Tervuren dog

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Tervuren (Belgian Shepherd Dog)
Other namesBelgian Tervueren
Chien de Berger Belge
Weight Female 20–25 kg (44–55 lb)
Height Male 61–66 cm (24–26 in)
Coat dense undercoat with long, straight outercoat
Color red, fawn, also grey with black overlay. Black mask on face.
Life span 10-12 years
Classification / standards
FCI Group 1 Herding dogs, Section 1 Sheepdogs #015d standard
AKC Herding standard
ANKC Group 5 (Working Dogs) standard
CKC Group 7-(Herding Dogs) standard
KC (UK) Pastoral standard
NZKC Working standard
UKC Herding Dogs standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Tervuren (/tərˈvjʊərən/, sometimes spelled Tervueren), is a breed of dog named after a town 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 Shepherd Dog. It is usually listed within breed standards under one or other, or a combination, of these names.

In the United States, since 1959, the AKC recognizes it under the name Belgian Tervuren. Prior to 1959, the Belgium Tervuren was shown as Belgium Sheepdog. In that year, the AKC granted the breed separate status.

In Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club recognizes the Tervuren as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd (prior to 2005, Belgian Shepherd Dogs were called Belgian Sheepdogs).[1]


Belgian Shepherd Dog, or Tervuren

The Tervuren is a medium-sized, square-proportioned dog in the Herding dog group. Males stand between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh approximately 56 lb. Females 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.


Infini Toujours Jeune
A Belgian Tervuren doing agility.

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 people 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 watchdogs, 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.

Tervurens are not generally recommended to first-time dog owners due to their high maintenance level.

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, and trainability.


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.[2]

Tervuren are frequently in Schutzhund training as they are seen as a higher level protection dog to stylish or affluent owners and can be brought on most forms of travel without the panic problems that other breeds have.


A fairly light-coloured Tervuren

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


The Tervuren has a thick, double coat similar to the Groenendael. Regular brushing is necessary to remove loose undercoat, but in general, the fur is not prone to matting but occasionally, they can get hairballs. A properly textured Tervuren coat is slightly hard,[3] laying flat against the body (unlike, for instance, the Samoyed's off-standing fur). It naturally sheds dirt and debris, but burrs and seeds may stick to the feathering on the legs.

The Tervuren is shown in a natural state, with minimal trimming and cosmetic products. Bathing, brushing, and trimming the fur on the feet with scissors to emphasize their tight, cat-footed shape is the extent of most exhibitors' grooming routines. Products that alter the coloration of the coat and masking are not allowed in the ring.

Faults (AKC)[edit]

Tervueren in action.

Males under 23 inches in height.
Females under 21 inches in height.
Males over 26 ½ inches in height.
Females over 24 ½ inches in height.
Undershort bite with complete loss of contacts by all the incisors.
Cropped or stumped tail.
Solid black, solid liver or any area of white except as specified on the
chest, tips of the toes, chin and muzzle.
Grey Tervuren dog

Missing Teeth Minor
4 or more missing teeth Serious
Wavy or curly hair Minor
Predominant color that is pale, washed out, cream or gray Minor
Blackening in patches is a fault. Minor
Absence of blackening (i.e. black overlay) in mature male dogs Serious
A face with a complete absence of black (masking) Serious
Padding, hackneying, weaving, crabbing and similar movement faults are to be penalized according to the degree with which they interfere with the ability of the dog to work.
In his relationship with humans, he is observant and vigilant with strangers, but not apprehensive. He does not show fear or shyness. He does not show viciousness by unwarranted or unprovoked attack. He must be approachable, standing his ground and showing confidence to meet overtures without himself making them. With those he knows well, he is most affectionate and friendly, zealous for their attention and very possessive.[4]

Famous Tervuren[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Update: Recognition of New Breeds". CKC News. The Canadian Kennel Club. 11 November 2005. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  2. ^ Hartnagle-Taylor, Jeanne Joy; Taylor, Ty (2010). Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN 978-1-57779-106-5.
  3. ^ "Breed standard". American Belgian Tervuren Club. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  4. ^ Belgian Tervuren Standard (AKC)
  5. ^ EastEnders
  6. ^ [1]

External links[edit]