Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)

History

The Tervuren is one of four Belgian sheep dogs developed from a single breed in the late 19th century. It was classed as a separate breed in 1891. The breed almost died out after the Second World War, but a concentrated breeding effort brought them back from the brink. Of the four breeds called 'Belgian sheepdog' this is the one still used most as a sheep dog.

Behaviour

The Tervuren is alert, intelligent, watchful and active, with an independent streak. These traits make it ideal as a herd dog. They form close bonds with their owners and thrive outdoors working in the field. As a working breed they need constant mental and physical stimulation and are often used as Search and Rescue dogs, in agility competitions, tracking and as farm dogs.

They are very loyal and can be protective of their owners and home. They get on well with children and make good guardians, but are wary of strangers and new dogs. Early socialisation will help with this. Like most herding breeds, they might try and herd small children. Tervurens are perceptive of their surroundings and notice small changes around them. They will pick up on moods and anything out of the ordinary, making them good watch dogs. They forget their size and will happily climb on to you lap for a cuddle. Even though they are classed as working dogs, they do need human company and might have problems if left alone for too long.

Tervurens need plenty of daily exercise in the form of running and playing. They make great running/jogging partners and also like a game of frisbee/fetch. Their brains work overtime and need to be tired out, so hide and seek/Flyball type games work well for them. Many owners take part in agility trials with them as they enjoy the physical act of running and jumping and seem to do well in these types of competition. A bored Tervuren will dig holes in your garden and eat your sofa. Not recommended for a first time dog owner, unless you have time that the breed needs.

The breed has a thick double coat that requires regular brushing, but suffers little in the way of health concerns.

Temperament

Belgian Tervurens are playful, but are defined by their protective instincts. Originally bred to herd and protect sheep they have since become more popular as household pets and police dogs. They will act protectively of family and home with an independent attitude. This makes them perfect guard dogs although they will in intolerant of strangers.

Unsuitable to be kept with cats these dogs may also show aggression to other dogs. They will need lots of mental stimulation and exercise.

Health Problems

Tervurens are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of retinal tissue that can lead to blindness), bloat, and in some rare cases seizures.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 12 - 14 years
  • Weight: 59 - 75 lb
  • Height: 22 - 26''
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Long - Double
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Herding
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

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