American Belgian Tervuren Club

Body Details

 sculpture by M. Fath, France, 1953

TheTervuren is a well-balanced square dog with medium bone structure.He has a nice neckline that is proudly carried over the wither which is slightly accentuated. The shoulders are laid back with forelegs set under the dog's chest. The rear angulation is balanced to the front, the hocks are vertical and the hind feet set comfortably below the point of the dog's rump - the dog stands squarely. The chest is deep, but not broad, with a smooth ascendant underline to the loin.

Size and Substance

Our standard describes a medium sized dog capable of being large enough to fulfill the rold of guardian of property, but not so large as to limit its great athleticism and agility in its herding tasks.

The ideal male is 24 to 26 inches in height and female 22 to 24 inches in height measured at the withers. Dogs are to be penalized in accordance to the degree they deviate from the ideal. Males under 23 inches or over 26.5 inches or females under 21 inches or over 24.5 inches are to be disqualified.

 A judge should consider all dogs within the ideal ranges equally. Do not leave your best dog out of the winners circle because you are uncertain whether the size is acceptable - always measure if you are in doubt. It is your responsibility to put up the dog that you feel is the best in your ring, as well as to disqualify a dog that measures out.


The body is square; the length measured from the point of shoulder to the point of the rump approximates the height. Females may be somewhat longer in body.

squareThe Tervuren's square body definitely contributes to the picture of breed type. The measurement in determining square is horizontally from the front point of the shoulder to the rear point of rump, and vertically from the top of the wither to the ground. This is not a dog of rectangular proportions.

Bone structure is medium in proportion to height, so that he is well-balanced throughout and neither spindly or leggy nor cumbersome and bulky.

Neck and withersneckline female

Neck round, muscular, rather long and elegant, slightly arched and tapered from head to body. Skin well-fitting with no loose folds. Withers accentuated.

The Tervuren has a medium long, slightly arched neck that blends over the wither.The arch is more apparent on a dog in full coat, particularly males with full collarette. The proud carriage of the head and neck is an important characteristic of breed type.



Topline, croup, ribs loinoutlinew.jpg

Topline level, straight and firm from withers to croup. Croup medium long, sloping gradually to the base of the tail. Ribs well-sprung but flat on the sides. Loin section viewed from above is relatively short, broad, and strong, but blending smoothly into the back.

 Note: the withers are accentuated, followed by a strong, short and level back.

Chest and abdomen

Chest not broad without being narrow, but deep; the lowest point of the brisket reaching the elbow, forming a smooth ascendant curve to the abdomen. Abdomen moderately developed, neither tucked up nor paunchy.

The forechest is apparent just to the extent that it is not hidden behind the shoulders. The Tervuren has good depth of chest, however the chest is not broad. The underbody should form a smooth, ascendant curve.


Tail strong at base, the last vertebra to reach at least to the hock. At rest the dog holds it low, the tip bent back level with the hock. When in action, he may raise it to a point level with the topline giving it a slight curve, but not a hook. Tail is not carried above the backline nor turned to one side. A cropped or stump tail is a disqualification.

In motion the tail is carried as a smooth extension from the backline. It is often lifted when the dog is in motion, but should not be carried above the backline. Never should it be tucked between the legs. Both standing and in motion, there should be no strong hook in the tail, nor should it be carried off center at any point.

Shoulders and hindquarters

Shoulder long. laid back 45 degrees, flat against the body,  forming a right angle with the upper arm.

The forelegs should be set under the dog's chest; the shoulder assembly should not be placed forward.

Thighs broad and heavily muscled. Stifles clearly defined, with upper shank at right anfles to hipbones. Hocks moderatley bent. Metatarsi short, perpendicular to the ground, parallel to each other when viewed from the rear.

The dog stands naturally and squarely - a line that drops straight down from the point of buttocks should touch the hind feet.

 nice shoulders and hindquarters malenice shoulders and hindqtrs female


straight and parallel, perpendicular to the ground. Bone oval rather than round. Forearms long and well muscled. Hind legs powerful without heaviness.


Feet and pasterns

The feet are well padded with toes curved and tightly closed together. The nails are strong. The front feet are catfooted and the rear feet, while tightly closed, are slightly elongated.

Pasterns short and strong, slightly sloped.

The pasterns are short and strong, with a slight slope to allow for flexibility in movement and to absorb the shock that the shoulders would otherwise have to bear. Straight or too soft pasterns will cause serious functional problems in a working environment.

nice feet, pasterns, bone (female) feet_female.jpg


The Tervuren is bred for ease of movement, quick footwork, strength, intelligence and sensibility. Applying correct structure basics within the realm of a balanced, square dog with elegant carriage will further encourage breeders to strive to produce a dog capable of doing whet it is designed to do. People who get Belgians expect them to be able to do all sorts of dog sports and some also perform serious useful tasks as well. We ask that judges keep this in mind when judging.

Judge Education Online Presentation - Guide for Judges

  • Introduction +

    Introduction Welcome to the ABTC online Judges' Education guide. The intent of this guide is to discuss and illustrate those points of the standard which deal with qualities most unique to the breed, which are commonly referred to as "type". It is directed to judges and aspiring judges of the breed under the AKC breed standard who already have general knowledge of soundness in the Herding breeds.  Copyright © American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc. 2000-2009, all rights reserved.  Read More
  • Judges Responsibility +

    Judge's Responsibility The judge plays a vital role in the survival of the Belgian Tervuren as a functional herding dog with correct breed type. Championship titles, Group and Best In Show winners are sought after in pedigrees. Only when the dogs possessing correct type are the dogs rewarded by the judge in the ring, will the breed continue to improve.  Please judge positively. After all, all dogs have faults. The breed standard gives far more attention to describing the features the dog should possess, those which make him look and function like a Belgian Tervuren, than it does in listing faults.  Read More
  • History and Purpose +

    HISTORY AND PURPOSE: The Belgians were a rustic, brave dog, known for exceptional intelligence, athleticism and trainability. They were found working with the farmer – herding sheep and other small livestock; protecting home and property; and doing varied tasks for the modest working people of Belgium.They were prized in their homeland as police dogs and as war dogs. The Belgians share a common ancestry. Originally classified as simply long hair, short hair, and rough haired, irrespective of coloring, to this day in their homeland they remain a single breed with varieties, named according to their phenotype, or appearance, which is not Read More
  • Breed Character +

    The Tervuren is a sheep herding breed and a versatile all-around worker. It is by nature an active and responsive dog, full of life and delighted to be with its owner. It is very zealous for the attention of its family, which accounts for its outstanding success and popularity as an owner-trained and handled breed.  In the ring The natural protective instincts of the Tervuren make it a breed which which does not immediately make friends with strangers. While they typically show much interest in interacting with their handler, it is not typical for an adult Tervuren to be overly Read More
  • General Appearance +

     General Appearance Silhouette counts. The first thing a judge should consider is whether the dog has the look which is unmistakably Tervuren. It is not a good Tervuren if it does not have correct silhouette, no matter how nice it may look or move.  The Tervuren stands naturally with proud carriage of head and neck over a balanced, square body having medium bone and balanced angulation front to rear. The slightly long, arched neck gives the head a most elegant carriage. It's straight, dense, natural falling coat should not obscure the outline. Faced with a black muzzle, alert high set Read More
  • Body Details +

    Body Details  sculpture by M. Fath, France, 1953 TheTervuren is a well-balanced square dog with medium bone structure.He has a nice neckline that is proudly carried over the wither which is slightly accentuated. The shoulders are laid back with forelegs set under the dog's chest. The rear angulation is balanced to the front, the hocks are vertical and the hind feet set comfortably below the point of the dog's rump - the dog stands squarely. The chest is deep, but not broad, with a smooth ascendant underline to the loin. Size and Substance Our standard describes a medium sized dog capable Read More
  • Head +

    Head The moderately long, cleanly chiseled head with balanced proportions, dark almond eyes and high set ears, combined an alert, intelligent and questioning expression easily distinguishes the Tervuren  from other breeds.  Well-chiseled, skin taut, long without exaggeration. Expression intelligent and questioning, indicating alertness, attention and readiness for action. Eyes dark brown, medium-size, slightly almond shape, not protruding. Light, yellow or round eyes are a fault. Ears triangular in shape, well-cupped, stiff, erect; height equal to width at base. Set high, the base of the ear does not come below the center of the eye. Hanging ears, as on a hound, Read More
  • Teeth +

    Teeth Full complement of strong white teeth, evenly set, meeting in a scissors or a level bite. Overshot and undershot teeth are a fault. An undershot bite such that there is a complete loss of contact by all the incisors is a disqualification. Broken or discolored teeth should not be penalized. Missing teeth are a fault. Four or more missing teeth are a serious fault. We ask that judges check the teeth gently from the side, rather than attempting to pry the mouth open. Please, do not pry open the mouth in the manner seen for Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers. Read More
  • Gait +

    Gait  Lively and graceful, covering the maximum ground with minimum effort.  Always in motion, seemingly never tiring, he shows ease of movement rather than hard driving action. He single tracks at a fast gait, the legs both front and rear converging toward the center line of gravity of the dog. Viewed from the side he exhibits full extension of both fore and hindquarters. The back line should remain firm and level, parallel to the line of motion. The gait is light and relaxed His natural tendency is to move in a circle, rather than a straight line. Padding, hackneying, weaving, Read More
  • Coat +

    Coat     The Belgian Tervuren is particularly adaptable to extremes of temperature or climate.The long guard hairs are straight, close fitting, and of medium harshness. The undercoat is dense, commensurate with climatic conditions. The female rarely has as long or as ornamented a coat as the male, and she should be considered equally regardless of this disparity.  The guard hairs of the coat must be long, close-fitting, straight and abumdant. The texture is of medium harshness, not silky or wiry. Wavy or curly hair is a fault. The undercoat is very dense, commensurate, however, with climatic conditions. The hair Read More
  • Color +

    COLOR: mahogany female, fawn male, both with black overlay, showing a range of acceptable coloring Preferred Tervuren coloring ranges rather widely, from rich fawn to a russet mahogany base color, all having a some degree of black overlay and a black mask. Disqualification: Solid black, solid liver, or any area of white except as specifiedon the chest, tips of toes, chin and muzzle are a DISQUALIFICATION (by this the standard means solid, without characteristic lighter underpinnings or contrasting overlay). Serious Faults:  A face with a complete absence of black. Absence of black overlay in mature dogs (make allowances for young dogs) Read More
  • Faults and Disqualifications +

    Faults and Disqualifications - including a Belgian comparison chart Any deviation from these specifications is a fault. In determining whether a fault is minor, serious, or major, these two factors should be used as a guide: The extent to which it deviates from the standard The extent to which such deviation would actually affect the working ability of the dog The Tervuren standard has disqualifications for    Size (Males under 23 inches or over 26.5 inches or females under 21 inches or over 24.5 inches) Ears (Hanging ears, as a hound) Bite (An undershot bite such that there is a complete loss Read More
  • How to Examine the Tervuren +

    How to Examine the Belgian Tervuren Here are some tips that will help you through an efficient, comprehensive breed-specific evaluation. Look at the profile Do not stare at the dog close-up Be pleasant and expect the dog to be also Check for missing teeth - gently from the sides check depth of chest, forechest, and shoulder angulation check placement of shoulder assembly check tail length  And of course, evaluate the many breed-specific and functional qualities that we talked about in this forum! Consider that the great majority of Tervuren are owner-handled.  The approach There is much that you can do to Read More
  • 2009 Quick Judge's Reference Brochure +

     Click here to open the 2-sided 3-fold printable 2009 Quick reference brochure (will open in another window). Follow your printer instructions for how to re-insert/align the paper to print on both sides. This brochure along with the 2007 Quick Guide are intended as fast easy printable reference sources for judging. Neither replaces in depth study such as the club seminars or judges education website. ABTC JEC Quickguide278.3 KB05/12/2012, 23:32 Read More
  • 2007 Quick Guide for judges +

     Click here to open the 1 page, printable 2007 Quick Guide Sheet (will open in another window). This, along with the 2 sided 2009 Quick Reference Guide, are intended to assist the judge as easily printed reference sources. Neither replaces in-depth learning such as from our approved seminars and website sources. Tervuren Quick Guide for Judges88.45 KB11/11/2012, 20:39 Read More
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