The beautiful Belgian Tervuren originated in the town of Tervuren, in Belgium, in the late 19th century. It traces its ancestry to certain Belgian Sheepdogs, which, unlike their litter mates, carried distinctive long coats of a blackened fawn color.
Like all herding dogs, the ancestors of the modern Tervuren were chosen for breeding more on the basis of intelligence, trainability, and temperament than for physical beauty or uniformity. As dog shows became popular, however, breeders began paying greater attention to uniformity of appearance and “type.” Type is that combination of characteristics which make a breed unique and distinctive from all other breeds. When the early breeders of Tervuren established type they produced an animal stamped with Its own special qualities of beauty and grace, while retaining its intelligence and aptitude for work.
The first impression of the Belgian Tervuren is that of a well-balanced, medium-size dog, elegant in appearance, standing squarely on all fours, with proud carriage of head and neck. He is strong, agile, well-muscled, alert and full of life. He gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The male should appear unquestionably masculine; the female should have a distinctly feminine look and be judged equally with the male. The Belgian Tervuren is a natural dog and there is no need for excessive posing in the show ring.
The Belgian Tervuren reflects the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. In addition to his inherent ability as a herding dog, he protects his master’s person and property without being overtly aggressive. He is watchful, attentive, and usually in motion when not under command.
The Belgian Tervuren is a herding dog and versatile worker. The highest value is to be placed on qualities that maintain these abilities, specifically, correct temperament, gait, bite and coat.
In temperament the Tervuren is highly individualistic. Some dogs are very lively, while others might best be described as mellow. In general, however, there are some characteristics which should be possessed by every dog. Most importantly the dog should be stable. Although the breed as a whole is a sensitive one, alert to changes in people and environment, no dog which is shy or fearful should be considered a typical specimen or used for breeding. Neither is an aggressive animal to be tolerated. Either extreme is untypical and undesirable. You should expect your Tervuren to be a companion which is highly intelligent, happy, and responsive to you and your family. You should expect devotion and watchfulness. Most Tervuren are suspicious of strangers until told by their owner to accept the strange person. For that reason, they are outstanding family guardians. Their intelligence, trainability, devotion, and responsiveness combine with their natural watchfulness to make them ideal companions.
In describing the physical structure of the animal, perhaps “moderate” is the best word. There should be no feature of the dog which is excessive. Ideal size, measured at the withers, is 25 inches for males and 23 inches for females.
Body rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay is ideal and preferred.
Learn more at the America Belgian Tervuren Club.