There are four closely related breeds of Belgian Shepherd collectively referred to as ‘Chien de Berger Belge’, namely: Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Groenendael, Belgian Malinois and the less popular Belgian Laekenois. Before 1891, they were classified as one breed.
The Tervuren, pronounced as (tərˈvjʊrən) and sometimes spelt ‘Tervueren’, was named after the city of Tervuren in Belgium, where it was developed.
All four breeds of the Belgian sheepdog excel at a variety of talents, such as but not limited to, 1. police work: bomb detection as well as narcotics, 2. protection or defence, and 3. search and rescue.
Also, they were used to herd animals, in cart pulling and as a guide for the blind people or as an assistant for the ‘less-abled people.
There is a long debate as to whether these breeds belong to a specific Belgian breed or they all are truly distinct and separate breeds. Usually, they are listed as different breeds.
In the USA, since 1960, the American Kennel Club recognizes it under the name Belgian Tervuren. Before that date, all recognized varieties of the Belgians were called Belgian Sheepdog.
However, even now, the AKC does not recognize the Laekenois as one of the four breeds. On the other hand, the United Kennel Club (UKC), which is also a US-based registry, does recognize all four varieties as one breed.
Traits and Behavior
The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd is energetic, lively and eager to work. Their appearance projects alertness and elegance. The breed is known for its loyalty and versatility. They are very observant with strong protective and territorial instincts.
It is shy around strangers. Some can be nervous, depending on breeding and early experiences, so care must be taken to adequately socialize Tervuren puppies to a wide variety of people and situations.
They tend to bond very strongly with one person and gets along well with children. Belgian Tervuren Shepherd can develop phobias of certain objects or locations as puppies but usually grow out of it by adulthood.
This is a very demanding dog. It needs an experienced owner for it can easily be difficult to control unless the owner knows how to handle him.
The way the owner handles the dog can produce wide differences in temperament and aggressiveness.
Tervurens that are not kept sufficiently busy can become hyperactive, annoying or destructive.
Pet Care and Diseases
The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd appears untroubled by some of the health issues that plague other pedigree breeds. However, some issues have been reported by some dog owners. These include:
- Skin allergies
- Eye problems
- Excessive shyness
- Excessive aggressiveness
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
These dogs are not the kind of breed that demands too much grooming or make-over.
Bathing, brushing, and trimming the fur on the feet with scissors to emphasize their tight, cat-footed shape is the extent of most exhibitors’ grooming routines.
Belgian Tervuren Shepherd requires brushing and combing twice weekly, more often when shedding.
This breed needs a sufficient amount of outdoor exercise every day, including a long jog or walk and active playtime in the yard. Also, they need mental stimulation every once in a while.
Note: Do not overfeed this breed, for it tends to become obese and lazy.
The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd, like all four of the Belgian Shepherds, is a medium-sized, square-proportioned dog in the Herding dog group.
The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd has a shoulder height of 58-64 cm (23-25 in) and weighs 18-34 kg (40-75 lbs). Bitches are finer and smaller compared to the males.
It has a flat skull, almond-shaped eyes, a moderate stop (the point at which the muzzle meets the forehead) and triangular, erect ears.
These dogs have a flat back, curved tail, and straight legs that are parallel and vertical to the ground, attached to the small, round ‘cat feet’.
They have a long, thick double coat, that is weather resistant with long, abundant, close-fitting guard hairs. The coat comes in different colors such as rich fawn to russet mahogany, or shades of gray with black tips.
The coat usually darkens as the dog gets older.
The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd has a long life span of 11-13 years. A litter may consist of 6-10 puppies. Chien de Berger Belge and Belgian Tervueren are its few other names.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to Belgian Tervuren Shepherd. Click this link: http://www.abtc.org/