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Belgian Tervuren
Characteristics, History, and Health

Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren, often just referred to as the Tervuren, is one of the four varieties of Belgian sheepdogs, alongside the Malinois, Groenendael, and Laekenois. This breed originated in the late 19th century in Belgium and was developed for herding and guarding livestock. The breed is named after the village of Tervuren, the home of master breeder M.F. Corbeel who extensively bred and developed the Tervuren. The breed became distinct from the other Belgian sheepdogs due to its long, dense coat and was first recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club in 1959.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Tervuren, Terv, Belgian Shepherd Dog of Tervuren, Chien de Berger Belge
Life Expectancy
12-14 years
Average Male Height
24-26 inches
Average Female Height
22-24 inches
Average Male Weight
55-75 pounds
Average Female Weight
45-60 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black, Brindle, Fawn & Brindle, Gray & Black, Mahogany & Black, Silver & Black, Cream & Black, Fawn & Liver, Mahogany & Liver
Coat Pattern
Black Points, White Markings, Black Markings, Black mask

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Belgian Tervuren can be affected by anasarca, anterior cross-bite, atopic dermatitis, atrial septal defect, cardiomyopathy (dilated), cataracts, cerebellar ataxia (spongy degeneration), cryptorchidism, demodicosis, dermatomyositis, elbow dysplasia, elbow dysplasia (fragmented coronoid process), epilepsy, gastric carcinoma, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, level bite, lymphedema, macroblepharon, malocclusion, mucopolysaccharidosis VII, muscular dystrophy, oligodontia, optic nerve hypoplasia and micropapilla, pannus, patellar luxation, persistent pupillary membranes, prognathism, progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, vitiligo, and wry mouth. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosuria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

Belgian Tervurens are known for their intelligence, high energy, and strong drive to work. They are alert and responsive, making excellent working dogs or companions for active owners. They often excel in obedience, agility, herding, tracking, and even search and rescue.

Tervurens are typically loyal and protective, but their alertness can sometimes turn into wariness or suspicion of strangers, which means socialization from a young age is important. They are generally good with children and other pets, but their herding instincts may lead them to try to herd other animals or even people.

While they can be loving and affectionate with their families, Belgian Tervurens need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and potentially destructive behavior. They thrive in environments where they have jobs to do and space to run.

Fun Facts

According to the AKC, the Belgian Tervuren was featured in a famous painting of A. Clarys in the early 20th century.

In the Belgian countryside, the Tervuren was most prized as a herding and guard dog.