Breed Category: Herding Group
Country of Origin: Belgium
Average Size: 55-65 cm
Average Weight: 27-35 kg
Average Life Span: 11-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: High

History

The Tervuren is a type of Belgian Shepherd that may be considered a breed of its own or simply a variety of Belgian Shepherd.

It was named for the Belgian town of Tervuren and is the product of purposeful shepherd dog breeding in the late 1800s. In an effort to create the perfect shepherd dog, a number of breeds began in Belgium, including the Malinois, Laekenois and the Groenendael. In most countries, all four types of dog are considered part of the Belgian Shepherd breed since they share common ancestry, however they can differ in appearance and temperament so they are occasionally viewed as individual breeds.

Today, all four types are popular in their native country of Belgium. In recent decades the Tervuren has made its way to other parts of the world, including the United States and Australia, though it is still considered a rare breed outside of Belgium.

The Tervuren is still sometimes used as a working dog, as it has strong herding instincts that are useful on farms. It is also used as a therapy dog, as well as a valuable tool in police work and search and rescue. In addition, it is a beloved family dog, as it enjoys being around people.

Appearance

The Tervuren has an elegant, intelligent appearance that is similar to other shepherds and working dogs. It has a long, slender muzzle and large, triangular ears. Its dark, close-set eyes give this dog an intense and focused look.

This breed is medium in size with long, sleek fur. Its thick double coat is most commonly a shade of fawn or brown, but it may also be black or gray in colour. White patches of fur may be seen on the chest or on its small, catlike feet. Its colouring is often compared to that of the more commonly seen German Shepherd.

Frequent brushing is necessary to prevent the Tervuren’s long, thick coat from becoming tangled or matted. It is prone to shedding, though regular grooming will help reduce this.

This is a solid and muscular dog with an average size of 55-65 cm and an average weight of 27-35 kg. In addition to males being larger in size than females, they also have fuller fur around the mane. The female has an overall softer and daintier appearance.

Temperament

This breed has a great deal of energy, though it makes a wonderful and loyal family dog when its physical needs are met. Playing outside in a backyard, going for long walks, or completing agility tasks can help expend the Tervuren’s naturally high level of energy. It is happiest when it can spend time outside rather than in a small, confined space.

The Tervuren is highly intelligent and requires mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise. Obedience tasks, having animals to herd or a family to guard will help keep this breed occupied. Herding instincts may carry into the home, where the Tervuren may be prone to nipping at the heels of children or other animals. An owner who displays leadership will keep the Tervuren’s willful personality in check and will also help the dog learn what is expected of it.

This particular breed can be apprehensive of strangers, becoming shy or distrustful of unfamiliar people if it is not properly socialised. It is loyal and protective of its pack, including its owner, family or other household animals. With familiar people, the Tervuren is warm and affectionate, reveling in praise and attention. While it enjoys spending a great deal of time outdoors, this breed truly adores being wherever its family is.

Health

The Tervuren is known to be a hardy breed, though it can be prone to hip dysplasia, a common condition for dogs of its size. It may be at risk for epilepsy, skin allergies and eye conditions.

It is also susceptible to a gastrointestinal condition known as bloat, so it is important that the Tervuren be fed small meals throughout the day as opposed to one large meal.

The average lifespan of this breed is 11-14 years, which is typical for dogs of this size.