Belgian Tervuren

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 18, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Metz Eric/

The first breed to win an AKC Herding Championship.


Belgian Tervuren Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Belgian Tervuren Conservation Status

Belgian Tervuren Locations

Belgian Tervuren Locations

Belgian Tervuren Facts

Fun Fact
The first breed to win an AKC Herding Championship.
Litter Size
6-10 puppies

Belgian Tervuren Physical Characteristics

  • Fawn
  • Black
  • Cream
  • Black-Brown
Skin Type

Belgian Tervuren as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1200 to $2000
Dog group
Male weight
65-75 lbs
Female weight
60-70 lbs

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While some people see a guard dog when they look at the Belgian Tervuren, they are actually a herding breed.

Known for their athleticism and ease of training, as well as their incredible intelligence, the Belgian Tervuren can be an amazing companion in the right home. Like any dog, there are certain lifestyles where it fits better than others. For the family that wants a bright, energetic companion, the Belgian Tervuren may be the perfect fit.

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Belgian Tervurens and Other Belgian Shepherds

Belgian Tervuren isolated

Belgian Tervuren isolated


Belgian Tervurens are one member of the family of Belgian Shepherds. The different shepherds are similar in many ways, with the main difference being the colors and type of coat they have. The Tervuren is fawn-colored with a long coat, while the Malinois is also fawn-colored, but has a short coat. The Groenendael has a long, black coat, and is more commonly known as the Belgian Sheepdog. The Laekenois has a rough, wavy, fawn-colored coat.

Pictorial summary of the Belgian Tervuren

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Belgian Tervuren

Make a reliable and companionable guard dogRequires lots of exercise
Hard-working and quick to learnNeeds socialization from a young age
Playful and fun companionDoes best with an experienced pet owner who plans to obedience train the dog


Laekenois running down a path with tongue out

The Laekenois, Malinois, Belgian sheepdog, and Belgian Tervuren were once considered to be a single breed

©Marry Kolesnik/

Health and Entertainment for your Belgian Tervuren

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The Belgian Tervuren draws its name from the town of Tervuren, the home of expert dog breeder M.F. Corbeel who worked hard at breeding dogs with fawn and dark coats with each other, during the early 1900s.

However, before then, it was considered to be one and the same with the Belgian sheepdog, the Laekenois, and the Malinois. Thanks to its intelligence, protective nature, and boundless energy, it was especially popular on farms. There it watched over flocks and kept a sharp lookout for intruders.

Ever versatile, it has smoothly transitioned to more modern times as a K-9 operative in the armed forces and law enforcement, and even on the small and silver screens as a star.

Height and Weight

Belgian Tervuren in grass
The Belgian Tervuren has similar features to the Malinois and Belgian Sheepdog.

©Angelique van Heertum/

The Belgian Tervuren ranges from 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 60 and 75 pounds, making it a large dog.

Height (Male):24-26 inches
Height (Female):22-24 inches
Weight (Male):65-75 lbs
Weight (Female):60-70 lbs

Common Health Issues

Tervuren standing on rock above the ocean

The Belgian Tervuren may suffer from osteochondritis, hip, and elbow dysplasia, or epilepsy

©Ana Iacob Photography/

The Belgian Tervuren is susceptible to several different eye conditions. These include pannus, an immune condition of the cornea that develops in middle age, as well as cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy. In addition, Belgian Tervurens sometimes develop osteochondritis, hip, and elbow dysplasia as well as epilepsy. They may also suffer from allergies.

The American Belgian Tervuren Club participates in the CHIC certification program. For CHIC certification, the dog must have an eye examination from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation and thyroid, elbow, and hip examinations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. The results are listed in the CHIC database, which potential buyers can check before making a purchase.


Belgian Tervuren Header

Belgian Tervurens are happiest when working at a task or hanging around people

©Metz Eric/

As a herding breed, the Belgian Tervuren is bred to work. When given a job to do, one that keeps both his mind and body active, he is happiest. With too much free time, he may develop destructive habits.

The good news is that the Belgian Tervuren is very intelligent and loves working alongside people. If you are willing to put the time into training, you will be rewarded with a loving, pleasant companion.

Belgian Tervurens are highly intelligent and they will learn good (or bad) behavior from how they are raised. While the personality of a Belgian Tervuren puppy may seem endearing, it is important to discourage nipping, chasing, and other herding traits while your puppy is young.

If you are interested in finding a dog at a rescue, plan to work patiently with it while it learns how to become a member of your family. Belgian Tervurens often end up in rescues due to their high-energy levels. With a solid training plan and plenty of exercise, they can easily learn more positive behaviors.

How To Take Care of Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervuren Running in the Snow

Belgian Tervuren adults should be fed blends tailored for high-activity breeds

©Metz Eric/

The prospective pet owner should have a good idea of what to expect from a Belgian Tervuren. The breed can seem high-maintenance in some ways, such as its activity level, but its intelligence and love for companionship make it an attractive choice for many families.

The Best Dog Food for Belgian Tervurens

As with any breed that has a tendency toward developing hip or elbow problems, choosing a dog food high in calcium is a smart choice. Feed puppy food exclusively until your puppy is around a year old.

When you transition to adult food, choosing a blend intended for dogs with a high activity level will keep your dog in good condition. Breaking the food requirements up into several smaller meals throughout the day is important for puppies and is a good habit to maintain into adulthood. Maintaining a healthy weight may help your pup’s joints throughout its life span.

Access to fresh, clean water at all times is important for your pup as well. Some dogs enjoy the taste of flowing water and drink more if provided with a pet fountain.

A-Z Animals thinks the best dog food for Belgian Tervurens is Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Adult Dry Dog Food, Wholesome Grains.

For a recipe that fortifies your dog’s health from the inside out, this might be a perfect choice. Angus beef is supplemented with chondroitin and glucosamine to help prevent joint dysplasia, while taurine supplies nutrition for the heart and eyes. Plus, antioxidants and probiotics work together for a thriving immune system.

Check out Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Wholesome Grains dog food on Chewy and Amazon.

Best with Natural Ingredients
Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Adult Dry Dog Food, Wholesome Grains
  • Real angus beef and barley recipe for adult dogs
  • Recipe uses 8 ingredients for dogs with sensitivities
  • Antioxidants and probiotics for healthy digestion and immune system
  • Blend of vitamins and minerals to support healthy joints, skin and coat
Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

Close-Up of Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervurens shed heavily once or twice a year

© Metz

Brushing this pup’s coat once or twice a week minimizes shedding by removing dead hair. Regular brushing with a pin or slicker brush can make quick work of this job and prevent your pet from developing mats in his dense undercoat.

Once or twice a year, expect your Belgian Tervuren to blow his coat, or shed heavily for a week or so. More frequent brushing during this time can keep your home cleaner and speed the shedding process.

A good look at your pup’s coat will show the interesting colors that give him such a distinctive look. Each hair has both a base color, generally fawn, but can be a richer, redder brown as well, and a black tip.

Aside from regular brushing, trim your pup’s nails every few weeks, brush his teeth frequently, and wipe his ears out as needed. Other than that, the occasional bath can keep him looking and smelling fresh.


It is never too early to start training your puppy. By getting an early start in both housetraining and obedience work, you not only prevent bad habits from developing but more easily bond with your pup.

Formal obedience classes may have to wait until your pup has received his vaccinations, but you can get a head start on socialization by inviting friends and family over to visit. Early introductions to children and cats help your pup learn how to behave, which is important as he matures.


The breed is very active. Many of the challenges that Belgian Tervuren owners face are due to too much energy and not enough stimulation. Even if you have a fenced yard, your dog needs daily activity, such as walks, training sessions, and active play, to ensure he burns off excess energy. A Belgian Tervuren that doesn’t get sufficient exercise can develop bad habits such as digging, chewing, and barking.


Belgian Tervuren Puppy
Socializing your Belgian Tervuren pup will help him get accustomed to children and other dogs.

©Erik Lam/

The average size of a Belgian Tervuren litter is 6 to 10 puppies. The pups will be mostly fawn or mahogany colored with dark tips on the end of each hair. There is not much variety in colors in the Belgian Tervuren.


Belgian Tervurens are good with children if they are socialized with them from a young age. If there are children in your family, your pup will consider them as part of the family.

If there are no children around, spending time walking your dog at parks and other public spaces where he can observe children, with their rambunctious play and unpredictable movement, will make him more comfortable around them.

As a herding breed, the Belgian Tervuren can have a tendency to “herd” children and other pets by circling and nipping. It is important to discourage this from a young age. While it may be cute for a small puppy, it becomes a big problem as the dog matures.

Dogs Similar To Belgian Tervuren

Why do dogs put their ears back

German Shepherds are pretty similar in appearance to Belgian Tervurens

©Schelmanova Natalia/

The dogs most similar to the Belgian Tervuren would be other Belgian Shepherds, such as the Malinois and Belgian Sheepdog. For breeds outside this family, look at other large-sized herding breeds, such as the German Shepherd.

Belgian Tervuren vs Malinois

Belgian Malinois with orange collar and tongue out

The Belgian Malinois is capable of handling higher temperatures compared to the Belgian Tervuren


The breeds are similar in many ways. They both require plenty of exercise and training, are energetic, and enjoy having a job to do. The short, hard coat of the Malinois allows it to do better in hot climates and harsh conditions. Malinois are also more independent than Tervurens. While both are easily trained, the Tervuren is more likely to bond closely with all family members rather than selecting one as the boss.

Famous Belgian Tervuren

Albert was a police dog for the Amsterdam police force during a period when the city’s population exploded. Responsible for tracking down over 200 individuals over his career, the people of Amsterdam recognized his service by erecting a statue in his honor after his death in 1922.

Popular dog names include both pet and human names. Common current pet names include:

  • Charlie
  • Max
  • Buddy
  • Bella
  • Daisy
  • Lucy

View all 285 animals that start with B

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

Belgian Tervuren FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does the Belgian Tervuren cost to own?

Expect to pay between $1200 and $2000 for a puppy from a reputable breeder. Rescue dogs are more affordable but may be difficult to find.

Is the Belgian Tervuren good with kids?

Properly socialized, they can do well with children but need training to prevent herding behaviors.

How long do Belgian Tervurens live?

The average life span is between 10 and 12 years.

What kind of dog is a Belgian Tervuren?

The Belgian Tervuren is a member of the herding group.

Do Belgian Tervurens make good pets?

Belgian Tervurens make good pets for an active family. If you have time to devote to exercise and training, you will have a lifelong best friend. If, however, you work long hours away from home, live in an area where outdoor exercise is difficult, or have limited free time, this isn’t the best breed for you.

Are Belgian Tervurens aggressive?

When properly socialized, they are not aggressive. They will, however, alert you to someone approaching your home and are easily trained to act as watchdogs.

What are the key differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Groenendael?

The key differences between the Belgian Tervuren and the Groenendael are size, appearance, ancestry, and breeding. Other differences include behavior, health, and lifespan.

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  1. American Belgian Tervuren Club, Available here:
  2. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  3. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  4. Dog Breeds List, Available here:
  5., Available here:

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