Belgian tervueren, like hardly any other dog, is clever and willing to acquire new skills – but at the same time, over-sensitive. Tervueren at the hand of an experienced owner will be a pearl in the crown.
Belgian Shepherd tervueren is a very demanding dog with a complex character. He has a great temperament, is extremely lively, energetic, full of enthusiasm for work. He is strongly attached to the owner, who he would not be willing to step on. It should not be isolated from household members or left without proper training, because it may become too nervous and tend to dominate.
The Belgian is friendly towards children from his own family, but due to his mobility should not be left together without control. In the game, he can, for example, pinch-running kids (this is typical of drovers) and frighten them. The education of this dog can only be done by an adult, so it should never be bought as a mascot for a child.
His relations with domestic pets are correct, but alien males with strong characters are unlikely to accept. The Belgian Shepherd has a well-developed territorial instinct, is alert, perceptive and distrustful of strangers, which is why it will alert the owner when something suspicious happens – it can be quite noisy. It should also be emphasized that a properly raised dog is friendly to guests.
Tervueren is characterized by demonstrative expression of emotions and an immediate change in response – in a split second, he can control himself and equally quickly go into a state of high arousal. This is a useful feature in sport, but it can be problematic on a daily basis, especially for less experienced owners. Belgian dog is active, agile and physically fit, so it is not enough for him short walks on a leash. I need a lot of movement combined with mental effort.
Belgian Shepherds were bred to help with grazing sheep. This work required them a lot of independence and at the same time immediate response to every order of the shepherd. Their task was to ensure that the animals were in a specific place and that they did not enter the arable field. The dog circled the herd, not running through its center.
He had to be strong (running around the sheep, traveled a lot of kilometers a day, even if the herd did not move very much forward) and arouse respect among animals – but he was not allowed to bite or injure them, he could only grab them with his teeth by the hind legs. At the end of the day, he herded the sheep to the farm. Sometimes he had to chase them away, for example to a market or a distant pasture. Belgian Shepherds were also great at guarding the bypass.
Currently, Belgian tervuren are mainly companion dogs. Sometimes they work in the police, customs and rescue services. They are suitable for comprehensive training, from obedience to tracking and defense training (in the case of the latter, however, much better results are achieved with short-haired Malinois). They can participate in herding competitions. They are masters of dog sports – agility, obedience, frisbee, flyball. They can handle canicross, dog trekking and bikejoring.
Belgian tervuren. Training and education
Belgian Shepherd tervueren is very knowledgeable, learns quickly and willingly. He commands with great enthusiasm, he even tries to guess the intentions of man. Outstanding intelligence can, however, cause a lot of trouble for inexperienced owners, because it makes tervueren a very demanding dog in both training and education. As well as good things, he also learns incorrect behavior, which is then very difficult to correct.
In addition, the great sensitivity of shepherds makes it difficult to correct mistakes – a badly treated dog can quickly lose confidence in the guide. Belgian hates coercion and quickly gets bored, so lessons should not belong, and one exercise can be repeated no more than three or four times.
In the initial period, Belgian Shepherd puppies mature physically and mentally much faster than other breeds, which is why they require proper socialization already at the breeders.
Representatives of this breed are distrustful by nature, so from an early age, they should have as many contacts with people, other dogs and unusual situations as possible. The more stimulus we provide to a small sheepdog, the fewer problems an adult dog will cause us.
Who is this race for?
Belgian Shepherd tervueren is not suitable for everyone. It needs an experienced, active and consistent owner. It is also advisable to keep in touch with the breeder and follow his instructions.
Belgian tervuren. Advantages and disadvantages
- quite noisy
- very demanding in terms of training and education
- gets bored quickly
- can be hyperactive
- runaway can destroy things
- extremely attached to the owner and sensitive to his moods
- very intelligent, eager and quick to learn
- excellent athlete
- good watchman
- tolerates other animals
- active and busy
- easy to care for
Belgian tervuren. Health
Tervuereny are resistant and long-lived dogs. Although they usually rarely get sick, there are several ailments typical of this breed. The most serious of them is epilepsy, so when planning a litter or buying a puppy, the frequency of carriers of this disease among the ancestors of the animal should be taken into account.
A much smaller problem is dysplasia of the hip and elbow joints, which usually does not give any symptoms in this breed (in Poland there is no obligation to scan dogs in order to obtain breeding rights, however, most owners and breeders perform this test on their pets).
Occasionally osteochondrosis (OCD) and aseptic femoral head necrosis may occur in growing puppies. Heart defects and eye diseases (cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy) are very rare.
Some individuals are prone to food allergies and tartar build-up – they can be cleaned with toothpaste and a brush, or given special teethers. Most Belgian Shepherds are hypersensitive to anesthesia. Tervuerens tolerate all weather conditions well – they are not disturbed by either high or low temperatures.
Belgian Shepherds are mobile and have a good metabolism. The best for them is high-energy, well-balanced feed of a reputable company intended for medium breeds.
If we want to feed a pet with our own prepared food, we must supplement it with calcium and vitamin preparations. Dogs that train intensively can be given joint protection agents (with glucosamine and chondroitin).
We give growing puppies all preparations only under veterinary supervision. During molting periods, it is worth enriching meals by adding specifics that support fur development – containing unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and 6), biotin and zinc.
The intensity and frequency of molting this breed of dog depend on gender – males only lose their undercoat, usually once a year, bitches change their entire coat twice a year. The coat falls out abundantly, but it is quite soft, which is why it does not stick to the ground and is easy to clean. You should often comb your pet to remove dead hair faster.
Outside the molting period, we comb the Belgian tervuren once a few days with a rare metal comb – preferably with rotating teeth. For places with shorter fur, you can use a regular metal brush. Let’s not forget about cutting the claws if the dog does not rub them by itself, and checking the ears. We bathe the four-legged dog in a suitable shampoo for long-haired dogs.
Tervueren does not require complicated preparation for the exhibition. All you need is a bath, if required (no later than one week before the show), and combing the coat. If the dog has too skimpy coat due to molting, you can use foam to increase its volume.
We put the Belgian Shepherd Dog on a ring or chain and on a thin leash. It should not be placed on the ring in a special way (like a German Shepherd), because it is judged in a natural, expressive attitude. The dog’s body must be taut, ears set, and eyes full of expression. It is difficult to get this effect on demand, which is why most Belgians are issued by handlers, not by owners. Thanks to this, when looking for a guardian among the people standing around the ring, they present themselves in the right way.
We take the puppy for walks in braces or a well-fitting collar. Adult dogs have a neck circumference larger than the head circumference, so it’s better for them to wear braces – they can easily free themselves from a regular collar, e.g. when they get scared.
Belgians love fetching and dragging – the best will be toys made of cast rubber, balls and cotton cords. Bored Belgian tervuren can provide themselves with entertainment, so in the absence of household members can be left in a properly prepared cage. It will also be useful to calm the dog after work and teach him how to rest.
Belgian tervuren. History
The ancestors of all varieties of Belgian Shepherds are probably shepherd dogs appearing in Central Europe as early as the Bronze Age. There is also a theory that this breed was created thanks to a cross between a local mastiff and a Scottish deerhound greyhound, who were brought to the territory of present-day Belgium by Flemish monks. Dogs in the type of Belgian Shepherds appear in the figures depicting the court of the Habsburgs and the Dukes of Burgundy.
The oldest mentions of quadrupeds similar to today’s Belgians can be found in the manuscript from 1356. It mentions the prohibition of ordinary dogs by large citizens – such a privilege was only for hunters.
At the end of the 16th century, an order was issued in Antwerp ordering hyclom to kill wandering dogs. The exceptions were hunting and herding dogs, small decorative dogs and farm dogs called rekel (mischief, rascal), which are probably the direct ancestors of the Belgians.
In 1840, probably the world’s first dog exhibition took place in the Belgian city of Tervueren. Belgian, German and French Shepherds were presented in one class as continental shepherd dogs – the winner was the short-haired malinois. At that time, the Belgians were of a poorly balanced type and were held mainly by peasants and shepherds, for whom the predisposition of dogs to work mattered more than appearance.
The contemporary appearance of the Belgian Shepherd owes prof. Adolf Reul from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Cureghem and his colleagues – L. Huyghebaert and L. Van der Snickt, who jointly began to seek breeders’ interest in the native breed.
The beginnings of planned breeding can be talked about only after 1891, when the Belgian Shepherd Club was founded. In the same year an exhibition of shepherd dogs was organized in Cureghem, attended by 117 quadrupeds representing various types. The first model proposal was made in 1892 and assumed the existence of three varieties – long-haired fawn and black, short-haired fawn and rough-haired fawn. Detailed appearance guidelines have also been developed.
In 1900, the Royal Society of St. Hubert (Belgian Kennel Club) said two varieties of Belgian Shepherds – Groenendael and malinois (mechelaar). In 1914, five color variants were distinguished – in addition to the four currently known, there was also the black short-haired variety. It wasn’t until 1963 that four remained – groenendael (long-haired black), tervueren (long-haired fawn), malinois (short-haired fawn) and lakenois (rough-haired fawn).
The history of tervueren began in a small picturesque town of the same name. The local brewer F. Corbeel was the owner of two fawn shepherds with a black coat – Tom’s dog and Poes bitch. In 1895, Miss de Tervueren was born from this pair, which fell into the hands of a man named Danhieux, considered the creator of this variety. In 1897, from the relationship of this bitch with the famous black Duc de Groenedael, the male Milsart (Milsor) de Tervueren was born – the progenitor of the long-haired fawn of the Belgian Shepherd.
In 1899, the Belgian Shepherd Club (Club du Chien de Berger Belge) decided that the only recognized color for long-haired sheepdogs would be black. This met with opposition from lovers of the fawn variety and resulted in the establishment in 1900 of the competitive organization Berger Belge Club. Although the Belgian cynological association did not recognize her, this did not prevent tervueren breeders from continuing to work and gain new followers.
Due to the long-term mating of dogs with the sole purpose of obtaining a specific coat color, the tervueren began to slowly lose its typical characteristics. Saving the variety from degradation, it was decided to introduce an admixture of blood of groenendaels. (Tervuerena are always born in litters of the black variety – however, they usually grow into dogs with a weaker mask).
The First World War wreaked havoc on the breeding (only about 20 representatives of this variety survived), which is why the Royal Society of Saint. Hubert allowed the rebuilding of the population to crossbreed with short-haired malinois.
Belgian Shepherd Tervueren – Group I FCI, Section 1, Model No. 15
- Country of origin: Belgium
- Size: ideal height at the withers of dogs 62 cm, bitches 58 cm (tolerance 4 cm up and 2 cm down)
- Coat: short hair on the head, outside of the ears and on the lower parts of the limbs; on the back of the forearm, the longer hair forms tassels, on the rest of the body, the hair is long and smooth, longer on the neck and forechest, where it forms a ruff and a jabot, on the thighs there are abundant portholes, on the tail long hair forms a putty
- Ointment: intensely fawn with a black coating (preferred) or gray with black coating; black mask required for upper and lower lips, eyelids and ears, white markings on forechest and fingers allowed
- Maturity: 3-4 years
- Lifespan: 13-15 years
- Weather resistance: resistant
The breed group known under the common name “Belgian Shepherd” is found in several varieties: malinois, tervueren, Laekenois and groendael. They are always dogs slightly above average size, extremely intelligent, with a well-developed sense of observation. But you also have to remember that they are very sensitive, sometimes slightly nervous.