32 Questions To Consider Before Getting A Belgian Tervuren
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on September 25, 2021
Do you want a healthy German Shepherd that lives two times longer than normal? Get a Belgian Tervuren! These Belgian shepherd dogs are a close cousin to German Shepherd dogs (GDS), but are 10x healthier and live almost twice as long.
They do have a slightly different coat but that’s also an improvement in many ways thanks to their gorgeous lion-like mane. Last but not least, they also have milder personalities on average which makes them near-perfect family dogs too. But, is the Belgian Tervuren the right dog for you? Here are the 32 questions to consider before getting a Belgian Tervuren.
1. Do Belgian Tervuren make good pets?
Very much so - Belgian Tervurens are a fantastic family pet breed thanks to their gentle personality, agreeable nature, and high intelligence.
2. Are Belgian Tervuren smart?
Like all shepherd breeds, Belgian Tervurens are exceptionally smart. This is a breed that loves learning new things, be it tricks or work tasks. Not only that but this dog outright needs mental stimulation in the form of games and puzzles otherwise it can get bored or anxious and depressed.
3. Is he Belgian Tervuren a friendly and social dog?
This Belgian shepherd loves being around people and isn’t a fan of isolation. When properly socialized, this breed will also love interacting with guests and strangers too.
4. Are Belgian Tervurens good with cats?
As a herding breed, the Tervuren can live with cats as long as the dog has been raised with them (or with other felines). Alternatively, expert obedience training and good socialization can also work. Either way, this is still a dog so supervision is recommended, especially in the beginning.
The behavior of the cat is also important – the feline needs to learn/be taught not to run from the dog as that triggers its chasing and herding instinct even though Tervurens don’t have much of a prey drive. But, if/once the feline feels secure with the dog, everything should be fine.
5. Are Belgian Tervurens good with other dogs?
Tervurens get along well with other dogs, especially if they’ve been brought up together. If not, good socialization will be the deciding factor of how well the two canines get along. But, overall, Tervurens don’t have the instinct to dominate over or be aggressive toward other dogs.
6. Is the Belgian Tervuren a good dog for a family with children?
Yes, the mild temperament and family loyalty of the Tervuren makes it a very kid-friendly breed. That is, as long as the dog has been properly raised and trained, but that’s always the case. The only thing to note is that this is a large breed so supervision is needed to avoid unfortunate accidents with babies such as knocks and falls.
7. Is the Belgian Tervuren easy to train?
The high intelligence, low stubbornness, and eagerness to please make these dogs very easy to train. As long as you know what you’re doing, you should have no trouble with this breed, even if you’re a first-time dog owner.
8. Can a Belgian Tervuren be left home alone?
Unfortunately, the social nature of these dogs means that they are very prone to separation anxiety. This is typical for most highly intelligent and social breeds. It means that the dog will need to have company throughout the day and isn’t suitable for people who work away from home. If this is your situation you should consider any of the following:
- Find a way to work from home
- Arrange for another family member to be home when you’re out
- Hire a dog walker or a dog sitter
- Arrange playdates with another dog owner
- Get your Tervuren plenty of interactive toys and offer lots of exercise when you’re not at work
- Get a second dog to keep your Tervuren company
If none of those is an option, you may want to consider a different breed.
9. How much exercise does the Belgian Tervuren need?
This breed needs at least 2 hours of vigorous outdoor exercise. Ideally, they should be spread out between three separate outings. Some yard time is also great if possible, otherwise, you should account for some indoor playtime as well.
10. Do you need a yard for a Belgian Tervuren?
A decent fenced yard is great for these dogs as it allows them to further address their exercise needs. It’s not strictly “a must” if you offer plenty of outdoor exercise a day and some indoor playtime. However, it’s strongly recommended to have a yard if you are getting a Tervuren.
11. Can you have a Belgian Tervuren in an apartment?
You can but you probably shouldn’t. For one, you’ll need to spend even more time on walks in the dog park. Additionally, the apartment will need to be big and spacious to give the dog plenty of room to run and jump around freely.
12. Are Belgian Tervurens hyperactive?
Tervurens are relatively calm, especially compared to other similar shepherd breeds like the Belgian Malinois or the German Shepherd. Still, they are a large and physical breed so they do need to get at least several hours of active playtime and exercise a day. After that – they are perfectly calm and cuddly.
13. Are Belgian Tervurens used as police or military dogs?
Tervurens rarely find their way to police or military academies because they are too gentle, social, and mild-mannered for that. Their German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois cousins are the preferred breeds for these professions because they are more active and potentially assertive/aggressive (with the right training).
14. How big are Belgian Tervurens?
Tervurens are about the same size as German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois although they are a bit more lightweight than their German cousins. An adult male Tervuren will get up to 24 to 26 inches a the shoulder (61 to 66 cm) while females are around 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm).
As for weight, males typically stay between 55 to 75 pounds (25 to 34 kg) and females – 45 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kg). For comparison's sake, German Shepherds weigh up to 90 pounds (41 kg) even though they are the same height.
15. How long do Belgian Tervurens live?
This is one of the best qualities of the Tervuren. These dogs are so healthy that their average lifespan is 12 to 14 years. This is almost twice higher than the average lifespan of 7 to 10 years of the otherwise similar German Shepherd.
16. Are Belgian Tervurens healthy?
Very much so. You can literally view this breed as a “health German Shepherd”. Almost all of the nasty genetic conditions that plague the GSD are absent in this breed as it hasn’t been overbred and inbred in the last several decades. So, especially if you get a puppy with a health certificate from a reputable breeder, you can be almost certain that it will have a long and healthy life.
Still, these dogs are obviously not immortal and they do have some health risks. Those are very similar to the mild risks of other healthy breeds, however. So, just watch out for the basics such as:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Sensitivity to anesthesia
- Ear infections
17. What is the coat of the Belgian Tervuren?
Tervurens have a very long and fluffy coat with a thick layer of undercoat to keep them warm in the winter. Their coats are notably longer than that of the standard German Shepherd and the Tervuren also has a gorgeous lion-like mane around the neck.
18. Do Belgian Tervurens shed?
They do – profusely. Just like GSD are known as “German Shedders” the Tervuren also shed a lot, especially during their spring and fall “blow out”. And, because their hair is even longer, the shedding looks even more impressive. For many people, that’s a deal-breaker and that’s quite understandable.
19. How often should I brush my Belgian Tervuren?
At least 2-3 thorough brushings a week are a must to limit the shedding of this breed. During the spring and fall blow out seasons, you may want to brush your dog every day.
20. Do you need a professional groomer for a Belgian Tervuren?
If you have a good groomer near you, it’s strongly advised to get your Tervuren for a few visits there every year. Especially in the spring and autumn, a good groomer can help you tremendously. However, it’s good to get your dog used to the groomer early on.
21. Are Belgian Tervurens hypoallergenic?
Definitely not. No breed is fully hypoallergenic as they all shed at least a little dandruff but the Tervuren is as far away from hypoallergenic as a dog can be.
22. Can Belgian Tervurens tolerate heat?
Because of their long and fluffy coats, this Northern European doesn’t tolerate heat too well. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have such a pet in warmer climates but you will have to be careful – also turn the AC in the car, prioritize mornings and evenings for walks, keep the dog hydrated, and so on.
23. Should you shave your Belgian Tervuren?
Shaving is not recommended as these dogs rely on their undercoat for thermal isolation. Trimming of the long upper layer of the coat is ok, however.
24. What colors can a Belgian Tervuren be?
The standard colors of this breed include tan, rich red, silvery grey, and black. Black is always present while the other colors can vary. The head is always darker than the rest of the body which isn’t always the case with the GSD.
25. Do Belgian Tervuren bark?
Every dog can have a tendency to bark but Tervurens are not particularly active barkers. They may howl from time to time but not nearly as much as Huskies. If the dog is socialized properly, both barking and howling at random people and noises should be kept to a minimum. From there, good obedience training should be enough to guarantee that your dog listens to you and stops barking when you tell it to.
26. Are Belgian Tervuren good guard dogs?
Not really, at least not as good as GSD, Malinois, or actual guard dogs like the Rottweiler and the Doberman. Tervurens are just too social and mild-mannered to be effective guard dogs. Instead, they are just great family pets.
27. How much does a Belgian Tervuren cost?
The price of a Tervuren puppy can range between $1,200 and $3,000 with an average of $2,000. This can feel steep but the health and longevity of this breed are typically worth it.
28. Why is the Belgian Tervuren not more popular?
German Shepherds certainly stole the spotlight from other Central European shepherd breeds in the 20th century. To this day, many people can look at a Tervuren or a Malinois and think it’s just a “strange German Shepherd”. Additionally, Tervurens nearly got instinct during WWII (ironically with the help of German Shepherds In the army) and Tervuren breeders needed a few decades to get the breed‘s numbers back up.
29. Where can you find Belgian Tervurens?
While rare, there should be enough Tervuren breeders in most European countries and the US. Finding these dogs in shelters can still be difficult, however. If you can’t find a reputable breeder nearby you may need to travel a bit or ask for a puppy to be brought to you. Whatever you do, however, avoid puppy mills and pet stores as dogs there are rarely brought up healthy and well-adjusted.
30. Is Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Shepherd the same breed?
The Tervuren is a type of Belgian Shepherd – one of four types, to be exact. Before the 20th century, all four Belgian shepherds were viewed as the same breed but they eventually got distinct enough to now be called by their separate names – Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Laekenois, and Belgian Groenendael.
Of those four, the Laekenois is distinctly different nowadays, the Malinois has a noticeably shorter coat than the Tervuren and the Groenendael, while the latter two are still quite similar and often viewed as the same sub-breed.
31. Belgian Tervuren vs Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois are famous as the new police dogs, taking the place of the popular GSD as the latter is falling out of favor due to health concerns. The Malinois shared much of the temperament of the GSD – active, assertive, and always ready to jump into the action.
This is a big difference between the Malinois and the Tervuren as the latter is much more mild-mannered. The other major difference is the coats – Malinois dogs have short and much more manageable coats.
32. Belgian Tervuren vs German Shepherd
The big difference here is that Tervurens are much healthier than the GSD. Their expected lifespan is 5 years longer and they will have much fewer health complications along the way. They also have a much more mild and family-friendly temperament than the GSD.
Tervurens shed about the same as the GSD but they have longer coats which makes the shedding even more noticeable. That’s compensated, however, by just how majestic their coats and manes look.
So, is the Belgian Tervuren right for you or would you rather go with a German Shepherd? One is definitely easier to find than the other as well as more popular. However, the nearly twice longer lifespan of the Belgian Tervuren is alone arguably reason enough to make it the better choice. Mild-mannered, social, playful, smart, and gentle, Belgian Tervuren dogs are one of the best family breeds out there and they definitely deserve more attention from the broader public.