Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren, or Terv for short, is one of four Belgian herding breeds, and often considered the most beautiful. Their luscious coat covers a body built for rounding up sheep, working long days, and playing.

These active dogs love a job so be sure you can supply them with plenty to do. Often mischievous, these dogs are a fun and loving addition to any active family. Read on to learn more about the Belgian Tervuren.

Description of the Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is the picture of strength, agility, and grace. Their lean bodies are excellent for moving quickly, and they love nothing more than to move. Whether a flock of sheep or a tennis ball, the Terv is quick and enjoys running.

Large, pointed ears frame the long face of the Belgian Tervuren, which features an alert expression. These dogs are vigilant and loyal companions that always have their eyes open for signs of trouble, or fun.

Bred in the late 19th century to work on Belgian farms, these dogs handled everything from protecting the farm and family to herding flocks. But these dogs are highly adaptable and later found a vocation in K-9 police force, and in the military. Today the Terv can apply his same love of work and intelligence to things like canine sports, where this breed often excels.

The coat of the Terv is one of the hallmark characteristics of this breed. They have a long and straight coat that helps regulate temperature and protects them against the elements. The males feature a collarette – a thick mane around the neck. The body of the Terv is often colored anywhere from fawn to mahogany, with black on the chest and face.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Belgian Tervuren is a generally healthy breed that lives an average of 12 – 14 years. Working with a reputable breeder can help you get the healthiest puppy possible, but always be prepared for the possibility of illness in your dog.

These tall and lean dogs may appear quite large, but are actually medium in size and a perfect fit for many different lifestyles. The males stand 24 – 26 inches tall and weigh 55 – 75 pounds; and the females stand 22 – 24 inches tall and weigh 45 – 60 pounds.

Protective Ability

Bred to be protectors, the Belgian Tervuren is a loyal and possessive guardian of his home and family. But they are well-mannered dogs and easily warm up to strangers once properly introduced.


The Terv is an intelligent breed, but you will need to channel his high energy and mischievousness properly. Starting training early and remaining consistent and patient will work wonders.

Positive rewards-based training works especially well for this breed. Giving your Belgian Tervuren something to work for, whether this is a treat, his favorite chew toy, or games, will provide him with extra motivation to do what you ask. Having a well-trained dog is especially important for this breed and they love to explore and can find themselves winding up in trouble.

Early socialization is also a must for this breed. As a naturally protective and watchful dog, the Terv will be his best self if exposed to many different people, dogs, and experiences.

Canine sports are also a great outlet for the Belgian Tervuren. These smart and work oriented dogs will thrive on the mental and physical challenge that sports provide.

Energy Level

The Belgian Tervuren may appear like a whizzing blur for much of the day. These dogs love to move and are not satisfied without plenty of daily exercise, preferably with you. Bred to be a worker, the Terv takes his duties very seriously. Either give your dog a job, like herding, or be creative because he will not be happy without an outlet.

Sedentary families will probably find the high energy of the Belgian Tervuren to be more than they are willing to deal with. These dogs require lots of physical and mental exercise and do best in more active homes.

What Living with a Belgian Tervuren is Like

This is an all-purpose breed.

These dogs are skilled to work all manner of jobs and their adaptability is one of their greatest qualities. Just don’t think they will adapt to a sedentary lifestyle. This is one thing the Terv cannot compromise on. They are an active breed and do best in a home where they will get plenty of exercise, family time, and mental stimulation.

If you are looking for a devoted, smart, and active dog to watch over you and your family, and to be a companion for adventures, then the Belgian Tervuren is just the choice for you. But if you prefer a dog that will curl up in your lap and enjoys binge-watching TV as much as you do, consider looking into a less energetic breed.

Care of the Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren does well in any home where he gets enough exercise, attention, and mental stimulation. A home where he gets to work is even better, as this breed loves to have a job.

Environmental Needs

This breed is lucky enough to be able to regulate his body temperature very well. Extreme climates, whether hot or cold, are often no problem for this adaptable breed, as long as he has plenty of water, and a place to get out of the weather. This dog’s coat is thick when it is cold, but sheds when it is warm. Just be sure to keep an eye on your dog if he will be working long days in tough weather.

Exercise Needs

There is no denying the Belgian Tervuren needs plenty of exercise, but the type of exercise is also important. These dogs won’t be happy if you just let them out into the backyard by themselves. They crave a job that requires both physical and mental focus.

While supplying your dog a task like herding or guarding is ideal, most people won’t have this type of work for their dog. To make up for it you will have to be creative and invest some time into exercising your dog.

Games, hikes, and canine sports are all great ways to get your dog active and engaged with you. The Terv would much rather play or walk with you than be alone. Providing your dog with the opportunity to both exercise and bond with you will really make him happy.

Shedding and Grooming

The thick coat of the Belgian Tervuren does shed and will require some maintenance to keep it mat free and healthy. A few brushings a week is often enough for most of the year, but during shedding season you will have to up your grooming sessions to daily.

This breed sheds frequently

Regularly trimming your dog’s nails and cleaning his ears are also important to keeping him healthy and happy.

Ideal Home Environment

The Belgian Tervuren is a real working dog and will do best in a home where he has proper outlets for his intelligence and enthusiasm. Active homes where owners can commit a lot of time to exercising and working with their dog are ideal. People willing to put their dog in canine sports will also find that it is a great opportunity to bond with their dog and give them the mental and physical stimulation they crave.

It is important to recognize, though, that the Belgian Tervuren can have health issues that may be expensive or time consuming to deal with.

Health Concerns

The most common problems seen in the Belgian Tervuren are hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and epilepsy. Working with a reputable breeder who screens for these genetic problems is the first line of defense, but regular check-ups will also help keep your dog as healthy as possible.

Behavior Problems

These protective and loyal dogs love to be around their families and do not do well if left alone for long periods of time. To prevent separation anxiety be sure to provide your dog with plenty of socialization and opportunities to be alone.

The Belgian Tervuren is a hardworking and active breed that requires lots of exercise and mental challenges to be happy. Not giving your dog enough activity can lead to a miserable and destructive pup. Be sure you can put plenty of time aside for your dog’s physical and mental exercise.