BBS Breed Spotlight Belgian Tervuren

The Tervuren is a European breed that shows fierce loyalty and affection for their owners. highlights this beautiful and personable breed today on the Healthy Dog Blog.

History & Background: Named after the Belgian city of Tervuren, this dog is one of four Belgian sheepdogs which all share a common ancestry. In its own country, this dog as known as the Chien de Berger Beige, which translates “long-haired other than black.” This is because the three other dogs with similar characteristics are the Groenendael, which has long black hair, the Malinois, which a short coat and the Laekenois, which sports a wiry coat. The origin of all of these dogs was pre-Industrial Revolution, when general-purpose working dogs were in high demand. Protective as a watchdog, able to herd livestock as well as having high mental capacity and being attentive, the Tervuren and its cousins were bred as a perfect match for Belgian farmers.

The Tervuren was known as the Belgian Sheepdog for many years, but in 1959 the AKC recognized the Tervuren as its own breed.

Height: Males 24 to 26 inches; Females 22 to 24 inches


Weight: Males 65 to 75 pounds; Females 60 to 70 pounds

Coat: Tervurens have a thick double coat made up of long, plentiful and close fitting fur. The texture is somewhat harsh, but not silky or wiry. The undercoat adjusts to the weather making the Tervuren very adaptable to climate changes. The hair on the head, outside of the ears and front of the legs is short.  Tufts of hair protect the ear opening. Male dogs have a mane of fur around their neck and both sexes have fringes of fur down the fore legs and back legs.

Color: On the body, Tervuren’s color ranges from rich fawn to mahogany. All colors have black overlay. This dog has a double-pigmented coat, which means the lighter colored hair is black at the tip and as a dog matures, they darken. This darkening is most prominently seen on males around the shoulders, back and ribs. To meet the breed standard, white can show up on the chest and toes but no more. Mature dogs are required to have a black mask as well as the ears being mostly black. Under the chest, tail and butt, this breed can show cream, grey or light beige coloring. Tervurens can also be grey, but the AKC doesn’t recognize this coloring in confirmation showing.

Appearance: The Tervuren is a well-balanced, sturdy dog that exudes elegance, energy and strength. This breed is very muscular but isn’t bulky. Both males and females should exhibit gender specific qualities; the males should look masculine, the females feminine. Tervurens have a square body outline and the head shows well defined bones and taut skin. Eyes are medium-sized and dark brown and the expression of a Tervuren is intelligent, curious and alert.

Temperament: Intelligent and obedient, Tervurens make a wonderful dog to own and are very affectionate and dedicated to their owners.  Around strangers, this dog isn’t shy or aggressive, but is vigilant and observant until familiar. This dog is highly loyal to its owner and has strong territorial and protective instincts. Tervurens must be socialized well early on. This dog shows the best character when given a job to do, so Tervurens will excel at agility and other dog sports.

Health & Grooming: Tervurens are generally very healthy dogs but have been known to suffer from hip dysplasia, epiliepsy, gastric problems as well as eye and skin issues. Tervs usually live 12-14 years.

Daily combing or brushing is best for this dog, but a weekly brushing is truly needed. If there are mats in the fur, clip them out and trim hair between the toes and on the outer ears. Tervurens are perpetual but light shedders, yet males shed heavily once a year and females twice a year.

Product Suggestions: BestBullySticks thinks our 12 Inch Jumbo Odor Free Bully Sticks would be a great fit for the Belgian Tervuren. This chews are about 30-50% bigger than our typical 12″ thick bully stick. And just like all of our bully sticks, these jumbo sticks are sourced from free-range, grass-fed cattle.

For intellectual fun try a Premier Busy Buddy Twist ‘N Treat Dog Toy. An adjustable level dog toy, you simply untwist the toy fill it with your dog’s favorite dog treats and screw it close. The tighter you screw the twist ‘n treat the harder the level of play. A treat-dispensing hole randomly drops treats as your dog rolls and throws this dog toy! Increase the level for longer  playtime! 

Do you own or know a Tervuren? Tell us your favorite Terv story in the comments section!


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