A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR JUDGING THE BELGIAN TERVUREN
a complete absence of black is a serious fault.” “White is permitted on the chest/sternum only, not to extend more than 3 inches above the prosternum, and not to reach either point of shoulder.” Long chest hairs may give the illusion of too much white. If you have a ques- tion, look closely at the skin at the base of the haircoat. And always remember that white is permitted on the tips of the toes and is typical as “frost” on the muzzle and chin. Truly fundamental color issues are called out as Disqualifi- cations for the breed: “Solid black, solid liver or any area of white EXCEPT [emphasis added] as specified on the chest, tips of the toes, chin, and muzzle.” TEMPERAMENT Our Standard is clear that we expect our dogs to “be approach- able, standing his ground and showing confidence to meet overtures without himself making them” and goes on to say, “In his relation- ship with humans he is observant and vigilant with strangers, but not apprehensive. He does not show fear or shyness.” Herding breeds by their very nature are reactive. They take in the big picture of a flock and its movement and “react” appropri- ately. As an all-purpose farm dog, they were expected to “react” appropriately to strangers appearing on the property… deciding who should be greeted or who should be deterred. It’s a tightrope walk for a young, “vigilant with strangers” Belgian. So what should you expect in the ring? First, remember this is an owner-handled breed. Tervuren are never presented stacked nose to tail like many Sporting breeds. Do not expect your Terv entry to stand like statues. These are bright, active, busy dogs that free-stack and bait. Your approach is really important. Be confident. Expect good behavior. Speak to the handler upon approach, put your hand under the dog’s chin, and pet them gently on the head as you greet the dog. Then, just get on with your examination. Personally, in youngsters, I like to examine the dog first, always keeping my hands in contact with the dog’s body or neck. Then I come back to examine the bite, as that is the most invasive part of the exam. If you feel you cannot safely examine the dog, please do not push. Excuse the dog and explain to the handler why. Judging is not a test of courage or machismo. Please, do not reward dogs that will not stand for examination without being propped up or held in a
death grip by their owner. Do allow puppies some reassurance and a bit of stabilizing by their owner-handlers. We want our Tervuren Champions deserving in every aspect—Type, Temperament, and Movement. There are many, many, many Tervuren with excellent character to select from. MOVEMENT So, you have selected the best dogs by evaluating type and tem- perament. Next, you must find the very best in movement. Since most judges come into the ring already evaluating movement fairly well, I am addressing it last. This is NOT a message that movement is unimportant. Au Contraire! Our Tervs are single-trackers with an easy, effortless, ground-covering gait. They should be moved on a loose lead and never raced around the ring! A Belgian must be balanced in its movement… “Lively and graceful, covering the maximum ground with minimum effort.” You know all those faults of crabbing, padding, hackneying, weaving, etc.? Well, they are just as faulty in our Tervs and “are to be penalized according to the degree with which they interfere with the ability of the dog to work.” When making your decisions as to whether a fault is minor, serious, or major, our Standard asks you to use the following guide: 1. The extent to which it deviates from the Standard; 2. The extent to which such deviation would actually affect the working ability of the dog. The Judge’s Education Committee of the American Belgian Ter- vuren Club is ready to assist you in your learning. Contact informa- tion and excellent study materials are available at: www.abtc.org
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sharon Ann Redmer has owned Belgian Tervuren since 1972 and has bred them for over 40 years. More than 150 “StarBright Tervuren” have earned AKC Championships, with many MACHs, OTChs, HTs, CTs, RACHs, High in Trials, and BIS, Group & National Specialty wins. She has recently co-bred her first litter of Belgian Laekenois.
Sharon is an AKC judge of the Herding, Working, and Sporting Groups, all but four breeds in the Non- Sporting Group, all Obedience/Rally, and Junior Showmanship. She has judged on four continents as well as 16 National Specialties for the Belgians (Tervuren, Groenendael, Malinois & Laekenois) in the US, Canada, England, France, Australia, and the Netherlands. She has officiated at AKC National Obedience/Rally Invitationals, the AKC Championship Shows, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows multiple times. Sharon serves as Chairperson of the American Belgian Tervuren Club’s Judges Education Committee and is a former AKC Delegate and President for the parent club. She was honored to be awarded the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award for Companion Events for 2013. She is an Honorary Lifetime Member of both the Ann Arbor Kennel Club and Ann Arbor Dog Training Club. She and her husband, Ed, live just north of Ann Arbor, are loyal University of Michigan fans (GO BLUE), and share their country home with three Tervuren.
222 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2023
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