Belgian Tervuren: A Complete Guide

belgian tervueren sitting on a wooden walkway in autumn park

Belgian Tervuren Breed Overview

The Belgian Tervuren dog breed is a special breed and is one of four Belgian sheepdog breeds. This dog breed is smart and sensitive, and great for families. They’re amazingly intelligent and easy to train, although they can be independent thinkers from time to time. The Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent and athletic breed with one of the most elegant sheepdog breeds. Their original purpose was to herd animals, giving them a huge working-dog advantage. They can stay focused and busy and need a lot of training to bring out their best behaviors.

This breed isn’t great for first-time dog owners because they need so much attention. They’re a very attentive dog breed and will need a ton of exercise to stay healthy. Also, these dogs will not want to be left alone for long periods, or they may develop separation anxiety. If you’re looking into getting a Belgian Tervuren, you can keep reading this article to see if you’re ready to care for one of these unique dogs.

Two Belgian Shepherd Tervuren dogs running outside


Many sheepdogs existed in Belgium at the time of this dog’s development in the late 1800s. These dogs were specific to the herding dog group and maintained four separate varieties in the breeds. There is the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Groenendael, Belgian Laekenois, and Belgian Tervuren dogs. While the American Kennel Club accepted each Belgian dog as its breed, except for the Belgian Laekenois, the United Kingdom Kennel Club acknowledges each of the four breeds to be the same breed, with different variations available.

The Belgian Tervuren breed was developed as a working dog and grew into a great guard dog. The specific Tervuren type of this breed got its name from the village this strain originated from. When these dogs thrived, they were used by the military in World War I as messenger dogs, red cross dogs, and even light machine-gun cart dogs. They were incredibly useful and came to the US in 1953. By 1959, the American Kennel Club has separated each type of this breed. Even though the Belgian Tervuren proved to be very useful, they never grew to be a wildly popular dog breed in the United States.


The Belgian Tervuren dog breed can stand between 21 to 26 inches tall. These dogs are medium-sized and aren’t the best for apartment living, and they can grow to weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. Although this breed isn’t gigantic, they need a lot of space to be their energetic selves. Even though apartments aren’t the best living spaces for them, they can be quite happy in these smaller homes as long as they’re given plenty of outdoor activity.


Many working dog breeds are incredibly intelligent, just like the Belgian Tervuren. These dogs are alert and have a lot of courage. Most dogs will not back away in the face of strangers, and they’re very alert animals. This watchdog also has a goofy side, and many dogs have a good sense of humor. If the Belgian Tervuren isn’t as well socialized, they might become shy and wary of strangers. However, if you give your dog plenty of socialization, they can grow into the best-behaved puppy they’re capable of being.

This breed can be a very observant and friendly dog. As much as they can get along with others, they also want to protect their friends and loved ones. This loyal dog breed isn’t a fan of alone time and might become very stressed when they’re left alone for too long. They can be playful and curious and would be great with puzzle games. These dogs need the training to be their brightest selves.

a little boy with a belgian tervueren


Working dog breeds like the Belgian Tervuren are incredibly intelligent. These breeds can often be stubborn or more independent thinkers. Some of these breeds can become a challenge, but the Belgian Tervuren is a highly trainable breed. These dogs would thrive under the watchful hand of an experienced dog owner. This breed isn’t particularly easygoing regarding training, but they’re not the disobedient type either.

The best way to train a Belgian Tervuren is to help them see that training is a positive experience. Train your dog to enjoy learning by using high rewards like your pet’s favorite treats. Keep lessons short and only use positive responses in your training sessions. The more your dog associates training with positive feelings, the more they’ll be willing to train and enjoy listening to you.


This breed’s fur can come in a fawn, russet, or mahogany color with a black overlay. Sometimes these dogs will have lighter hairs on their back and chest area and can have black or gray hair. The Belgian Tervuren breed will have a black mask on their face and usually have white toes. Even though the breed is mostly covered in darker fur, they can have cream, light beige, or gray on their tail, thighs, and body’s underside.

A sheepdog breed like the Belgian Tervuren is super thick and has tons of hair. These dogs shed year-round and have even bigger coat blowouts during shedding season. There will be a lot of grooming involved in caring for these animals, but you can do this grooming at home by yourself. You can read a grooming section further down this article.

Belgian Tervueren puppy running through a field

Belgian Tervuren Health Overview

This dog breed is mostly healthy, although, like all dog breeds, the Belgian Tervuren is at risk of a few minor health risks. Belgian Tervuren puppies have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Although some of these dogs may experience some physical health issues, most dogs in this breed won’t experience any serious conditions. On average, this breed is mostly healthy and is only at risk of experiencing minor health conditions that affect their joint or ability to clot blood. Even though these may seem dangerous, they often only cause minor symptoms or issues with a dog’s health, and owners can easily care for their pets at home.

A few minor psychological issues will likely affect most dogs in this breed. Almost all dogs experience stress and anxiety in their lives, which is a normal response to external stimuli. However, owners need to understand the different symptoms dogs show to understand their dog’s symptoms and intensity. This way, they can easily treat their pet, so their dog has a happier life.

Common Psychological Health Conditions


Almost all dogs, if not every dog, will experience stress at some point. The most often cause of stress in dogs is due to noise-induced stress. Dogs have great hearing, so when a Belgian Tervuren hears a siren, firework, or thunderstorm, they’re going to freak out a little bit. Loud noises like these can affect a dog and cause them to experience minor stress symptoms or, in worse cases, intense symptoms. Other things like poor socialization skills will also cause dogs to experience symptoms of stress. Animals experience stress around new people, places, or animals because they aren’t used to these interactions. If your pet only has minor symptoms of stress, it isn’t very difficult to treat them.

A Belgian Tervuren puppy might show symptoms of stress by barking, crying, or whining. These dogs might pace and become restless. They can also drool excessively, wag their tails, and shake. Dogs with more severe symptoms of stress might urinate, growl, vomit, or experience more intense symptoms like those. Often when dogs are experiencing stress, they’ll exhibit more than one symptom at a time. Owners can deduce how severe their pet’s stress is and treat them based on the intensity of their symptoms. Dogs with less severe cases of stress can be treated with calming supplements or in a safe space. If your pet has more severe stress symptoms, you should provide them with more socialization training and calming supplements, which will help their stress decrease with time.


Many dogs experience anxiety, and a loyal breed like the Belgian Tervuren is likely to experience anxiety at higher levels. This breed needs a lot of attention and likes to be with its owners. Many dogs will deal with separation anxiety when owners are away from home. Other times dogs experience anxiety are when they’re reminded of previous scaring experiences. Many shelter dogs have experienced abuse, neglect, homelessness, and abandonment, which is why shelter animals can be much more anxious than a dog raised in one home since birth. The best way to help a dog deal with anxiety is to understand the intensity of their symptoms, which is very similar to dealing with a dog’s stress.

Belgian Tervuren puppies might show anxiety by shaking, wagging their tail, or becoming restless. Some dogs will cry, drool excessively and bark. Sometimes dogs with separation anxiety will try to prevent their owners from leaving or trying to escape the house themselves. More severe cases of separation anxiety lead dogs to trash their owner’s homes. Often dogs with severe anxiety will vomit, defecate, or urinate in the house. If your pet has minor anxiety symptoms, you can treat them with calming supplements and a safe space. Dogs with more severe anxiety need to be desensitized to whatever is causing their anxiety. Owners can try doing this at home or hire a professional trainer to partake in counterconditioning treatment which can be costly and time-consuming. It’s up to the decision of the owner to figure out the best way to help your pet overcome its anxiety.

Calming Dog Ad

Belgian Tervuren fetching tennis ball in swimming pool,

Calming Dog Products

Many tools can come in handy when helping your Belgian Tervuren calm down. Many pet owners help their dogs relax by giving them a safe space to go. Animals will retreat to this area in times of stress and anxiety. If you want to provide your dog with proper safe space, you need to dedicate a room or small area to your dog. This place must be quiet, away from foot traffic, and somewhere your pet won’t be bothered. Dog owners can fill these spaces with things that can help their dogs feel comfortable. Many pet owners will put a comfy dog bed, a dog cage, and a bowl of water in these spaces. Some owners like to add their pet’s favorite toys, blankets, and some zen treats. You can build many comforting items in your pet’s safe space; it is up to you how to decorate it. Just make sure you only add things you know your pet will like.

Common Physical Health Conditions

Elbow Dysplasia

One of the most common health conditions in the canine species is elbow dysplasia. This condition occurs when a dog has issues with its elbow joint. The elbow joint has three bones that have to come together perfectly not to experience this condition. Many dogs are born with elbow dysplasia or develop it as they grow. Dog owners might notice symptoms of their dog suffering from elbow dysplasia.

When dogs have this condition, they commonly limp and lift the arm that’s been hurting them. Some dogs will try to run while lifting the affected leg and may develop a strange hop. Many pets with this condition will feel pain when they use stairs, jump, lie down, or get touched on their elbows. Some dogs might become less active regularly, which can cause the joint to aggravate when used since it will lock up more often. These dogs will need help caring for their joints and pain. Dog owners can get their pets joint supplements which are great at helping lubricate their elbows. They can also get pain management treats or CBD to help their pets.

Hip Dysplasia

The most common joint issue in dogs is hip dysplasia. Many dogs have this condition, and the Belgian Tervuren is at a predisposed risk of contracting this disease. Dogs with hip dysplasia can be born with it or develop it. Large dogs with bigger growth spurts are more likely to experience hip dysplasia. Instead of the hip joint sliding as a ball-in-socket joint, it grinds on itself. The grinding of the bone causes discomfort and inflammation in the joint. But, these symptoms aren’t usually present until a dog ages.

Many animals experience arthritis in the hip due to hip dysplasia. This condition will make it hard for them to stand, run, and walk. It can make it nearly impossible for some dogs to jump, and many will use the steps painfully. There are plenty of symptoms dogs with hip dysplasia may have, most of which have to do with pain associated with the hip. Owners can help treat their dog’s problems by giving them the right amount of exercise. If you give your dog too little exercise, their joints will lock up, and if you give them too much, their joints will get more swollen. Proper activity will help their joints strengthen, while owners can treat their pets with pain supplements. There are many joint supplements at the pet store, and owners can get their dog CBD or pain supplements to take care of their pet’s symptoms.

Belgian Shepherd Tervuren running in agility competition

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This condition is a blood disease that makes it difficult for dogs to form blood clots. Von Willebrand’s disease can be potentially dangerous but often causes minor or no issues. When dogs have this condition, their blood doesn’t clot as well, making them bleed longer when they have a scratch. This condition is usually diagnosed when a canine receives neutering or spaying surgeries. Belgian Tervuren dogs don’t have symptoms when they experience this condition.

The best way owners can help their dogs take care of this condition is to try to prevent any injuries from occurring. You can minimize scratches by not letting your dog play on concrete and not allowing them to roughhouse with other animals. You can also keep a first aid kit for your dog stocked in your house in case of an accident.

Oral Health

A dog’s oral health is one of the most vital parts of its overall health. When dogs eat, they father bacteria, food, plaque, and tartar in their mouths. Some dogs have food and debris stuck in their mouth, which can lead to issues like dental disease. The most severe form of dental disease will cause a dog to have rotten teeth, and they’ll need to be pulled or will fall out. The mildest form of dental disease causes dogs to have inflamed and easily irritated gums. Many dogs in the US have the first stage of this condition, and their owners aren’t even aware.

The best way to care for your Belgian Tervuren dog’s oral health is by brushing their teeth three times a week. You must brush their teeth with dog-specific products since human toothbrushes are too rough for them, and human toothpaste is toxic to dogs. If you can’t manage to give your pet three brushing sessions a week, you must give them at least one. You can help your pet by giving them oral health products in between brushing sessions. It helps your pet maintain their dental health, even if you’re falling behind in oral health care.

  1. Tartar Soft Rawhide Chews
  2. Purina Daily Oral Care Dog Treats

Belgian Tervuren Breed’s Needs


An active breed like the Belgian Tervuren will need plenty of activity to stay fit and healthy. Owners must provide these dogs with a minimum hour of exercise daily. These pets might be great for morning runs or going on hikes. Keep in mind while these dogs get exercise, their herding habit might kick in, and they could start chasing joggers, bicyclists, and cars if they’re not properly trained. So you should make sure you train your Belgian Tervuren to walk properly.

Keep in mind that this breed is also mentally active and will need tons of mental stimulus too. To ensure these dogs don’t get depressed or have disobedient habits, owners need to give their pets a solid twenty minutes of mental activity daily. They can do this by helping their pets through training lessons or enrichment activities.


A medium-sized breed like the Belgian Tervuren dog will need plenty of food to keep them healthy. They should get about two to three cups of high-quality dry food daily when they’re older. It’s best for these dogs if owners split their needed food into multiple meals throughout the day, and this will help your pet feel full and digest its food better.


This dog has a thick double coat. The Tervuren dog breed has a topcoat, long straight hair, and a dense protective undercoat. Because of their double coat status, they will likely need weekly brushing sessions, which can take up to 20 minutes when the dogs need a good brushing session. The top coat on these pets has a unique mini-mane called a collarette. Because of their moderately harsh fur and large shedding habits, these dogs are not fit for allergy sufferers.

Belgian Shepherd Tervueren lying in the grass

Top Product Picks for the Belgian Tervuren

If you’ve decided the Belgian Tervuren breed is a perfect fit for your household, you might be super excited to get your new dog. It can be a very exciting time to bring a new dog home, but many owners forget that a big move like this isn’t always so thrilling for their new dog. You can do a few things to help your dog adjust to your home more easily, but first, pet owners need to ensure they’re prepared with the right supplies.

The first thing new dog owners need to get is a collar, leash, and harness. Only purchase a harness if you know your new pet’s size measurements if you don’t wait until after you have your pet purchase a harness. Owners should ensure they have a water and food bowl ready when their dogs come through the door. It would also be useful for many pet parents to own a dog bed, crate, food storage container, and some treats. These things can come in handy when you bring a new dog home. Lastly, other items like doggy waste bags, toys, portable food dishes, and a car seat belt can be useful as you get used to living with your new pet.

It’s just important to remember to give your dog space when they come home. It can be tempting to crow your new Belgian Tervuren puppy when they first arrive but giving them their space is vital to helping them feel safe. This way, your dog can explore their new home on their own, and you can take the moments they come to you to build a stronger bond. For example, the first few times your puppy comes to you on their own, and you can give them treats. This way, they’ll already associate you with good feelings, and it won’t take long for your puppy to love their new owner.

Other Resources

  1. Belgian Tervuren American Kennel Club
  2. American Belgian Tervuren Club
  3. Great Lakes Belgian Tervuren Club
  4. Belgian Tervuren Rescue
  5. Belgian Sheepdog Club of America
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