogs are often used in various working roles, including search and rescue.

    Early socialization is important to ensure they are well-adjusted and not overly protective. They require mental and physical challenges to stay content.

    Belgian Tervurens are medium-sized dogs with a well-proportioned and elegant build. They have a chiseled head with a black mask and almond-shaped eyes. Ears are triangular and typically stand erect.

    They have a long, double coat in a rich mahogany color with black overlay. Their tail is often bushy and carried high.

    Males typically stand between 24 to 26 inches (61-66 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 75 pounds (25-34 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    Belgian Tervurens have an elegant and alert presence, reflecting their role as herding and working dogs.

    Belgian Tervurens typically have a mahogany coat with black mask, ears, and overlay.

    Belgian Tervurens typically have a mahogany coat with black mask and ears without distinct coat patterns.

    Belgian Tervurens have a moderate shedding level. They shed year-round, with more shedding during seasonal shifts. Regular grooming and brushing are recommended to control shedding and maintain their coat.

    Belgian Tervurens have a medium-length double coat that requires regular grooming. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Regular brushing, at least once or twice a week, is essential to prevent matting and remove loose fur. Use an undercoat rake or slicker brush for thorough grooming.

    2. Bathing: Bathe Belgian Tervurens when necessary using a dog-specific shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-recommended solution to prevent wax buildup or infections.

    4. Nails: Trim their nails to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be beneficial.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    Belgian Tervurens have a very high activity level and thrive on both physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: Belgian Tervurens require daily, vigorous exercise to stay content. Activities should be high-intensity and engaging.

    2. Energy Level: They are known for their high energy levels, especially when young. Regular exercise is essential to prevent boredom.

    3. Herding Heritage: Historically, Belgian Tervurens were bred for herding livestock. They excel in activities like herding trials, agility, and obedience.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, mental challenges through obedience training and puzzle games are crucial.

    5. Outdoor Enthusiasts: They enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions for those who enjoy hiking, running, and dog sports.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs with excellent problem-solving abilities. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: Pyrenean Shepherds are highly trainable and excel in obedience training. They quickly learn various commands and tasks.
    2. Problem-Solving: They possess strong problem-solving skills, which are valuable in herding work where they need to make quick decisions based on cues.
    3. Adaptability: Pyrenean Shepherds are adaptable to different living environments, making them versatile companions.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically bred for herding, their intelligence is an asset in responding to cues and commands efficiently.
    5. Social Intelligence: Pyrenean Shepherds form strong bonds with their families and are attentive to human emotions. They are loyal and protective.

    Pyrenean Shepherds’ intelligence and agility make them excellent working dogs and companions. Proper training, socialization, and mental stimulation are essential for their well-being.

    Belgian Tervurens are highly intelligent and need mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training, agility, and complex tasks to keep their minds active.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety and destructive behavior.

    Exercise: Mental challenges are as important as physical exercise. Provide them with tasks that require problem-solving and focus.

    Training and Obedience: Belgian Tervurens thrive on obedience training, which not only provides mental stimulation but also reinforces their bond with their owners. Consistency and positive reinforcement are essential.

    Enter The Woof Mastery

    Monthly Give Away!
    Enter The Woof Mastery Give Away!
    And win your share of HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS worth of Pet Accessories and Vouchers!

    What to look out for, before you get a Belgian Tervuren!

    Belgian Tervuren running through a feild

    When considering a Belgian Tervuren, remember the following:

    1. Activity Level: Tervurens are highly active and thrive with regular exercise and mental challenges.

    2. Training Commitment: They are intelligent and require consistent training and socialization to prevent behavioral issues.

    3. Space: Tervurens need space to move, making them better suited for homes with yards.

    4. Shedding: Their double coat requires regular grooming to manage shedding and matting.

    5. Work or Activities: Many Tervurens enjoy dog sports and tasks, which provide mental stimulation and exercise.

    Belgian Tervurens may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed due to their protective nature. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Protective Instinct: Belgian Tervurens often have a protective instinct, especially towards their family or territory. Proper training is essential to manage this instinct.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure Belgian Tervurens are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach Belgian Tervurens appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves vigilance and awareness of the dog’s behavior, especially in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): Belgian Tervurens may not be subject to BSL as frequently as larger breeds, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    Belgian Tervurens can be good with children, but their energy and protective instincts may require supervision and proper training. They are loyal and may form strong bonds with kids. Early socialization is important to ensure they are well-adjusted around children.

    Belgian Tervurens are generally capable swimmers. Their athletic physique is advantageous for swimming, and many may enjoy being in the water. Like other breeds, individual comfort levels and preferences for swimming can differ, so close supervision is recommended.

    1. Early Training: Initiate training your Belgian Tervuren puppy early to take advantage of their quick learning abilities.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments to foster adaptability and reduce fear or aggression.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and toys to reward and reinforce desirable behavior, building a strong bond with your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your training methods and cues to prevent confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” for safety and obedience.
    6. House Training: Establish a routine for potty breaks and praise for outdoor elimination to housetrain your puppy.
    7. Crate Training: Use crate training to create a safe space for your puppy and develop positive associations with the crate.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to foster good social skills.
    9. Exercise and Play: Ensure your Belgian Tervuren puppy gets sufficient exercise and playtime to prevent restlessness.
    10. Chewing: Provide appropriate chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and protect your belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training may take time; be patient and avoid punitive methods.
    12. Professional Training: Consider professional training classes if you face challenges or need additional guidance.

    Early and positive training will help your Belgian Tervuren puppy become a well-behaved and devoted companion.

    Belgian Tervurens are often moderate in terms of noisiness. They are alert and may bark in response to perceived threats or unusual activities. However, they are not excessively vocal compared to some other herding breeds.

    Belgian Tervurens thrive in homes that provide:

    • 1. Active Lifestyle: They do well in households with active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and playtime.
    • 2. Space: A house with a yard where they can exercise and explore is ideal.
    • 3. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is crucial to their well-adjusted behavior.
    • 4. Routine: Establishing a routine helps them feel secure and reduces anxiety. Predictable daily schedules are beneficial.
    • 5. Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrive in environments where training and mental stimulation are prioritized.


    • 1. Lack of Exercise: Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, Belgian Tervurens can become bored and may develop behavioral problems.
    • 2. Isolation: They are social dogs and may struggle in homes where they are frequently left alone for extended periods.
    • 3. Lack of Socialization: Poorly socialized Belgian Tervurens may exhibit fear or aggression towards strangers or other animals, which can lead to challenges in public settings.
    • 4. Owner Experience: Inexperienced owners who are not prepared for the breed’s specific needs and characteristics may face challenges in raising a well-behaved Belgian Tervuren.

    Traveling with Belgian Tervurens requires the following considerations:

    1. Exercise Needs: Tervurens are active dogs. Plan for exercise breaks and mental stimulation during travel.
    2. Size: They are medium-sized. Ensure their security with suitable travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some Tervurens may experience travel anxiety. Gradual exposure to travel and familiar items can help alleviate stress.
    4. Air Travel: Choose airlines with pet-friendly policies and suitable crate requirements when flying.
    5. Identification: Keep proper identification on your Belgian Tervuren while traveling.

    Belgian Tervurens are generally healthy, but they can be prone to certain health issues, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Elbow Dysplasia: A condition affecting the elbow joints, causing pain and lameness.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Epilepsy: A neurological condition that can cause seizures.

    Proper nutrition is essential for Belgian Tervurens. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate to high protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Belgian Tervurens.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) can impact Belgian Tervurens in specific areas, with regulations varying by jurisdiction. Common BSL restrictions that Belgian Tervurens may face include:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Some areas may require owners of Belgian Tervurens to spay or neuter their dogs under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licensing for Belgian Tervuren owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of Belgian Tervurens may be required to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In certain regions, BSL may mandate that Belgian Tervurens be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of Belgian Tervurens altogether in certain areas.

    BSL is typically motivated by concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds, including Belgian Tervurens. However, it’s important to note that Belgian Tervurens are not inherently aggressive, and BSL may affect them due to their physical resemblance to breeds that are sometimes included in these laws.

    BSL is a contentious subject, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding Belgian Tervurens in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a Belgian Tervuren.

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The Belgian Tervuren

    Myth 1: Belgian Tervurens are the Same as German Shepherds

    Truth: Belgian Tervurens are a Belgian Shepherd breed with distinct characteristics. They are not the same as German Shepherds.

    Myth 2: They Require Intense Exercise

    Truth: While they enjoy physical activity, Belgian Tervurens also need mental stimulation. Regular exercise is essential, but they are adaptable to various lifestyles.

    Belgian Tervurens may not have as many famous individuals as some other breeds, but they are known for their exceptional herding and working abilities:

    1. Santos: Santos is a Belgian Tervuren who gained recognition in herding trials, demonstrating the breed’s herding instincts and skills.
    2. Tango: Tango is another notable Belgian Tervuren known for her excellence in obedience and agility competitions, highlighting the breed’s intelligence and agility.

    These Belgian Tervurens have showcased the breed’s remarkable talents and versatility, particularly in herding and dog sports.

    • Herding: Belgian Tervurens have a rich history as herding dogs and are still valued for their herding abilities in modern times.
    • Working Dogs: They are often employed as working dogs on farms and in various herding and livestock-related tasks.
    • Agility and Obedience: Belgian Tervurens excel in dog sports, including agility and obedience trials, showcasing their intelligence and athleticism.
    • Companionship: Belgian Tervurens are cherished family pets, known for their loyalty and protective nature.

    Belgian Tervurens are often owned by individuals who appreciate their intelligence and versatility. Notable historical owners may not be widely recognized, but these dogs have excelled in various roles.

    Belgian Tervurens, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s energy level and exercise needs can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: Belgian Tervurens are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye conditions. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Behavioral Problems: Without proper training and socialization, Belgian Tervurens can exhibit behavioral problems, including excessive guarding instincts and reactivity.
    4. High Energy: Belgian Tervurens have a high energy level and need regular exercise and mental stimulation. Insufficient activity can lead to restlessness and destructive behavior.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Their double coat makes them sensitive to heat. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to prevent heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: Belgian Tervurens may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Separation Anxiety: Belgian Tervurens are prone to separation anxiety, and they may exhibit distressing behavior when left alone for extended periods.
    9. Training Needs: Proper training is essential for Belgian Tervurens to ensure they understand boundaries and socialization. Inadequate training can lead to behavioral problems.
    10. Work and Activities: Belgian Tervurens thrive on work and activities, and their needs for stimulation and engagement should be met to prevent boredom-related issues.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of Belgian Tervurens.

    The Belgian Tervuren is one of the four Belgian Shepherd breeds. It shares its origins with the Belgian Malinois, Groenendael, and Laekenois. These breeds were developed in Belgium for herding and protecting livestock. Their genetic history likely includes local herding dogs and the selective breeding for specific working traits.

    Check out Woofwear, where you will find our custom designed and stylish Belgian Tervuren merch!

    Why you're going to love the Belgian Tervuren

    The Belgian Tervuren, known for its elegance and intelligence, is a breed that excels in various roles, from herding to obedience. Their striking appearance and unwavering loyalty have made them a favorite among dog lovers.

    Owning a Belgian Tervuren involves providing mental stimulation, exercise, and regular grooming. Responsible ownership includes addressing potential health concerns and embracing their herding instincts through training.

    With their mahogany coats and agile nature, Belgian Tervurens continue to be cherished for their grace and dedication in both work and companionship.

    Be sure to check out the other Paw-some pups we have reviewed!

    Abruzzese Mastiff headshot portrait
    Abruzzese Mastiff (Mastino Abruzzese)
    Affenpinscher portrait headshot
    Afghan Hound Portrait
    Afghan Hound
    Agouti Husky Portrait
    Agouti Husky
    Airedale Terrier portrait headshot
    Airedale Terrier
    A Portrait of an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
    Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
    Alaskan Husky Portrait
    Alaskan Husky
    Alaskan Klee Kai Portrait
    Alaskan Klee Kai
    Alaskan Malamute featured image
    Alaskan Malamute
    Albanian Hound Portrait
    Albanian Hound
    Alpine Spaniel Portrait (2)
    Alpine Spaniel (Switzerland)
    American Akita Portrait
    American Akita
    Portrait of a American Bulldog
    American Bulldog
    Portrait of an American Bully
    American Bully
    American Cocker Spaniel Portrait
    American Cocker Spaniel
    American English Coonhound Portrait
    American English Coonhound
    American Eskimo Dog (Mini & Toy) Portrait
    American Eskimo Dog (Mini and Toy)
    American Eskimo Dog (Standard) Portrait
    American Eskimo Dog (Standard)
    American Foxhound Portrait
    American Foxhound
    American Hairless Terrier portrait headshot
    American Hairless Terrier
    Portrait of American Pit Bull Terrier
    American Pit Bull Terrier
    A Portrait of an American Staffordshire Bulldog (also known as American Staffordshire Terrier)
    American Staffordshire Bulldog
    Head shot portrait of American Staffordshire Terrier
    American Staffordshire Terrier
    American Water Spaniel Portrait
    American Water Spaniel
    Anatolian Mastiff (Anatolian Shepherd Dog) headshot portrait
    Anatolian Mastiff (Anatolian Shepherd Dog)
    Anatolian Shepherd portrait
    Anatolian Shepherd
    Anglo-Français de Petite Vénerie Portrait
    Anglo-Français de Petite Vénerie
    Argentinian Mastiff (Dogo Argentino) portrait headshot
    Argentinian Mastiff (Dogo Argentino)
    Ariégeois Portrait
    Artois Hound Portrait
    Artois Hound
    Aussiedoodle (Australian Shepherd and Poodle Mix) Portrait
    Aussiedoodle (Australian Shepherd + Poodle)
    A Portrait of an Australian Bulldog
    Australian Bulldog
    Australian Kelpie portrait
    Australian Kelpie