Belgian Tervuren Aliza Ibrahim
Introduction The Belgian Tervuren has a square shaped appearance to its body. When viewed from the side, the topline of its moderately pointed muzzle is parallel to the topline of its skull. The stop is moderate. The black lips are tight. The medium sized, almond-shaped eyes are dark brown. The erect ears are triangular in shape with their height equal to their width. The chest is deep reaching the elbows. The legs are straight, parallel and vertical to the ground. The topline is level, sloping slightly at the withers. Dewclaws are usually removed. The feet are catlike in shape. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The tail is strong at the base with the bone reaching to the hock. The double coat is weather resistant with long, abundant, close-fitting guard hairs. The overall length of the harsh coat is medium to long with the hair on the head, legs and outer surface of the ears being shorter. The undercoat is dense and the outer coat is straight with black tips. Males have a mane of hair around the neck that is not as prominent in females. There is longer hair fringing down the back and front legs with abundant hair on the tail. Coat colors include rich fawn to russet mahogany, or shades of gray with black tips. The chest, toes and chin may have some white. The coat usually darkens as the dog gets older.
Temperament The Belgian Tervuren is one of four Belgian sheepdogs. A very bright and obedient dog, it is determined and observant with strong protective and territorial instincts. Socialize well to prevent it from becoming shy or sensitive. Belgian Tervurens need an experienced master who is firm, but not heavy handed. If you are harsh or overbearing it will become uncooperative. Owners need to display a confident, natural authority over the dog. Consistent rules must be set and made clear. This breed is instinctively protective so it should be trained and socialized very well from an early age. Puppies should be socialized right from birth. Good for working and competition obedience, these dogs make excellent police and guard dogs. This type of work is currently their main occupation. They do however, make excellent pets if they have owners who can challenge their minds with an air of leadership. They are ever watchful, alert and loyal. The Belgian Tervuren is good with children if socialized well with them. This breed needs to be part of the family and not locked up in a kennel. They need leadership, daily exercise along with training and companionship, for without it they may become destructive and hard to handle. The Belgian Tervuren is high energy, with a high mental capacity, and is quick to comprehend. They need a job to do, especially if you are dealing with working lines. Take care when introducing this dog with small non-canine pets. They can be rather dominant toward other dogs and need an owner who can communicate to the dog that dominance is an unwanted behavior. Provided they are correctly socialized with cats and other pets, they should not present any problems. Belgian Tervurens may instinctively display herding behavior such as chasing and circling, moving effortlessly for hours and nipping at people's heels. They must be taught not to do this to people. 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. Talk to someone experienced with the breed before you buy your dog. These dogs are often impressive; don't base your purchase solely on achievement records and appearances. Only adopt this type of dog if you fully understand what it means to be alpha.
Males 24 - 26 inches (61 - 66 cm) Females 22 - 24 inches (56 - 61 cm)
Males 65 - 75 pounds (29 - 34 kg) Females 60 - 70 pounds (27 - 32 kg)
Health Problems This hardy, healthy breed has no major health concerns. Some minor concerns that have been seen are epilepsy, skin allergies, eye problems, excessive shyness, excessive aggressiveness and occasionally hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Do not overfeed this breed, for it has a tendency to become obese and lazy.
Living Conditions The Belgian Tervuren will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. This breed prefers cool climates, but adapts well to others. It can live outdoors but would much rather be with his people.
Exercise This is a working dog that is accustomed to an active outdoor life. As such it needs a lot of exercise, including a long daily walk. In addition, it will greatly benefit being off the leash as much as possible in a safe area.