The Belgian Tervuren
"Chien de Berger Belge"

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Belgian Tervuren
(Chien de Berger Belge)
Weight: Male 55 — 65 lbs
Weight Female 40 — 50 lbs
Height:Male: 24” — 26”
Height Female: 22” — 24”
AKC Rank 2008 #101
Lifespan: 10—13 yrs
Group Herding

Dog Breed Info - The Belgian Tervuren

Breed Overview

Origin: 1800’s. Original function: Livestock herding. Today: Herding trials, Schutzhund.

In Belgium, during the late 1890’s, there have been four different cattle and sheep herding dog breeds developed, all known as Chien de Berger Belge. The typically agile, strong, intelligent and devoted Tervuren is one of the four varieties. The main difference between the four is the kind of coat.. The Four varieties are the Wirehaired Lackenois, the Shorthaired Malinois, the Long Black-haired Groenendael and the long anything-but-black Longhaired Tervuren. The one breed was named after the village of Tervuren where the dog was bred.. The Terv was recognized in America in 1918 by the AKC. The popularity was so poor it was gone by the Depression and was restarted after WWII using offspring of the Malinois. By 1959 the Belgium Shepherd was divided into three breeds (the Lackenois was omitted) and the Terv was left on it’s own. The Belgian Tervuren is the best looking, most elegant of the three breeds but sees limited popularity in the States.

A Belgian Tervuren takes
a rest after playing ball

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Yes. Very trainable. Excels at police and guard work too. An ideal opportunity for clicker training and positive reinforcement. The Tervuren will res[pond really well to this method of training.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Belgian Tervuren? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Belgian Tervuren puppies learn quickly and are easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Belgian Tervuren is a beautiful, majestic looking breed. The overall shape is much like a Collie or German Shepherd dog. The Belgian Tervuren must have daily mental and physical exercise and plenty of it to stay in shape. This is a protective dog that values family and older children in the family but not strangers. The breed is often used in police, search and rescue and guard work. However, for all this, given the exercise, the Belgian Tervuren is a calm and polite family companion pet indoors. The dog is smart, independent, loyal, alert, courageous and tenacious. They are playful and affectionate, yet cautious with other pets, dogs, animals and people. The breed does tend to “herd” people and children by nipping at heels, especially when running. It is important that this breed be started with heavy socialization and training around age 3 to 4 weeks. The breeder is responsible for getting this dog off to the right start. The new owner must continue the work

If you happen to get a Belgian Tervuren with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

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Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Wary of other dogs. Will pick and choose her dog friends. Can be aggressive, territorial, and dominating.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Only safe if raised with the pets, and NO small animals like gerbils and hamsters,

Friendly Toward Strangers

No. This is a guard dog and is wary of strangers. She's okay after getting to know the stranger, but she will always be on guard first.


Very playful—mostly in the sense of fetching balls and maybe Frisbees.


Very affectionate—unusual, especially considering this is a strong guard dog.

Good with children?

Yes, older, respectful children, 6 to 7 and up that know how to behave around a dog are okay. Supervise very young children closely as the Tervuren has little tolerance for nonsense and rambunctious noise. She would appreciate a good game of fetch, jogging or “catch me.” There is a natural urge to herd and nip at heels when kids run. That's in their blood.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. The Belgian Tervuren is good for some seniors. I know many seniors that are 70 and up who are into serious jogging for health. If the senior is jogging, or just walking two miles a day, or can throw a ball for an hour, the Belgian Tervuren would be a great pet. Plenty of companionship, affection and playfulness plus a terrific guard dog and watchful early-warning-system… It’s worth looking into.

Living environment

House with fenced yard and doggie door, farm or ranch are perfect for the Belgian Tervuren. NO apartments. This guard dog might run into other dogs and people on stairs or elevators.

Providing a medium size fenced yard would give the dog a chance to play fetch with a ball for some exercise. If the yard was only 25' x 40' it would work well for fetch.

Energy level

High. Must burn off the energy every day.

Exercise needs, daily

Plenty of exercise. Jogging on a long leash OR 2 long walks OR an hour of vigorous fetch are needed each day.


Excels. Something they do well.

Guard dog

Excellent. It’s part of their heritage.





Brush the long, double coat three times a week to keep from matting. Brush oftener when shedding. The dog will appreciate the extra attention.


Suggested Reading For The Belgian Tervuren
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals wirh dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners and should be kept close at hand.


Belgian Tervuren Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Belgian Tervuren puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training. Here's a site that has a far-reaching grasp on breeders:
Belgian Tervuren Breeders with puppies for sale.

You may want to go online and search for Belgian Shepherd Tervuren breeders(OR) Belgian Tervuren Breeders, puppies for sale, clibs or whatever is appropriate in your area. Belgian Tervuren Breeders is likely your best bet.

Belgian Tervuren Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Belgian Tervuren Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder -de Berger Belge Rescue - (Nationwide) At the time I am writing this, Petfinder is listing only 23 dogs of this breed under Belgian "Sheepdog Tervuren." That figure is subject to change, of course. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health papers that might exist for future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will likely have to search online for Belgian Tervuren Rescue groups, kennels or foster homes.

Dog Health Issues For The Belgian Tervuren
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the de Berger Belge by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Persistent pupillary membranes—Hereditary. Vision impaired by strands of tissue in the eye left over from before birth. Strands should be gone by 5 weeks age. Strands can bridge from iris to cornea, iris to pupil, iris to lens (causing cataracts) or they can for sheets of tissue. If the dog is young and you see small white spots in the dog’s eyes or the dog seems to have poor vision, see the vet. Forming of cataracts might be the biggest problem but don’t let this slip by. It may be nothing, it may be something.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Belgian Tervuren. You may notice your de Berger Belge “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with and the Belgian Tervuren is no exception. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a Belgian Tervuren prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Epilepsy—A serious seizure disorder that shows up in dogs around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the Belgian Tervuren's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Pannus—A disorder of the cornea of the eye affecting certain breeds in the 4 to 7 year range with an increase in dogs living at higher elevations. Not painful and treatable. If not treated for the remaining life of the dog, the cornea will slowly darken and scar causing visual impairment.

  • Obesity - This breed is prone to becoming overweight. Be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and watch the food bowl and treats closely. Obese dogs have all sorts of problems including diabetes.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Hemangiosarcoma—An incurable tumor in the blood vessels. It is a highly malignant and aggressive cancer that lines the blood vessels. In the early stages, this cancer shows no signs is painless and develops slowly. A lot of dogs die from internal bleeding before there is even a diagnosis. This is one deadly, stealthy disease. While rare, it has been reported in the Belgian Tervuren.

Other health problems could occur with your Belgian Tervuren. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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