Belgian Tervuren (Terv): Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Belgian Tervuren in field of heather grass

AvanHeertum / Getty Images  

The Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent, medium-size herding dog breed native to Belgium that has a medium-length coat, an intelligent expression, and upright triangular ears. Also referred to as the Terv, this breed is known for its love of hard work. It needs daily mental and physical challenges to keep it happy and healthy. Yet it’s also a friendly companion that typically bonds closely with its family.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Herding

HEIGHT: 22 to 24 inches (female), 24 to 26 inches (male)

WEIGHT: 45 to 60 pounds (female), 55 to 75 pounds (male)

COAT: Medium-length double coat

COAT COLOR: Fawn and black, mahogany and black

LIFE SPAN: 12 to 14 years

TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, energetic, alert


ORIGIN: Belgium

Characteristics of the Belgian Tervuren

The personality of a Belgian Tervuren revolves around its high intelligence and energy. This dog loves to learn new things and face challenges. Moreover, it has a moderately affectionate and friendly temperament overall.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervurens stem from four Belgian herding dogs—the others are the Groenendael, Malinois, and Laekenois—that were once categorized as the same breed. To originate the Terv at the turn of the 20th century, a breeder named M.F. Corbeel crossed long-hair fawn Belgian shepherds, which then had black and other fawn dogs added to their mix. 

Farmers used these dogs both for herding and guarding property. They appreciated them not only for their strength and stamina but also their intelligence and ability to assist in a variety of tasks. 

After many of their farm jobs became mechanized, Tervs found other work in law enforcement, in search and rescue, and as service dogs. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1959.

Belgian Tervuren Care

Expect to dedicate a lot of time to a Belgian Tervuren. It’s ideal that these dogs have an active owner who can provide extensive mental and physical challenges, along with consistent training and socialization. Fortunately, the breed’s grooming needs are fairly straightforward. 


These dogs were bred to be always on the move. And they prefer to exercise with their owners rather than be left to their own devices. Provide them with at least one to two hours of exercise per day in the form of brisk walks, running, hiking, fetch, and other active games. Puzzle toys also can help to challenge them mentally. In addition, dog sports, such as herding and agility, are a great way to provide both mental stimulation and physical activity. 


The Terv has a moderately shedding thick double coat. Plan to brush at least one to two times per week to remove loose fur, dirt, and tangles. And expect periods of higher shedding typically in the spring and fall as the weather changes, which will require more frequent brushing to keep up with all the loose fur. 

Plan on a bath every month or two, depending on how dirty your dog gets. Check its ears weekly for dirt, debris, and any signs of irritation or infection. Also, check its nails roughly every month to see whether they need a trim. And aim to brush its teeth daily.


Consistent training and socialization are a must for a well-behaved Belgian Tervuren. Start as young as possible by enrolling your dog in a puppy obedience class and exposing it in a positive manner to different people, other dogs, and various situations to build its comfort and confidence. Tervs aren't always dog-friendly, but having positive experiences with other dogs from a young age can help.

Tervs generally respond very well to positive training methods. Making training like a game to challenge them mentally will help to keep their focus. And always be consistent in your commands. These dogs can be headstrong at times and will take advantage of opportunities if you’re lax on their obedience skills.

Belgian Tervuren puppy with toys in front of white background.
 AvanHeertum / Getty Images
Tervuren dog sitting outside next to fence.
Eric Metz / Getty Images
Belgian Tervuren standing near agility equipment.
Eric Metz / Getty Images

Common Health Problems

Belgian Tervurens are generally healthy dogs, but there are some hereditary health issues to be on the lookout for, including:

Diet and Nutrition

Always have fresh water available for your dog. And provide a high-quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet. Most owners feed two measured meals per day. Discuss the type of diet and amount with your vet, as this can vary depending on age, size, activity level, and other factors. These dogs aren’t prone to becoming overweight thanks to their high energy level, but it’s still important to watch treat and other extra food intake. 

Where to Adopt or Buy a Belgian Tervuren

While it’s not common to find this breed in animal shelters, it’s still worth checking your local shelters for a dog in need of a home. Likewise, see whether there are any breed-specific rescue groups in your area. If you’re looking for a reputable breeder puppy, expect to pay around $2,000, though this can vary widely depending on bloodline and other factors.

For further information to help you find a Belgian Tervuren, check out:

Belgian Tervuren Overview

  • Incredibly smart

  • Often bonds closely with family

  • Easy to train

  • Needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation

  • Can be headstrong

  • Herding instinct can result in unwanted chasing of moving objects

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before deciding on a Belgian Tervuren, do ample research to make sure the dog will fit into your lifestyle. Talk with veterinarians, breed owners, rescue groups, and reputable breeds. Try to visit with some Tervs in person, as well.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Belgian Tervurens good family dogs?

    With proper training and socialization, Belgian Tervurens can be good around older children. However, their herding instinct might cause them to nip at people's heels, especially those of young and rambunctious kids.

  • Are Belgian Tervurens aggressive?

    Belgian Tervurens are typically not an aggressive dog breed. However, they can be protective of their family if they sense a threat, which makes adequate training and socialization key.

  • Are Belgian Tervurens good apartment dogs?

    Most Belgian Tervurens are not ideal for apartments due to their high energy. They need space to run, play, and exhaust themselves mentally. Some are prone to excessive barking if their exercise and mental stimulation needs aren't met.

Article Sources
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  1. Belgian Tervuren. American Kennel Club.

  2. Belgian Tervuren Puppies For Sale. American Kennel Club.