Information about the Tervuren

The Tervuren (sometimes spelled Tervueren), is a member of the Belgian Shepherd Dog family of dog breeds, named after a village in Belgium. Its classification varies, being classified under some breed standards as a breed in its own right, and in others as one of several acceptable variations of the Belgian. It is usually listed within breed standards under one or other, or a combination, of these names.

In the United States, since 1960, the AKC recognizes it under the name Belgian Tervuren. Prior to that date, all recognized varieties of the Belgians were called Belgian Sheepdog.

In Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club recognizes the Tervuren as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog (prior to 2005, Belgian Shepherd Dogs were called Belgian Sheepdogs).

Like all four of the Belgian Shepherds, the Tervuren is a medium-sized, square-proportioned dog in the Herding dog group. Males stand between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh approximately 65 lb. Bitches are finer and smaller. It is recognized by its thick double coat, generally mahogany with varying degrees of black overlay (completely missing overlay on males is a serious fault), including a black mask. A small patch of white on the chest is permissible, as well as white tips on toes. The Tervuren may also be sable or grey, but this may be penalized in the show ring in some countries according to the standard of the registering body. While the FCI permits any type of red (mahogany) coat including pale yellow (sand colour) and grey the AKC has stricter rules regarding colour. While the FCI states that fawn/mahogany is to be preferred grey colour is a fault under AKC rules.

Tervurens are highly energetic, intelligent dogs who require a job to keep them occupied. This can be herding, obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, or protection work. They are also found working as Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs, finding missing persons and avalanche victims. Tervurens that are not kept sufficiently busy can become hyperactive or destructive.

As companion animals, Tervurens are loyal and form strong bonds with their family, leading some to be shy around strangers. They are good watch dogs, being very observant and attentive to the slightest change in their environment. Some can be nervous, depending on breeding and early experiences, so care must be taken to adequately socialize Tervuren puppies to a wide variety of people and situations.

As with all the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, Tervurens are not generally recommended to first-time dog owners due to their high maintenance level.

Adult males are distinctly masculine and females are likewise feminine. Their appearance projects alertness and elegance. The breed is known for its loyalty and versatility. Those who own them, report being charmed by their intelligence, trainability, and, perhaps most of all, their sense of humor. They excel in many kinds of activities. Today the breed is still relatively rare in the United States, but it is well-established.

Tervuren can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, Schutzhund, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Belgian Shepherds exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

Generally healthy, but Tervurens can have a susceptibility to hip dysplasia, epilepsy, gastric problems (including bloats and torsions) and some eye and skin problems.