The Belgian Tervuren is a breed of the Belgian Sheepdog. Loyal companions, the Tervuren can be a farm dog or a family dog. As with all Belgian Sheepdog breeds, they were bred to herd and protect livestock, so Tervurens need constant activity, whether playing with children, going on long walks, or chasing a frisbee. Always vigilant, they make excellent watchdogs, and can be trained to do just about any task put before them.
Tervurens need a lot of activity to remain happy and healthy. These are not apartment dogs. They need plenty of time and space to run, jump and play every single day. If they don't get enough activity, they can quickly become destructive.
Farms or houses with big, fenced-in yards are the most ideal settings for Tervurens. They will want to be included in all family activities, whether it is doing chores on the farm, playing catch in the yard, or taking long walks in the park. They love to spend time with their people and prefer that time be spent outside, doing something interesting and fun.
Though sometimes willful and stubborn, Belgians are highly trainable and thrive on advanced obedience, trick and agility training. They can read small movements and even changes in facial expression, and are famous for being so “in tune” with their trainers that they can literally stay one step ahead of the person giving commands. For this reason, Belgian Sheepdogs are often competitors (and champions) in agility and herding competitions.
Though easily trainable, Belgians are not for the first-time dog owner. They are highly intelligent and manipulative, and can easily walk all over someone who does not know how to remain consistent with training. Positive reinforcement is the best method to train a Belgian Sheepdog, as discipline can lead to avoidance behavior and stubbornness.
The herding nature of Tervurens makes them prone to chasing and nipping. Bikes, cars, kids, or other animals can cause this dog to take off running. If this breed doesn't have enough interesting activities to do, he can take to herding children and nipping at their heels.
This inborn herding nature also makes Tervurens, like all Belgian Sheepdogs, protective of their home and family. They can be wary of strangers so it is important that they be socialized as early as possible to learn the difference between a welcome guest and an unwelcome guest, or aggression can develop.
Chewing, barking and separation anxiety can sometimes develop in this breed, but that can be attributed to lack of exercise and boredom. Adopting a Tervuren means adopting an active lifestyle.