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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Belgian Tervuren Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Belgian Tervuren Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Belgian Tervuren Show Dog_S.M

With their flowing coats, alert ears, and intelligent expressions, Belgian Tervurens are not the type of dog you forget about quickly once you’ve met one. Developed in Belgium as herding and guardian dogs, the Belgian Tervuren excels at these and all other tasks they attempt.

Breed Overview


22 – 26 inches


45 – 75 pounds


12 – 14 years


Fawn and black, mahogany and black

Suitable for:

Active families and individuals, willing to devote time to training, exercise, and matching wits with this clever breed!


Courageous, alert, intelligent, affectionate, tireless

Quick to learn and even quicker to attempt to outsmart you, the Belgian Tervuren is not the breed for an inexperienced, inactive owner. Given the right combination of training, socialization, and exercise, however, the Belgian Tervuren can become an affectionate, well-mannered member of the family. Read on to learn more about these clever, constantly moving dogs!

Belgian Tervuren Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Belgian Tervuren Puppies

Belgian Shepherd (Tervuren) puppy
Image By: Elik Lam, Shutterstock

When beginning your search for a puppy, be sure to only work with responsible breeders to not fall into buying from a puppy mill. A responsible breeder will always make sure they’re only breeding healthy dogs, properly screened for inherited health conditions. You should also avoid buying a puppy from a pet store, as pet stores typically get their dogs from puppy mills.

If you have your heart set on adopting rather than buying a Belgian Tervuren, you may be able to find a dog to adopt through a Tervuren rescue group. You may have to be more patient if you go the adoption route but rescuing a dog is always a great way to help with the pet overpopulation situation.

When you welcome a Belgian Tervuren puppy into your home, you’ll have an energetic dog around you wanting to burn off all of the energy they have. Make sure to give them proper early socialization and plenty of training.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is an extremely intelligent breed. It is eager to learn but also finds great joy in trying to outsmart its human companions. They are affectionate with their families but can also be possessive of them. Proper socialization early and often is a must for this breed.

Tervs are always active, mentally and physically, and thrive when given regular tasks to perform. They need to spend time with their humans regularly as well.

If you are looking for a more hands-off dog that’s happy to spend its days lounging, with or without you, Tervs are not the breed for you.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

While Belgian Tervurens can get along with kids if properly socialized and supervised, they are not a breed that particularly enjoys playing with children. In fact, they are known to choose the company of adults over kids if given the choice between the two.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Tervs are herding dogs by nature. They may attempt to chase or nip at children that they feel are too unruly. Again, proper socialization can help the Belgian Tervuren become a well-mannered family dog. However, if you want the family dog to enjoy and play with/tire out your kids, this breed may not be what you are looking for.

As always, be sure to supervise all interactions between dogs and children, especially very young children.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Generally, the Belgian Tervuren can get along with other dogs and other pets if raised and socialized with them. However, they do have a high prey drive and chasing instinct. Because of this, Tervs may not be the best choice for a household with smaller dogs, cats, or other small pets. If you do have such a mixed household, be sure to supervise your Terv when they are around the smaller animals.

Because they are so loyal and protective, Belgian Tervurens won’t always get along with other dogs outside of their household and can be aggressive towards them. Again, socialization from an early age will help the Terv develop good manners and behaviors with other dogs.

Tervs are one breed that won’t mind being the only pet in the household and it may be easiest for all involved if that’s the case.


Things to Know When Owning a Belgian Tervuren:

Think you’re up for the challenge of meeting the exercise and attention needs of a Belgian Tervuren? If you are, maybe you’d like to learn more about what’s involved in caring for a Belgian Tervuren. Here is some more detailed information on the proper care and feeding of Tervurens.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Belgian Tervuren should do fine if fed any good quality, age-appropriate dog food. Be sure that whatever diet you choose to feed is nutritionally balanced, whether it be a commercial or home-cooked diet. Your veterinarian can help you ensure a homemade diet is properly balanced if you decide to prepare your dog food. Because they are so high in energy, Tervs can burn through a lot of food in a day, especially if they are working or active in canine sports. Keep an eye on your dog’s weight and adjust their food intake as needed.

Exercise 🐕

When a breed’s official standard describes them as “usually in motion,” you can and should expect that they will need a lot of exercise! This is definitely the case for the Belgian Tervuren. Not only do they need daily physical exercise, but they also need an exercise buddy. Tervs won’t be happy just running wild in a backyard to tire themselves out. They want to spend time with their people whether it be running together, interactive playtime, or teaming up to compete in dog sports.

Because they are so athletic and intelligent, Tervs are fantastic at many different dog sports including agility, herding, and obedience trials. These competitions give the Belgian Tervuren the chance to do what they do best, work hard for and with their beloved people.

Training 🎾

With some breeds, you can get away with a more casual approach to socialization and training but that’s not the case for the Belgian Tervuren. Early socialization to a wide variety of people, situations, and other animals is a must to help a Terv grow into a balanced adult dog. Consistent training will help the Tervuren use their energy and intelligence productively and not become bored or destructive.

The Belgian Tervuren is very sensitive to any rough or negative training methods. Positive, play-centered training methods are best for this breed. Tervs are quick learners and seem to genuinely enjoy the process of grasping a new skill.

Grooming ✂️

While they don’t require frequent trips to the groomer like some breeds, Belgian Tervurens do have quite a lot of coat to maintain. They have a double-layered coat which will need to be brushed once or twice a week to keep it in good condition. Slicker brushes and pin brushes are good choices to use on these dogs. Tervurens will shed their coats at least once a year. During shedding time, they will likely need to be brushed more frequently and intensely to keep up with removing all the dead hair.

Besides brushing, you will need to keep your Terv’s nails trimmed and brush their teeth regularly. You should also check their ears frequently and clean them as needed.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Belgian Tervuren is considered a healthy breed overall. However, they are known to suffer from a few inherited health conditions that you should be aware of when looking for a puppy. Responsible breeders will screen for these conditions before breeding their dogs. Don’t be afraid to ask about the health history and certifications of your puppy’s parents. You want to know you are getting a healthy puppy and all reputable breeders should want that as well.

Minor Conditions
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Hypothyroidism
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Epilepsy

Male vs Female

Since it is often best that the Belgian Tervuren live life as an only dog, you will need to decide whether you are going to get a male or female dog. As a general rule, male Tervs are larger than their female counterparts. In addition, male Belgian Tervurens also tend to have thicker, more intense hair coats, especially around their neck. This can make them more striking to look at but also increase the amount of dead hair you will have to deal with at shedding time.

Male Tervurens should look more rugged and masculine than females, who will seem daintier. Overall, male dogs of any breed tend to be more dominant, rambunctious, and sometimes aggressive than females. Having your male dog neutered should decrease some of these tendencies.

Owning a female Tervuren (or any female dog), means deciding whether you want to deal with her having a heat cycle about every 6 months or so. Heat cycles can be messy and you will also need to be careful to keep your female away from unneutered male dogs during this time to prevent unwanted pregnancy. If you don’t intend to breed your female dog, the best choice is to have her spayed.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Belgian Tervuren

1. Their Defining Trait Is Their Hairstyle

The Belgian Tervuren is one of four Belgian herding dog breeds that are so similar in appearance they all used to just be called Belgian Sheepdogs. The one major difference between them all was their hair, so that’s eventually how the four breeds were distinguished. The Belgian Tervuren is the long-haired, lighter-colored sheepdog. The others are the Belgian Malinois (short-haired), Belgian Sheepdog (long-haired and black), and the Belgian Laekenois (wire-haired).

2. They Have a Nickname!

Let’s be honest, “Belgian Tervuren” isn’t the easiest name to say when talking about your dog. Because of this, the breed is commonly known simply as the “Terv.” That definitely rolls off the tongue much more smoothly!

3. They’re So Talented They Can Pretend To Be a Whole Different Species!

Well, they can for the purposes of moviemaking, anyway. Belgian Tervurens were used to play wolves in a 1984 British film called The Company of Wolves, a gothic horror retelling of the story of Red Riding Hood.


Final Thoughts

Owning a Belgian Tervuren may challenge you both physically and mentally as you try to both wear out your Terv and outsmart them as well. While this is not the breed for everyone, owners who are willing to put in the time for training and exercise will find that the Terv can be an affectionate, protective pet. Happy to be the center of your attention, the Belgian Tervuren will also make you the center of theirs!

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Featured Image Credit: S.M_Shutterstock

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