Other Names : Chien de Berger Belge, Belgian Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog
Country of Origin : Belgium
Dog Group : Working Dog
The Belgian Shepherd dog is the only breed in the world that comes in 4 varieties: the long-haired fawn, red or grey ‘Tervueren’, the long-haired black ‘Groenendael’, the short-coated red, fawn or grey ‘Malinois’ and the rarer rough-coated reddish fawn ‘Laekenois’. Originating from Belgium, they are named after the areas in Belgium from which they came: Tervuren, Groenendael, Malines and Laeken. Hard working sheepdogs from Belgium have been recognised since the Middle Ages. At this time the type varied greatly and breeding was based on working ability. As they were bred locally certain common characteristics began to appear. In the 1890’s a Professor of the Belgian School of Veterinary Sciences recorded standards for the various types of Belgian sheepdogs. It was noted that they were all similar in type with the main difference being the coat. The Professor then divided them into varieties and advised breeding them as separate breeds. Once there were as many as eight varieties; now there are only four. The Tervueren is closer to the Groenendael than the other two. It is believed that two ‘black-tipped fawn long-haired’ sheepdogs were crossed and one of the resulting litter was crossed to the foundation stock of the Groenendael. This litter became the precedent of the Tervueren. In the 1940’s the Tervueren nearly disappeared altogether, however in the 1950’s interest was rekindled in the breed.
The Tervueren is a medium sized, longhaired dog that appears square in its outline. Although they are often confused with the ‘long-haired German Shepherd Dog’ by the general public, they are squarer in profile; lighter in bone and more refined in head, with a light, brisk movement.
Feeding & Ownership
The adolescent Tervuerens are often found to be poor eaters so adequate diets should be fed. As adults there appears to be no real problems with eating.
As pets they are devoted companions and do not make ideal kennel dogs, as they become bored and destructive. The Tervueren is very affectionate and totally devoted to their families. Not a breed for those wanting ‘just a dog’. The Belgian wants to join in with everything including doing the washing up, digging the garden etc. They will protect their home and family but it is not advisable to encourage their guarding instincts when young, as they can get confused and start guarding you in inappropriate situations. Their natural guarding instincts will kick in, if and when necessary.
The Tervueren is a longhaired dog that needs a fair amount of grooming. They have a long, straight and profuse outercoat with an extremely dense undercoat. This undercoat is shed twice a year in the case of bitches and in males, generally once a year.