Complete Guide To The Belgian Tervuren: Personality, Health, Exercise and More

Belgian Tervurens are handsome, high-energy working dogs. Affable and family-friendly, keep them busy, and they’ll make you happy.

How Big Do Belgian Tervurens Get?

Male24″ – 26″ at the shoulder55-70 lbs
Female22″ – 24″ at the shoulder45-60 lbs

What Do Belgian Tervurens Look Like?

Muscular but well-balanced, they’re both agile and strong. Graceful and confident, they strike a bold, confident pose. Their high-set ears are erect and responsive, crowning a long tapered muzzle and warm brown eyes. A mane of thick hair around his neck offsets his thick, fox-like tail.

Colors include Fawn and Mahogany with black tips over the chest and shoulders. Black masks are characteristic of the breed and darken with age. Belgian Tervurens are often mistaken for long-haired German Shepherds of similar color.

What Is The Personality Of A Belgian Tervuren?

Belgian Tervurens are purpose-bred — they’ll be miserable without a mission. The workaholics of the canine world, the only happy Tervuren is a busy one.

Despite their hardworking ways, they’re also devoted family dogs. With enough exercise, they can adjust to apartment life, but they crave time outdoors. Reserved with strangers, they’re very protective.

Highly trainable, they’re a whiz with commands and genuinely enjoy learning new things — don’t expect them to sit on their laurels. Obedience training gives them confidence and helps first-time owners learn to manage these intelligent, thoughtful dogs.

How Much Exercise Does A Belgian Tervuren Need?

Belgian Tervurens thrive with active families. The perfect dogs for a working farm, they prefer intense activities and need mental challenges. Athletic, they’ll herd livestock, pull carts and patrol property boundaries — off-hours, they excel at canine sports from obedience to agility.

Tervurens are more partners than staff and prefer to work and play side-by-side with their families. Owners need to do more than set aside time for exercise, they need to include the dog and exercise into their daily routine.

How Much Grooming Does A Belgian Tervuren Need?

The Belgian Tervuren’s luxurious double coat comes with a catch. Dense, it sheds year-round and seasonally with blow-outs in the spring and fall. The good news is that grooming is straightforward and can be managed at home.

Weekly brushing with a slicker removes dirt and debris, distributing skin oils for a beautiful luster — a well-groomed Tervuren glows. Use a metal comb to remove tangles where they tend to form behind the ears and hindquarters.

The coarse texture of their coats is soil and moisture-resistant so frequent bathing isn’t necessary — they have little doggy odor. Depending on their lifestyle, a twice-yearly bath after their seasonal shedding spree is usually enough to keep them looking sharp.

The Tervuren is less prone to ear infections than other breeds, but monthly cleaning with a gentle, pH-balanced solution removes excess wax and may help prevent infections. Nail care is essential, however, because their feet are compact — overgrown nails can cause pain. Check them monthly, trimming them as necessary with a grinder.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Belgian Tervuren?

Personally I believe that most foods are fine for most dogs. Some dogs may not do well on some foods. However, as a rule I don’t blanket-prohibit any dietary ingredient from any breed at this time.

Best Puppy Food For A Belgian Tervuren:

Best Adult Food For A Belgian Tervuren:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Does A Belgian Tervuren Live?

12-14 years according to information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can Belgian Tervuren Have?

There aren’t a lot of statistics at the Canine Health Information Center to be able to claim that the Tervuren breed has any predilection towards any specific health condition. I also haven’t seen very many of this breed over the past 20 years in veterinary practice.

Any larger, athletic dog will be at risk for orthopedic issues such as elbow and knee arthritis as they age. They have probably as likely a chance at hip dysplasia as any of other Belgian sheepdogs.

Keep your Tervuren at its optimal weight, consider a joint supplement once they are 3-4 years old, and follow your veterinarian’s recommendation for keeping your dog as healthy as possible.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Belgian Tervuren?

American Belgian Tervuren Club

AKC Breed Profile

Where Can I Find A  Belgian Tervuren?

Breeder Listings From The American Belgian Tervuren Club

Looking for a Rescue? It’s going to be very hard to find one. I’d recommend going through the American Belgian Tervuren Club for more information if you’d like to go that route.

Interesting Facts About the Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervurens are comparatively rare in the United States. Here are a few facts you may not know about this versatile breed.

• They’re One of Many Belgian Sheepdogs

The Tervuren is one of four Belgian Shepherds including the Malinois, Laekenois and Groenendael. The Laekenois was the last to be AKC-recognized in 2020. In other parts of the world, the four are considered variants of a single breed, classified by the length and texture of their coats.

• They Were Purposefully Bred

Tervurens are named for their place of origin — Tervuren, Belgium. Developed by resident M.F. Corbeel in 1895 in response to villagers’ need for a dog that could both shepherd and guard sheep, he bred the first of the Tervuren line.

• A Tervuren Was the AKC’s First Herding Champion

Industrialization eliminated the need for most herding dogs, but they can still strut their stuff at competitive events. A Tervuren was the AKC’s first official herding champion.

• They’re Bonafide Heroes

Tervurens serve with both the Belgian military and police. During the world wars, they were messenger dogs. Today, they work with local bomb detection and missing persons units. A statue in Amsterdam honors Albert, a Tervuren police dog that tracked down more than two hundred fugitives in the 1920s.

In American, “Topper,” the Tervuren, was the first FEMA dog on site after the Oklahoma City Bombing, searching for victims and comforting firefighters when not on duty. For this effort and more, he received the AKC’s ACE Award for canine excellence in 2002 in the Search and Rescue category.