Like all four of the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, the Tervuren is a medium-sized, square-proportioned dog in the Herding dog group. Males stand between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh approximately 65 lb. Females are finer and smaller. It is recognized by its thick double coat, generally mahogany with varying degrees of black overlay (completely missing overlay on males is a serious fault), including a black mask. A small patch of white on the chest is permissible, as well as white tips on toes. The Tervuren may also be sable or grey, any type of red (mahogany) coat including pale yellow (sand colour) and grey is common.
The Belgian Shepherd Tervuren has a thick, double coat similar to the Groenendael. Regular brushing is necessary to remove loose undercoat, but in general, the fur is not prone to matting but occasionally, they can get hairballs. A properly textured Tervuren coat is slightly hard, laying flat against the body (unlike, for instance, the Samoyed’s off-standing fur). It naturally sheds dirt and debris, but burrs and seeds may stick to the feathering on the legs.
Tervurens are highly energetic, intelligent dogs who require a job to keep them occupied. This can be herding, obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, or protection work. They are also found working as Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs, finding missing people and avalanche victims. Tervurens that are not kept sufficiently busy can become hyperactive or destructive.
As companion animals, Tervurens are loyal and form strong bonds with their family, leading some to be shy around strangers. They are good watch dogs, being very observant and attentive to the slightest change in their environment. Some can be nervous, depending on breeding and early experiences, so care must be taken to adequately socialize Tervuren puppies to a wide variety of people and situations.
As with all the Belgian Shepherds, Tervurens are not generally recommended to first-time dog owners due to their high maintenance level.
Their appearance projects alertness and elegance. The breed is known for its loyalty and versatility. Those who own them report being charmed by their intelligence, and trainability.
Generally healthy, but Tervurens can have a susceptibility to hip dysplasia, epilepsy, gastric problems (including bloats and torsions) and some eye and skin problems.