The existence of the Belgian Sheepdog can be traced back to Belgium in the 1800s where they were used for centuries to herd sheep and even guard property. Named after a farming village, Belgian Tervurens (pronounced "ter-VYOO-run") are one of the four varieties of the Belgian Sheepdog and were originally bred, especially by dog fanciers, as an offshoot of the other types. To further develop the breed, the Groenendael and Malinois varieties were incorporated, giving the Tervuren their long, fawn-colored coat. During the 19th century, Professor Adolphe Reul of the Belgian School of Veterinary Medicine categorized the shepherd dogs of Belgium into eight groups, which were further condensed to the four varieties we see today that include the Groenendael (longhaired, black), Laekenois (wirehaired), Malinois (shorthaired), and Tervuren (longhaired, "blackened" fawn or mahogany). In Belgium, they are considered varieties of the same breed since all four would appear in one litter. Unlike the other varieties of the Belgian Sheepdog, the Tervuren is seen more in herding than they are as guardians or house pets.
Elegant and well-built, this Belgian Sheepdog variety expresses characteristics from both the Groenendael and Malinois. Tervurens are well-balanced, medium-sized, and stand proudly with their head held high. The coat of the breed has a long, close-fitting, straight topcoat and a dense undercoat that comes in various shades of fawn to mahogany with black overlay. Similar to the other varieties, males are characteristically more masculine than the females, and the males have a more distinct "collarette" around the neck. Belgian Tervurens have dark brown, slightly almond-shaped eyes and stiff, triangular-shaped ears that stand straight up. The muzzle of the breed is moderately pointed with a black nose and they have a strong sturdy tail that hangs low at rest.
The Belgian Tervuren is athletic, agile, and remains protective of themselves and their families. Considered to be fairly aloof towards strangers, these dogs can be friendly towards accepted individuals and tend to bond strongly with a few people that are close to them. While owning a Tervuren, you will find out that they will follow their human from room to room, always keeping track of what everyone is doing. Although highly intelligent, they can be stubborn and tend to have a mind of their own. All of the Belgian Sheepdog varieties require a lot of socialization and dedication from a firm owner to prevent the independence and protective nature of the breed from leading into behavioral problems as an adult. Proper obedience training is needed to curb the nipping and biting that Tervurens tend to do because of their natural instinct to herd. They are known to get along better with older, well-mannered children due to their size, strength, and intolerance of rough play by small toddlers and tend to do well with cats if they have been raised together. These herding dogs can even have the desire to herd your children! Their attentive and high energy traits make them a decent watchdog that prefers constant motion by having a regular job to do around the property or hours of playtime with the kids. Loving and loyal, the Tervuren can make an excellent companion that is best suited for families living on farms or in rural areas.