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  • Temperament: Courageous, Alert, Intelligent
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 107 of 192
  • Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Herding Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Belgian Tervuren standing in three-quarter view
Belgian Tervuren head facing left
Belgian Tervuren sitting facing forward
Belgian Tervuren coat detail
Belgian Tervuren

Find a Puppy: Belgian Tervuren

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The first impression of the Belgian Tervuren is that of a well-balanced, medium-size dog, elegant in appearance, standing squarely on all fours, with proud carriage of head and neck. He is strong, agile, well-muscled, alert and full of life. He gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male should appear unquestionably masculine; the female should have a distinctly feminine look and be judged equally with the male. The Belgian Tervuren is a natural dog and there is no need for excessive posing in the show ring. The Belgian Tervuren reflects the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. In addition to his inherent ability as a herding dog, he protects his master’s person and property without being overtly aggressive. He is watchful, attentive, and usually in motion when not under command. The Belgian Tervuren is a herding dog and versatile worker. The highest value is to be placed on qualities that maintain these abilities, specifically, correct temperament, gait, bite and coat.

HEAD

Well-chiseled, skin taut, long without exaggeration. Expression intelligent and questioning, indicating alertness, attention and readiness for action. Eyes dark brown, medium-size, slightly almond shape, not protruding. Light, yellow or round eyes are a fault. Ears triangular in shape, well-cupped, stiff, erect; height equal to width at base. Set high, the base of the ear does not come below the center of the eye. Hanging ears, as on a hound, are a disqualification.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck round, muscular, rather long and elegant, slightly arched and tapered from head to body. Skin well-fitting with no loose folds. Withersaccentuated. Topline level, straight and firm from withers to croup. Body – Croupmedium long, sloping gradually to the base of the tail. Chest not broad without being narrow, but deep; the lowest point of the brisket reaching the elbow, forming a smooth ascendant curve to the abdomen. Abdomenmoderately developed, neither tucked up nor paunchy. Ribs well-sprung but flat on the sides. Loin sectionviewed from above is relatively short, broad and strong, but blending smoothly into the back.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders long, laid back 45 degrees, flat against the body, forming a right angle with the upper arm. Top of the shoulder blades roughly two thumbs width apart. Upper arms should move in a direction exactly parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body. Forearmslong and well-muscled. Legs straight and parallel, perpendicular to the ground. Bone oval rather than round. Pasterns short and strong, slightly sloped. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet rounded, cat footed, turning neither in nor out, toes curved close together, well-padded, strong nails.

HINDQUARTERS

Legs powerful without heaviness, moving in the same pattern as the limbs of the forequarters. Bone oval rather than round. Thighs broad and heavily muscled. Stifles clearly defined, with upper shank at right angles to hip bones. Hocks moderately bent. Metatarsi short, perpendicular to the ground, parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Dewclaws are removed. Feet slightly elongated, toes curved close together, heavily padded, strong nails.

COAT

The Belgian Tervuren is particularly adaptable to extremes of temperature or climate. The guard hairs of the coat must be long, close-fitting, straight and abundant. The texture is of medium harshness, not silky or wiry. Wavy or curly hair is a fault. The undercoat is very dense, commensurate, however, with climatic conditions. The hair is short on the head, outside the ears, and on the front part of the legs. The opening of the ear is protected by tufts of hair.

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belgian tervuren illustration

About the Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is characterized by a straight and abundant coat, an elegant but muscular frame, a proudly carried head, an alert and intelligent demeanor, and an insatiable work drive. The Terv’s coat furnishings, like the sporty “collarette” around the neck, are more profuse on males, who run larger than females.

“Their intelligence and high activity level can be a challenge for the less creative individual who may not understand the breed’s need to work,” warns one longtime owner. But don’t get the idea that Tervs are grim, mechanical worker drones. In fact, Tervs take real delight in their ability to master any task, and owners say a mischievous sense of humor is at work whenever Tervs outsmart their beloved human.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Belgian Tervuren

Find a Puppy: Belgian Tervuren

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Belgian Tervuren Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Belgian Tervuren  should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Belgian Tervuren has a double-layer coat, with a dense, protective undercoat covered by a harsher outer coat. For most of the year, all that’s required to groom him is a quick but thorough brushing once or twice a week with a pin brush and a slicker brush. During shedding season, however, which occurs at least once a year, these sessions expand to 15 or 20 minutes and may become a bit more frequent, and a rake is added to the toolkit to help remove all the dead hair. As with all breeds, the Terv’s nails should be trimmed regularly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

The Belgian Tervuren’s AKC standard says the breed is “always in motion, seemingly never tiring ….” So, yes, this is a dog who needs a lot of exercise every day. Lots of hard work and challenging play—preferably with his owner rather than by himself—are a Terv’s idea of heaven. This is not a breed for everyone, and a Terv owner should expect to spend a good amount of active quality time with his canine friend. Its strong herding instinct and quick intelligence make the breed suitable for any number of activities, including herding, agility, and obedience competitions, mushing and Schutzhund (protection) activities.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Socialization and obedience training are a must for the Belgian Tervuren. Exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. A Terv’s intelligence and independence can lead him into trouble if he’s not trained to channel his boundless energy into acceptable activities. Tervs tend to be play oriented and surprisingly sensitive, which means that harsh training methods seldom work, but turning the task into a game always does. Tervs take genuine delight in their ability to master a new task.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

The Belgian Tervuren is typically a healthy breed, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint; elbow dysplasia; progressive retinal atrophy, which causes vision loss and blindness; and epilepsy. As with all breeds, a Terv’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Belgian Tervuren
Belgian Tervuren
Belgian Tervuren
Belgian Tervuren
Belgian Tervuren

History

Belgian Tervuren are one of four Belgian herding breeds so similar that once they were recognized as a single breed, the big difference being coat type: Tervs (longhaired, “blackened” fawn or red), Belgian Sheepdogs (longhaired, black), Malinois (shorthaired), and Laekenois (wirehaired).

Known in their homeland as the Chien de Berger Belge, the breed’s English name derives from the village of Tervuren, the home of master breeder M.F. Corbeel. In the early years of the 20th century, Corbeel made judicious crosses between black dogs and fawn dogs to standardize the modern Terv.

Before the industrial age, the farmers of Belgium had a great need for an all-around herding and guard dog. The protective instinct of these dogs provided security for farm and family, and their herding abilities assisted with guarding and moving stock. The mental development of the breed as a versatile helper and an attentive companion paralleled the physical evolution of a medium-sized, well-balanced dog of strength and stamina.

Since the rise of mechanized farming, Terv owners have found new outlets for their breed’s renowned work ethic and versatility, forged long ago in Belgium’s pastures and barnyards. Today’s Tervs are employed as military and police K-9s, search-and-rescue workers, service dogs for the disabled, actors (in the movie “The Company of Wolves,” the wolves are played by Tervs), and champions at dog shows, on agility courses, and in obedience and herding trials.

Did You Know?

The Terv is known in Belgium as the Chien de Berger Belge.
A. Clarys featured a Terv in one of his famous paintings of the very early 20th century.
Prior to 1959, the Belgian Tervuren was shown as a Belgian Sheepdog. In that year, the AKC granted the breed separate status.
The Terv owes its name to the Belgian village of Tervuren, the home of M.F. Corbeel, an early devotee of the breed.
The first Terv was registered with the AKC in 1918.
The Terv originated in the Belgian countryside as a general herding and guard dog.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The first impression of the Belgian Tervuren is that of a well-balanced, medium-size dog, elegant in appearance, standing squarely on all fours, with proud carriage of head and neck. He is strong, agile, well-muscled, alert and full of life. He gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male should appear unquestionably masculine; the female should have a distinctly feminine look and be judged equally with the male. The Belgian Tervuren is a natural dog and there is no need for excessive posing in the show ring. The Belgian Tervuren reflects the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. In addition to his inherent ability as a herding dog, he protects his master’s person and property without being overtly aggressive. He is watchful, attentive, and usually in motion when not under command. The Belgian Tervuren is a herding dog and versatile worker. The highest value is to be placed on qualities that maintain these abilities, specifically, correct temperament, gait, bite and coat.

HEAD

Well-chiseled, skin taut, long without exaggeration. Expression intelligent and questioning, indicating alertness, attention and readiness for action. Eyes dark brown, medium-size, slightly almond shape, not protruding. Light, yellow or round eyes are a fault. Ears triangular in shape, well-cupped, stiff, erect; height equal to width at base. Set high, the base of the ear does not come below the center of the eye. Hanging ears, as on a hound, are a disqualification.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck round, muscular, rather long and elegant, slightly arched and tapered from head to body. Skin well-fitting with no loose folds. Withersaccentuated. Topline level, straight and firm from withers to croup. Body – Croupmedium long, sloping gradually to the base of the tail. Chest not broad without being narrow, but deep; the lowest point of the brisket reaching the elbow, forming a smooth ascendant curve to the abdomen. Abdomenmoderately developed, neither tucked up nor paunchy. Ribs well-sprung but flat on the sides. Loin sectionviewed from above is relatively short, broad and strong, but blending smoothly into the back.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders long, laid back 45 degrees, flat against the body, forming a right angle with the upper arm. Top of the shoulder blades roughly two thumbs width apart. Upper arms should move in a direction exactly parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body. Forearmslong and well-muscled. Legs straight and parallel, perpendicular to the ground. Bone oval rather than round. Pasterns short and strong, slightly sloped. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet rounded, cat footed, turning neither in nor out, toes curved close together, well-padded, strong nails.

HINDQUARTERS

Legs powerful without heaviness, moving in the same pattern as the limbs of the forequarters. Bone oval rather than round. Thighs broad and heavily muscled. Stifles clearly defined, with upper shank at right angles to hip bones. Hocks moderately bent. Metatarsi short, perpendicular to the ground, parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Dewclaws are removed. Feet slightly elongated, toes curved close together, heavily padded, strong nails.

COAT

The Belgian Tervuren is particularly adaptable to extremes of temperature or climate. The guard hairs of the coat must be long, close-fitting, straight and abundant. The texture is of medium harshness, not silky or wiry. Wavy or curly hair is a fault. The undercoat is very dense, commensurate, however, with climatic conditions. The hair is short on the head, outside the ears, and on the front part of the legs. The opening of the ear is protected by tufts of hair.

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belgian tervuren illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Fawn & Black Check Mark For Standard Color 083
Mahogany & Black Check Mark For Standard Color 129
Black 007
Brindle 057
Cream & Black 264
Fawn & Liver 308
Gray & Black 101
Mahogany & Liver 309
Silver & Black 177

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Markings 002
Black Mask 004
Black Points 019
White Markings 014

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