- 1 Overview of the Belgian Tervuren
- 2 Belgian Tervuren Traits
- 3 Food and Health of the Belgian Tervuren
- 4 Training and Exercise
- 5 Health Concerns of the Belgian Tervuren
- 6 Grooming Insights for the Belgian Tervuren
Overview of the Belgian Tervuren
The sleek and nimble Belgian Tervuren, also commonly referred to as the Tervuren or Terv, is a medium-sized herding dog that is known for its intelligence, confidence, and affection for its human family. This diligent, jack-of-all-trades dog adores difficult work and tough play. The Tervurens take great pride in their ability to perform any chore, and their owners claim that a playful sense of humor is at work anytime their pet succeeds in outsmarting them.
The Tervuren has a straight and thick coat, a powerful yet beautiful build, a proudly lifted head, an attentive and intelligent disposition, and an intense work drive. Male Tervs, typically larger than females, tend to have more coat trimmings, such as the sporty ‘collarette’ around the neck. Their intellect and high activity level may challenge less imaginative dog owners who may not understand the breed’s desire to work. You shouldn’t think of the Belgian Tervuren as gloomy robots who do nothing but work, however.
In the late 1800s, four shepherd dog breeds originated in Belgium, including the Belgian Tervuren. The four breeds are Laekenois, Malinois, Tervuren, and Groenendael. The United Kennel Club recognizes all of these varieties as a single breed, whereas the American Kennel Club classifies all but the Laekenois as distinct breeds.
In September 1891, the Club du Chien de Berger Belge (Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was established to determine which of the numerous types of canines better represented the Belgian shepherd dogs. Breeders and enthusiasts met on the outskirts of Brussels in November of that year to evaluate shepherd dogs from the region. After a protracted discussion, Adolphe Reul, a professor of veterinary medicine, and a panel of judges agreed that the indigenous shepherd dogs of that province were square, standard-size dogs with dark brown eyes and well-set, triangular ears. Their only variation was their hair color, texture, and length. The outcomes of subsequent dog examinations in other Belgian provinces were comparable.
In 1892, Professor Reul established the first Belgian Shepherd dog standard, which distinguished between dogs with short coats, long coats, and rough coats. In 1901, though, the Belgian Shepherd dog, which includes all four types, was formally recognized as a breed. The Tervuren won the inaugural Belgian Shepherd dog show conducted in Cureghem, Belgium, in the same year. The proposal for breed classification by the Club du Chien de Berger Belge was declined by the Societe Royale Saint-Hubert.
Breeders chose to give each kind of Belgian Shepherd a distinct name. The Tervuren got their name from a hamlet in Belgium where M. F. Corbeel produced Tom and Poes, two fawn-colored dogs regarded as the origin of the Tervuren breed.
The Belgian Shepherds were commonly used as guard dogs and working dogs, serving as the country’s first police dogs. Before World War II, international competitions for police dogs were well-known throughout Europe, and Belgian dogs won several honors at these events.
When World War I broke out, the military utilized several Belgian Shepherd dogs in various capacities, including Red Cross dogs, messenger dogs, ambulance cart dogs, and heavy machine cart dogs. A few Tervurens were brought to the United States, but the breed never caught on there and was lost by the 1930s. Not until 1953 were further Tervurens imported for American breeding efforts. In 1959, the AKC recognized them as a unique breed from other Belgian Shepherd dogs, and in 1960, the American Belgian Tervuren Club was established.
The Belgian Tervuren’s elegance and working ability have made it a popular show dog as well as a skilled herder. It ranks 107th of the 155 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Belgian Tervuren Traits
The body of the Belgian Tervuren appears to be roughly square. The top of its moderately sharp muzzle is level with the top of its skull when seen from the side. Its eyes are a dark brown almond shape and its lips have a tight black appearance, giving it a charming and sharp look. The triangle ears stand up, with a height that’s the same as their width. The barrel-shaped chest goes all the way to the elbows. It has parallel, straight, and ground-hugging legs. A flat back tapers ever-so-slightly toward the withers. A dewclaw is an appendage that is typically amputated. The length of its boney tail extends up to its hock. Its double coat’s lengthy, closely fitting guard hairs protect it from adverse weather conditions.
This breed has a rough coat that is medium to long except for the hair on the legs, head, and outer part of the ears, which is shorter. The undercoat is thick, while the outside coat is straight and tipped in black. In contrast to female Tervs, males tend to sport a thicker, more noticeable mane of hair at the back of their necks. The tail is thickly haired with longer hairs running down the back and front legs. Rich fawn to russet mahogany, or various hues of grey with black paw tips, are some examples of coat colors. It’s common to see some white on the chest, toes, and chin. Often, a Tervuren’s coat will darken with age.
The Belgian Tervuren is attentive and watchful, making it the ideal watchdog. The Tervuren is a self-assured protector of its owner and property and never attacks without reason. It’s loving and kind with people it trusts, especially family members. This breed hates to be alone and loves to participate in family activities. It requires a lot of mental exercise in training and play, particularly through interactive toys and retrieval games where the dog is expected to actively participate.
The Tervuren temperament is influenced by various factors, including training, genetics, and socialization. Good-tempered puppies are curious and playful, wanting to explore and be carried around by humans. Choose a puppy from the middle of the pack, not one that is intimidating or intimidated by its littermates. Intense shyness can be a problem with this breed, so never adopt a shy puppy, even if it makes you feel protective.
As with all dogs, young Tervurens require early socialization and exposure to various people, odors, sights, and experiences. Socialization ensures that your pup develops into a well-rounded dog. Enrolling in canine kindergarten is a great place to begin. Regularly inviting people over, taking it to busy parks and stores that welcome dogs, and taking it on strolls to meet neighbors will help it develop social skills as well.
Food and Health of the Belgian Tervuren
The Belgian Tervuren requires a high-quality diet that is high in protein to meet its high energy requirements and muscle power. Dry kibble is an easy way to provide protein without the mess or hazards associated with raw food; about 2.5 cups of food every day should be plenty. It also ensures that your pet is fed a well-balanced diet, keeping it nourished and healthy. Mineral supplements and vitamins are added to the kibble during the heating process, and they’re frequently enhanced with probiotic substances to help with digestion.
The food you choose for your dog should be appropriate for its life stage. For instance, if it’s a puppy, it’ll require puppy food, and if it’s a senior, it’ll need food for older dogs. It’s critical to feed your puppy kibble that will regulate its bone growth rate. You can accomplish this by providing it with food intended for large breeds. This will decrease the risk of acquiring bone disorders as it ages, which is especially important when it comes to skeletal health concerns.
Training and Exercise
The Belgian Tervuren would love to work as a herder on a farm or ranch. But, if this isn’t possible, diverse and intensive exercise will suffice. This breed requires 60 to 90 minutes of activity every day. It is an excellent agility dog, jogging companion, and frisbee retriever. Always vary its activities because doing the same thing daily will make your Terv bored. On top of that, it also requires mental exercise; teaching or training is a terrific approach to this. These learning-focused activities will not only keep its brilliant mind stimulated, but will also enhance your bond with your pup.
Training and Socialization
The Belgian Tervuren doesn’t magically transform into a perfectly behaved dog. It takes time, effort, and the right training to turn it into the Terv many people know and love. That’s why it requires someone who recognizes how a dog’s mind works. The Terv is a defensive guard dog that needs to be socialized to avoid becoming overprotective. Exposing your canine to new individuals is critical so that it does not grow up believing that every newcomer is a danger.
Socialization entails exposing it to other pets and humans and introducing it to all of the day-to-day activities it will regularly encounter. You should gradually expose your Tervuren to loud sounds, such as strolling on the sidewalk or using the hairdryer. Besides, getting your dog used to its grooming routine will also help it gain confidence as it develops.
Crate training should begin as soon as you bring your Tervuren home, with a cage ready and waiting for it. This will provide it with a safe location to call its own, and you will be able to relax knowing that it will not wreck your furniture when you are away.
The Terv is unique because it can regulate its body temperature quite well. When it’s cold, this dog’s coat is thick, but when it’s warm, it sheds. Extreme weather, whether cold or hot, is generally no problem for this versatile breed as long as it has plenty of water and a place to rest. Keep an eye on your furry friend if they will be working long days in inclement weather.
Health Concerns of the Belgian Tervuren
As with all breeds, Belgian Tervurens are usually healthy yet are prone to some health problems. If you’re considering acquiring a Tervuren, it’s important to be aware of these conditions, even if not every dog will develop them. Obtain a puppy from a reputable breeder who can provide you with health certifications for the parents. A dog with a clean record shows that it has been checked for and found to be free of any serious diseases.
This is a disease in which the thighbones don’t fit securely into the hip joints. Hip dysplasia can cause no outward signs of discomfort in some dogs, while in others, the condition causes lameness and discomfort in one or both rear legs. Arthritis might occur as the dog ages. Hip dysplasia dogs should not be bred. When purchasing a puppy, seek documentation that the pet’s parents have been examined for hip dysplasia and are healthy. Hip dysplasia is hereditary but can also be induced by external factors, such as rapid growth due to a high-calorie diet or injuries experienced while falling or leaping on slippery ground.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
The Belgian Tervuren suffers from blindness due to a degenerative eye condition that reduces the number of photoreceptors in the retina. Good breeders have their dogs’ eyes checked once a year by a vet specializing in eye care, and they never breed any dogs that test positive for eye diseases.
This is a hereditary disorder that is frequent in giant breed dogs. Various stages of growth of the three bones that comprise a dog’s elbow are hypothesized to cause joint laxity. The problem may be surgically treated or your vet may prescribe pain medication.
The Belgian Tervuren is susceptible to epilepsy, which can cause moderate to severe fits. Epilepsy can be caused by genetics, metabolic problems, viral infections that affect tumors and the brain, poisoning, severe head trauma, or an unknown cause. Seizures might manifest as strange behavior, such as running hurriedly as if staggering, being chased, or hiding. Although seeing a dog having a seizure might be frightening, the long-term prognosis for idiopathic epilepsy in dogs is typically very good. With proper treatment, a dog with this condition can have a normal life expectancy. If your Belgian Tervuren starts having seizures, you should get him checked out by a vet as soon as possible.
Grooming Insights for the Belgian Tervuren
The Belgian Tervuren possesses a fluffy coat that requires more grooming than usual. You should brush it many times a week to maintain its healthy coat and keep matting at bay — especially with its thick neck mane, also known as a collarette.
The Belgian Tervuren will require a bath every eight to 12 weeks, and it is best to use a naturally concentrated shampoo that can penetrate its thick coat. If it has delicate skin, make sure to use dog grooming products made for sensitive skin. All other grooming procedures, like nail trimming, and ear and eye cleaning, are the same as for any other dog.