Family Dog
Family Dog
AKC Registrable
AKC Registrable

Belgian Tervuren

Otherwise known as: Terv Chien de Berger Belge the Belgische Herdershond Tervuerense

The elegant, agile Belgian Tervuren is a bright and self-assured herding dog of medium size, known to be affectionate and possessive with loved ones. Lots of hard work and challenging play is heaven for this tireless, do-it-all dog. 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 Tervuren’s coat furnishings, like the sporty “collarette” around the neck, are more profuse on males, who run larger than females.

  • Size
  • Grooming
  • Energy
  • Trainability
  • Disposition

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Puppy Knowledge

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.

Size, Proportion, Substance

The ideal male is 24 to 26 inches in height and female 22 to 24 inches in height measured at the withers. Dogs are to be penalized in accordance to the degree they deviate from the ideal. Males under 23 inches or over 26½ inches or females under 21 inches or over 24½ inches are to be disqualified. The body is square; the length measured from the point of shoulder to the point of the rump approximates the height. Females may be somewhat longer in body. Bone structure is medium in proportion to height, so that he is wellbalanced throughout and neither spindly or leggy nor cumbersome and bulky.

Head

Well-chiseled, skin taut, long without exaggeration. Expression intelligent and questioning, indicating alertness, attention and readiness for action. Eyes dark brown, mediumsize, 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. Skull and muzzle measuring from the stop are of equal length. Overall size is in proportion to the body, top of skull flattened rather than rounded, the width approximately the same as but not wider than the length. Stop moderate. The topline of the muzzle is parallel to the topline of the skull when viewed from the side. Muzzle moderately pointed, avoiding any tendency toward snipiness or cheekiness. Jaws strong and powerful. Nose black without spots or discolored areas. Nostrils well defined. Lips tight and black, no pink showing on the outside when mouth is closed. Teeth - Full complement of strong white teeth, evenly set, meeting in a scissors or a level bite. Overshot and undershot teeth are a fault. An undershot bite such that there is a complete loss of contact by all the incisors is a disqualification. Broken or discolored teeth should not be penalized. Missing teeth are a fault. Four or more missing teeth are a serious fault.

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. Withers accentuated. Topline level, straight and firm from withers to croup. Body - Croup medium 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. Abdomen moderately developed, neither tucked up nor paunchy. Ribs well-sprung but flat on the sides. Loin section viewed from above is relatively short, broad and strong, but blending smoothly into the back. Tail strong at the base, the last vertebra to reach at least to the hock. At rest the dog holds it low, the tip bent back level with the hock. When in action, he may raise it to a point level with the topline giving it a slight curve, but not a hook. Tail is not carried above the backline nor turned to one side. A cropped or stump tail is a disqualification.

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. Forearms long 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. Ornamentation consists of especially long and abundant hair, like a collarette around the neck, particularly on males; fringe of long hair down the back of the forearm; especially long and abundant hair trimming the breeches; long, heavy and abundant hair on the tail. The female rarely has as long or as ornamented a coat as the male. This disparity must not be a consideration when the female is judged against the male.

Color

Body rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay is ideal and preferred. Predominate color that is pale, washed out cream or gray is a fault. The coat is characteristically double pigmented whereby the tips of fawn hairs are blackened. Belgian Tervuren characteristically become darker with age. On mature males, this blackening is especially pronounced on the shoulders, back and rib section. Blackening in patches is a fault. Although allowance should be made for females and young males, absence of blackening in mature dogs is a serious fault. Chest is normally black, but may be a mixture of black and gray. White is permitted on the chest/sternum only, not to extend more than 3 inches above the prosternum, and not to reach either point of shoulder. Face has a black mask and the ears are mostly black. A face with a complete absence of black is a serious fault. Frost or white on chin or muzzle is normal. The underparts of the body, tail, and breeches are cream, gray, or light beige. The tail typically has a darker or black tip. Feet - The tips of the toes may be white. Nail color may vary from black to transparent. Solid black, solid liver or any area of white except as specified on the chest, tips of the toes, chin and muzzle are disqualifications.

Gait

Lively and graceful, covering the maximum ground with minimum effort. Always in motion, seemingly never tiring, he shows ease of movement rather than hard driving action. He single tracks at a fast gait, the legs both front and rear converging toward the centerline of gravity of the dog. Viewed from the side he exhibits full extension of both fore and hindquarters. The backline should remain firm and level, parallel to the line of motion. His natural tendency is to move in a circle, rather than a straight line. 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.

Temperament

Courageous, Alert, Intelligent

Faults

Any deviation from these specifications is a fault. In determining whether a fault is minor, serious, or major, these two factors should be used as a guide: 1. The extent to which it deviates from the standard. 2. The extent to which such deviation would actually affect the working ability of the dog.

Disqualifications

Males under 23 inches or over 26½ inches or females under 21 inches or over 24½ inches. Hanging ears, as on a hound. An undershot bite such that there is a complete loss of contact by all the incisors. A cropped or stump tail. Solid black, solid liver or any area of white except as specified on the chest, tips of the toes, chin, and muzzle.

Overview

Group

Herding

About

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 Tervuren’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 Tervurens are grim, mechanical worker drones. In fact, this breed takes real delight in their ability to master any task, and owners say a mischievous sense of humor is at work whenever Tervurens outsmart their beloved human.

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.

Standard

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.