In the United States, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed under the name Belgian Tervuren in 1960. A notable distinction, as prior to that all varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs were classifed as Belgian Sheepdogs. Canadian Kennel Club recognizes the Tervuren as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog (prior to 2005, Belgian Shepherd Dogs were called Belgian Sheepdogs).
Please see the main Belgian Shepherd Dog page for information on the history of the breed.
The Tervuren was for many years considered to be the same dog breed and variety as the Groenendael. Later thought possibly to be a product of the inter-breeding of the Groenendael and the Malinois varieties, the Tervuren’s coat length, density, and texture are the same as the Groenendael, but its color resembles the Malinois. Acceptable colors for the Tervuren variety are rich fawn and grey; often with a color overlay. The Tervuren also possesses a double-pigmented coat, like the Malinois. The chest characteristically has some blackening or grey in it, with some allowance for white spots on the chest only. The Tervuren has ears that are most often black. The Tervuren shares the distinction of having a black mask, also found in the Malinois variety. This “mask” unites the eyes, lips, and corners of the mouth. The underside of the dog’s body and tail is lighter than the rest of the coat and can range in color from cream to grey or light beige. Slightly darker or completely black, the tip of the tail is often distinct.
Like all four of the Belgian Shepherds, the Tervuren is a highly energetic and intelligent dog that bond closely with its family. The Tervurens also needs a job to keep them occupied and due to their natural intelligence excell at any number of given tasks. This can be herding, obedience, agility, flyball, tracking or protection work. The Tervuren is also frequently used as Search and Rescue (SAr) dogs. An alert and vigilant watchdog, the breed is naturally wary around strangers. As with all the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, Tervurens are not generally recommended to first-time dog owners due to their high maintenance level. For more information on the temperament of the breed please see the main Belgian Shepherd Dog page.