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Belgian tervuren dog standing on a path

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Herding group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 22-24 inches (female), 24-26 inches (male)
  • Weight — 55-70 pounds (female), 40-55 pounds (female)
  • Coat length & texture — Double-layer, dense, and coarse
  • Coat color — Multicolored across puppies and adult breed members; ranging from fawn, to light or deep brown with black accents according to the official breed standard.
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Conversationally
  • Life span — 12-14 years
  • Temperament — Loyal, intelligent, attentive, alert, and energetic
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Belgium

Belgian tervuren fun facts

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Belgian Tervurens Beowulf and Scout. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Belgian Tervurens love Boomer and Kali equally.

  • They’re not the same as your local German shepherd. While they might be mistaken for the German shepherd dog, the Belgian tervuren term comes from Belgium, while German shepherds come from, well, Germany. They do share similar temperaments, though.
  • The breed is a subset of a larger class. The Belgian tervuren is a subset of the Belgian sheepdog class. There are three other subsets, named after German towns—Groenendael, Mechelar, and Laekenois.
  • They’ve helped thousands of people. Many breed members work in search and rescue, saving lives around the world.
Belgian tervuren dog running in snow

Belgian tervuren temperament and characteristics 

Belgian tervuren dogs are known for their intelligence, playfulness, and high energy levels. They love to interact with their pet parents, whether it’s through high-impact, rough-and-tumble play or some good old cuddling on the couch. They love getting attention from their close friends and family.

While these pups are fiercely loyal to their families, they may not be agreeable to pet siblings later on. Many owners find that it’s best if they are raised with other dogs and cats, offering the benefit of early socialization and bonding between a Belgian tervuren and a fellow fur sibling. Despite their territorial behavior, they are very good with children of all ages — especially if they are introduced early on.

Strangers are a different story, though. Belgian tervurens are known for being possessive and defensive, chasing joggers up roads or cars on the street. It’s best to limit exposure to visitors until your dog has been trained and socialized properly.

Due to their size, Belgian tervuren dogs often do well in mid-sized homes with a yard to run. However, pawrents who live in an apartment can still give these dogs a great experience with enough time on walks and at the dog park.

Common Belgian tervuren health problems 

While Belgian tervurens are incredibly healthy breeds, they can be predisposed to a few health conditions. Here are a few things to watch for in Belgian shepherd breeds:

  • Hip dysplasia. This condition happens when there is malformation present between the head of the femur bone (or your pup’s leg bone) and the hip. This mismatch can cause inflammation, pain, and loss of mobility. Your vet can help by recommending pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and lifestyle changes, helping your pet have a more comfortable experience.
  • Epilepsy. This condition can be influenced by genetics — and is known for random seizure activity caused by the brain. Your vet can help your pet by giving them medication to limit the frequency and doing other tests to determine any underlying cause (if any) of your pet’s seizures.
  • Osteochondrosis. This term is an ossification disorder that affect your dog’s growth plates . Depending on your dog’s situation, the vet can offer medication support and lifestyle changes to keep your dog comfortable through the growing process. They may also recommend surgery to remove any extra “floaty” pieces of bone.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy. This condition happens when the cells in your dog’s retina begin to deteriorate. This can cause blindness over time. However, your vet can offer supportive therapies (such as antioxidant and vitamin-based options) to possibly slow formation of secondary cataracts and boost your pet’s quality of life.

Cost of caring for Belgian tervuren dogs

While Belgian sheepdogs (like the Belgian tervuren) can be predisposed to health conditions, many are treatable — with treatment options ranging from $1,000-$10,000+. These dogs are fairly healthy, though, meaning that you might not pay much at all.

If you’re looking for a way to limit your financial liability for pet health problems in the future, we recommend looking at pet health insurance. This is a great strategy to reduce out-of-pocket costs — and pet parents may get extra benefits if they sign pets up young!

A pet savings account is also a great cost-cutting option, lowering your financial strain in the event of an unexpected medical problem. It’s more flexible and accessible to many compared to a health insurance plan, allowing you to contribute whenever and however you can.

History of the Belgian tervuren

These dogs got their start as Belgian herding dogs, working long hours on farms across Belgium and surrounding areas. The tervuren breed is thought by many to have solidified in the early 20th century, as breeder M.F. Corbeel continued his work between black dogs and fawn dogs.

Belgium benefitted from the Belgian tervuren breed, enabling farmers to boost their profits and protect their flocks. The tervuren also served as the perfect companion, offering kindness and loyalty behind their black mask and almond-shaped eyes.

The breed began to spread across Europe, and is now one of the most loved breeds across countries and continents — including North America, Asia, and others.

Belgian tervuren dog resting on grass

Caring for your Belgian tervuren

It can be overwhelming when you bring your furry friend home, especially if you have young children or other pets to consider! That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide — helping you to give your Belgian tervuren dog the best start possible .

To start, you’ll want to book your dog’s first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. You’ll want to puppy-proof your home as early on as possible, and prepare for teething.

Lastly, be sure to sign up for FidoAlert. The FidoAlert service provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared in case your furry friend takes off unexpectedly.

Here are some other basics specific to Belgian tervuren dogs:


The Belgian tervuran breed type is incredibly energetic. They come by it honestly, too; many believe that their high energy levels come from their past chasing sheep and cattle in the pastures.

With this in mind, owners should do their best to give these dogs plenty of time to run, play, and explore — together. While Belgian tervuren dogs are independent, they have a very intimate bond with their owners, which means that your furry friend will likely want some company as they explore. They’ll also need plenty of intelligence-oriented, physically demanding play to meet their needs and get them into a place of rest in the evenings. This means plenty of trips to the dog park, the green belt and any other run-friendly option you have.

Belgian tervuren dog on jumping obstacle in an agility course


Belgian tervurens have a thick and luxurious double coat, featuring a very dense undercoat that helps to regulate the pup’s temperature.

This coat is incredibly protective and self-manages a lot of the time. Pet parents of this breed type might find that they only need to bathe their dog once per month, keeping excessive oiliness and accumulated dirt at bay.

(Don’t forget their ears!) Ear cleaning doesn’t just keep your pet looking fresh. Rather, it helps them avoid waxy build up, temporary hearing loss and possible infection from bacteria found in dirt and debris.

Your tervuren will, however, appreciate weekly thorough brushings to keep their coat in check. This isn’t just to smooth your furry friend’s coat — in fact, it actually plays a pretty big role in managing the healthy distribution of hair oils down the fur shaft and appropriate shedding.

While it’s important year round, it’s especially important during shedding season. Brushing sessions during this time of year (which is usually occurring near the spring and fall seasons) might extend to 20 or 25 minutes. You might also choose to bump the cadence from once to twice per week.

Teeth brushing, like with other dogs, should happen daily or every other day. Nail trimming can occur as needed, which for many pets is about once per month.

Diet and nutrition

Many sources recommend feeding your Belgian tervuren about 2-3 cups of high-quality, dry dog food per day, with amounts fluctuating for young pups, elderly dogs, or breed members with health issues. This quantity may vary depending on the type of food that is used.

We always recommend working with a trusted vet to determine the exact quantity and type of food your dog needs to meet their specific physical requirements. If you’re wondering how much to feed your dog, they’re the best possible resource for you.

Your vet can also help you choose dog food that’s the best possible fit for your furry friend, no matter what your dog’s health or life stage.

Training your Belgian tervuren

Belgian tervuren dogs are incredibly intelligent, making the prime candidates for intermediate to advanced dog training. Whether you’re looking to teach your dog specialty tricks or if you just want to solidify core socialization skills for their future, your Belgian tervuren will be up to the task.

While high intelligence can be a great asset to your pup in training, it can also be a point of distraction. Highly intelligent dogs can get bored easily, which means owners might see greater progress with short, strategic, and rewarded training sessions.

Keeping sessions short might seem counterproductive at first, but it actually allows you to zero-in on specific training focuses in a more efficient way that keeps training a smooth and pleasant experience for everyone involved. You can also up the ante by giving your dog a special treat or toy after sessions, boosting their motivation and performance as you train.

Belgian tervuren dog training

Breeds similar to the Belgian tervuren

Not quite sure that a Belgian tervuren is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Groenendael. These special dogs are like the more friendly, social, and quieter neighbors of the Belgian tervuren breed. They are slightly larger and heavier, causing many pet owners to refer to them as “gentle giants.”
  • Belgian Malinois. The Belgian Malinois is also larger than the Belgia tervuren, and has special guarding skills. They are more wary of strangers than tervurens, making them excellent watchdogs for families of all sizes.
  • Brussels griffon. This dog isn’t the same size or weight as a Belgian tervuren — however, Brussels Griffon dogs have the same vivacious and sweet personality in a smaller package. They’re a great option for pet parents with limited space.

Frequently asked questions

Do Belgian tervuren like to cuddle?

Tervurens are incredibly sweet-natured and enjoy a good snuggle with their family. They’re very energetic as well — so don’t be surprised if your cuddle sesh turns into a good old-fashioned romp and play.

Are Belgian tervurens good family dogs?

Tervurens are very protective of their families, making them excellent family dogs — especially if they are socialized when they are young. They can warm up to strangers and new family members over time, so don’t be afraid of your tervuren turning frosty with any new additions.

Are Belgian tervurens the same as Belgian Malinois?

While both are considered to be Belgian sheepdogs, many experts believe that these two breeds have enough differentiating factors (such as size, color, and temperament) to be distinct breeds — and reference them as such.

Are Belgian tervuren dogs good for first-time owners?

We recommend tervurens for the right first-time owners. Since the dogs are extremely high-energy and intelligent, they can appear to be demanding — and do best with owners who are prepared to spend hours with them in enrichment activities.

Are Belgian tervurens aggressive?

Tervurens are not as aggressive compared to other subtypes of Belgian sheepdogs (unless you’re a stranger!) Socialization and training are key steps to helping your Belgian to adjust well to their living situation.