Tervueren Breed description: Character & Co


Origin and history of the Tervueren

The Tervueren is often colloquially referred to as the Belgian Sheepdog, but it is only one of four varieties of the Belgian Sheepdog. Other possible varieties are the Tervueren, the Groenendael and the Malinois. They are distinguished mainly by the different textures of the coat. The Malinois has a short coat, while the Tervueren and Groenendael are long-haired and the Laekenois is rough-haired.

All four breeds of Belgian Shepherds have their names after places and breeding grounds in Belgium. Since both French and Flemish are spoken in these areas, the four breeds are also pronounced differently depending on the area. As it was already the case with the Groenendael, also with the Tervueren the black herding dog Piccard can be called the progenitor. This time, however, it was crossed with a red-brown, "well charbonned" (black sooty) bitch. Later, especially with "Milsart" strong inbreeding was practiced.

The Belgian Shepherd Dog was not recognized as a breed until around 1900. A number of cynologists, led by Professor A.Reul(lectureratthe veterinary school in Curegehm), were involved in this process .He can be called the real pioneer and the founder of the breed. Since then, the four varieties have been bred in parallel or, at first, also with crosses. Typeandcharacter oftheBelgian Shepherdwere fixed around 1910.

Specimens of this dog breed were used for varied work with flocks of sheep and cattle and also served as guard, draft and driving dogs, which expresses their intelligence and love of work, but also the physical capacity.

Suitability and keeping

If you decide to get a Tervueren, you should be aware that it is a dog that needs to be exercised physically as well as mentally. A short walk is not enough to keep him active. If you are active and enjoy joint activities and sports, the Tervueren is a great and loyal partner.

Nowadays, the Belgian Shepherd has become accepted as a working and service dog. However, when exercised physically and mentally, it is also a great family dog that is playful, cuddly and bonds strongly with its family.

Listed dog Tervueren

In Switzerland (Glarus and Ticino), the Belgian Shepherd is on the list of potentially dangerous dogs. Thus, the keeping of this dog breed there requires a permit.

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Alternate Name Belgian shepherd dog
Origin Belgium
Life expectancy 12 - 14 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Sheepdogs
AKC group working group
KC group working group

Typical character traits of the Tervueren

Tervueren are intelligent and eager to learn dogs, but they need an experienced hand when being trained. Consistent but gentle training is necessary to bring out the best qualities in your four-legged friend and to avoid undesirable behavior. Tervueren, which are not optimally and according to their nature promoted, often suffer later from behavioral problems. As a working dog, he enjoys demanding tasks, so he is often found as a

  • service dog, e.g. with the police, in rescue operations or with the customs.
  • But also in sports many dogs can be used well.

Aggressiveness and fear are not characteristics of the breed and usually only occur when underchallenged.

If you decide to get a dog of this breed, you should be aware that Belgian Shepherds need to be moved and challenged. Extensive walks, dog sports or other physical and also mental activities are very useful for your dog to live a happy and healthy life.

Dog,Mammal,Vertebrate,Dog breed,Canidae,Old german shepherd dog,Tervuren,Bohemian shepherd,Carnivore,Belgian shepherd, Tervueren - Dog standing in the snow in winter - Belgian Shepherd Dog

Breed diseases of the Tervueren

The Belgian Shepherd belongs to the relatively robust dog breeds that have not been generally overbred. Despite its size, it can easily reach an age of up to 16 years. Nevertheless, signs of wear and tear of the joints and the like can occur due to the frequent athletic performances and stresses in old age.

Specifically for the Tervueren variety the following accumulations of diseases are described:

  • Epilepsy
  • Vitiligo
  • Leucopenia (in populations in the USA)

Belgian Shepherd Dog Breeding

In order to avoid the above mentioned diseases, you should pay attention to a good breeding already when buying your Tervueren. It is best to choose a VDH breeder, who must comply with the regulations and breeding standards of the association. Ask to see the papers of the parents and their categorization regarding HD and ED. At a certain age you can also have your dog x-rayed for HD and ED predisposition. If you want to breed with your dog, this is usually even required by the breeding association.

A Tervueren costs about 1000 Euro. Deviations from this price are possible.

Tervueren Belgian Shepherd Dog with long hair Breed description

Just like the other three varieties of the Belgian Shepherd Dog, the Tervueren is recognized by the FCI, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The FCI lists all four varieties under standard number fifteen, and in it they set the breed standard for Belgian Shepherds in terms of character and appearance. They are classified as Group 1 (Herding Dogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Mountain Dogs)), Section 1 (Sheepdogs). The breed standard requires a working test.

The average desired height, measured at the withers, is 58 cm for bitches and 62 cm for males. Deviations of 4 cm up and 2 cm down are tolerated. In relation to its height, the Belgian Shepherd is a relatively slender and light dog: the desired weight is between 20 and 25 kg for bitches and between 25 and 30 kg for males.

The gait

Constantly on the move, the Belgian Shepherd seems tireless. His gait is fast, elastic and lively. He is capable of a sudden change of direction at full speed. As a result of his exuberant temperament and due to his guarding and protective instincts, he clearly tends to move in circles.

The movement is lively and free in all gaits. The Belgian Shepherd shows a good canter, but the common gaits are the walk and especially the trot. The limbs move in a plane parallel to the axis of the body. At high speed, the paws approach the center line. The trot is medium ground covering; the movement is even and light-footed, with good drive from the hindquarters, keeping the topline firm and not lifting the forelegs too high.

The head

Carried high, the head of the Belgian Shepherd Dog must not be excessively long. It is straight in its lines, well chiselled.βelt and dry.Skull and muzzle and muzzle are approximately equal in length; the muzzle may be at most a little The muzzle may be at most a little longer, which gives the final touch to the overall appearance.

The skull isof medium width, in proportion to the length of the head and has a flattened rather than rounded forehead with little pronounced frontal furrow.Seen from the side, the topline isparallel toanimaginaryline of extension ofthe bridge of the nose. Theoccipital crestshould be little developed, the stop moderately developed and the superciliary ridgesand zygomatic bone not prominent.

The muzzle

Belgian Shepherds have a black nasal sponge set on a medium length muzzle,well chiseled under the eyes . This graduallytapers towards the nose and has the shape of an elongated wedge. The muzzleopening should belarge and wide, i.e.when the muzzle is open the corners of the mouth aredrawn strongly backand the jaws are set wide apart . The associated lips are thin but tightly fitting and strongly pigmented.

Typical is the scissor bite.However, the pincer bite is also toleratedby sheepand cattle herders . At shows the absence of two premolars 1 (PM1) is permissible and of molars 3 (M3) is not considered. The cheeks are dry andrather flat, but well muscled.

The eyes & ears

FrommediumSizeβe,neithertodeeplyingstill and slightly almond-shaped, the eyes are set obliquely and are brownish in color. color,wherebydarkcoloredEyesprefersare preferred.The eyelids are outlined in black.The gaze is open, lively, alert and inquiring.

The eyes are rather smallset high,clearly triangularinappearance . Theauricle is well curved in itself. Thepointed ears are carried firmly and erect and are set vertically when alert.

The trunk

The neck of this breed of dog, the nape of which is slightly arched, should be well set, somewhat elongated, fairly erect, well muscled and gradually broadening towards the shoulders. It has no dewlap.

The body is powerful without heaviness. The length of the body, measured from the point of the nose to the point of the buttock, is approximately equal to the height at the withers. The topline of the firm, short and well muscled back and the strong, equally short but reasonably broad loins leads straight over a pronounced withers and ends in a well muscled, only very slightly sloping and reasonably broad croup.

The chest, on the other hand, is not broad, but deeply descending. The ribs are arched in their upper part; seen from the front, the forechest is not very broad without being narrow. The lower line of profile starts below the ribcage and rises gently in a harmonious curve towards the belly, which is neither too filled out nor tucked up like a greyhound, but rises slightly and is moderately developed.

The tail

Well set on, the tail should be strong at the base and generally of medium length, that is, reaching at least to the hock, but preferably further down. At rest, it is carried hanging and shows a slight backward bend at its end at the level of the hock. In movement it is raised more, but not above the horizontal, with more pronounced curvature at the tip, but without forming a hook or deviating laterally.

The limbs

In general, the Belgian Shepherd Dog has a strong bone structure, but without heaviness. The musculature is dry and strong, the legs are vertical when viewed from any direction and are perfectly parallel when viewed from the front. The shoulder blade is long and sloping, tightly fitting and forming a sufficient angle with the long, suitably sloping upper arm, ideally 110-115°. The strong elbow should neither stick out nor be too tight and lead into a long, straight forearm. The very firm front tarsus is clearly defined, the front pastern strong and short, standing as perpendicular to the ground as possible or only very slightly tilted forward.

Seen from the side, the hind legs are vertical, seen from behind they are perfectly parallel. The upper and lower thighs of medium length are broad and strongly muscled, the stifle joint should be placed almost vertically under the hip and of normal angulation. The hock joint is deep, broad and muscled but moderately angulated. The short hind pastern is firm, dewclaws are undesirable.

The Belgian Shepherd Dog has rounded front feet ("cat feet"). The hind feet, on the other hand, may be slightly oval. The toes are arched and close together, the pads are thick and elastic, and the nails are dark and strong.

The coat

Since the length, direction of growth, appearance, and color of the coat vary amongBelgian Shepherds, this characteristic has been used as a criterion for distinguishing the four varieties of the breed: Groenendael,Tervueren,MalinoisandLaekenois. The four varieties are judged separately and each is entitled to obtainaCAC,aCACIBorthecorresponding reserve awards.

The skin of this dog breed is elastic, but tightly fitting all over the body. The lips are-and eyelids are strongly pigmented. The coat inall varieties mustalways bedense, close fitting and ofgood texture.It should forman excellent protective coattogether with the undercoat.

The Tervueren in comparison

The Groenendael and the Tervueren are long-haired.Thehairisshorton thehead, on the outer surface oftheears and on the lower part of the limbs, except ontheback of the forearm, whichiscovered withlong hair, called fringes,from the elbow to theroot of thefoot.On the rest of the body, the hair is long and smooth, longerand more abundant around the neck and on the forechest, where itforms a maneand apron. Theopening ofthe earcanal is protectedbydense tufts of hair , andfrom the base of the ear thehair standsout and frames the head. The back of the thighsiscoveredwith very long and abundanthair,forming so-called"pants " .On the tail, the abundantly developed hair is long and forms a plume.

In the Tervueren and theMalinoisthe mask must be very pronounced and, if possible, enclose the upper and lower lips, the corner of the lips and the eyelids as one uniform black area. As an absolute minimum, the skin should be pigmented black in 6 places: both ears, both upper eyelids and upper and lower lip. In addition, in these two varieties a black cloud is created by black colored hair tips, which shades the base color darker. This black shading always appears as "tinged" and must never appear in the form of large plates or of true streaks (strokes). In the Laekenois, the black tinge is less pronounced.

The Tervueren occurs only in fawn-black clouded or gray-black clouded with black mask, but preferably the former. The fawn color should be warm, neither light nor washed out. All dogs other than fawn-black-clouded, or whose color shade does not correspond to the desired intensity, cannot be considered excellent specimens. In all varieties, some white on the forechest and toes is permissible.

Fur length long
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Standing Ears
Tail fanned out
Anatomy strong
Size ♀ 56 - 62 cm
Weight ♀ 20 - 25 kg
Size ♂ 60 - 66 cm
Weight ♂ 25 - 30 kg
Suitable For Children


Dog,Mammal,Vertebrate,Dog breed,Canidae,Tervuren,Old german shepherd dog,Carnivore,Belgian shepherd,Bohemian shepherd,
Dog,Mammal,Vertebrate,Dog breed,Canidae,Old german shepherd dog,Tervuren,Bohemian shepherd,Carnivore,Belgian shepherd,
Tervueren - Dog standing in the snow in winter - Belgian Shepherd Dog
  • No. As a representative of the Belgian shepherd dogs, the Tervueren can not be called a beginner dog.

  • The Tervueren is a Belgian dog breed that belongs to the four types of the Belgian Sheepdog, together with the Malinois, the Laekenois and the Groenendael. The Tervueren is known for its intelligence, energy and willingness to work. These traits, along with their ability to adapt well to new environments and people, have made them a popular choice as a family and sporting companion dog.

  • Tervueren can live up to 16 years.

  • The Tervueren is more frequently affected by epilepsy and vitiligo. In addition, leukopenia occurs from time to time in populations in the USA.

  • If you have enough time and motivation as well as already dog experience, the Tervueren could be a good fit for you.

  • One of the most important differences is in their coat length. Another important difference is in their temperament and energy level: the Malinois is known for its high energy and working temperament, while the Tervueren is described as somewhat calmer and more temperate.

  • As it was already the case with the Groenendael, also with the Tervueren the black herding dog Piccard can be called the progenitor. This time, however, he was crossed with a reddish-brown, "well charbonned" (black sooty) bitch. Later, especially with "Milsart" strong inbreeding was practiced.

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