Belgian Tervuren Breed Magazine - Showsight

A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR JUDGING THE BELGIAN TERVUREN

Third… balanced head proportions and dentition : “Well-chis- eled… long without exaggeration.” This is a head with flat cheeks, parallel planes, moderate stop, and flat backskull equal in length to the muzzle. When we ask you to look for a typical well-chiseled head, we are not seeking a Collie head. Our dogs have a “MODER- ATE” [emphasis added] stop and a “moderately pointed” muzzle. There is that word again… moderate. The zygomatic arch on a Bel- gian is flat, so bulging cheeks and thick-set heads are not true to type. More about color later, but the acceptable ranges of masking can fool you into thinking a head is too lean or too chunky… use your hands gently to verify what your eyes are telling you. Our Breed Standard asks for a “scissors or a level bite” with full dentition. We consider dogs missing “four or more” teeth as having a serious fault, and disqualify dogs with “an undershot bite such that there is a complete loss of contact by all the incisors.” “Overshot and undershot teeth are a fault.” When examining the bite, please gently lift the front lip to check for occlusion, and then gently lift the lips on each side to check for full dentition. Our Judges Education Committee asks specifically that you DO NOT PRY OPEN THE MOUTH to check for missing teeth. Typically, if our Tervuren are missing teeth, they will be at the PM1 and PM2 locations. This is an owner-handled breed and the dogs are not trained for a “wide- open alligator” mouth exam. Enough said. Fourth… expression, eyes and ears : The Standard asks for a slightly almond eye, dark brown in color, medium-sized. Beautiful dark eyes paired with small, triangular ears set high on the head give a Tervuren that “typical” alert, intelligent, questioning, and ready for action expression. Low-set ears, ears that touch, large flat ears, and round, light eyes spoil that ideal expression. And “hang- ing ears, as on a hound are a disqualification.”

Fifth… coat and color : Our dogs carry a double coat of mod- erate length, well-fitting to the body. Texture (medium harsh) is more important than length. Originally developed as an all-pur- pose herding/farm dog, Tervs needed a “no fuss” coat that would keep them dry in the rainy “typical” climate of Belgium; cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Fast forward to 2023 and the fashion is to blow-dry show dogs until they resemble large dan- delions ready to go poof! This is not correct—it spoils the texture and masks the outline of the dog. This is a natural dog and we ask for minimal trimming of feet and hocks. Period. Sculpted outlines should not be rewarded. Kindly remember that seasonal shedding is normal for both dogs and bitches. Note that the bitches never, ever carry as long or luxurious a coat as the males. Please do not penalize a more lightly coated bitch. You will show your ignorance of our breed if you do. So, what about color? Invariably, every judge learner asks about color. The Standard says: “Body rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay is ideal and preferred. Predominate color that is pale, washed out, cream or gray is a fault.” Let’s look back in the history of this breed as we learn about color. The Belgian Tervuren was nearly decimated in the Second World War, and the post-war European “Father of the Tervuren variety,” a dog named Willy de la Garde Noire, was described as a “pale fawn dog.” So, it is really not sur- prising that the “cooler” colored (cream, grey, silver, grey-beige) Tervuren continue to appear out of “warmer” colored (rich fawn to deep mahogany) parents. For those of you who began judging Tervuren prior to 2007, the AKC Standard’s wording on color changed due to a 2/3-majority vote of the American Belgian Tervuren Club. Now, as a judge, you must balance a simple color fault against the ability of each dog to do its work. As a breeder-judge, it is my personal opinion that we must “build strong houses first… and then paint them.” There are those within the breed who would disagree with me. You must make your own decision. Know that there have been National Spe- cialty winners across all ranges of color. I would suggest that color be considered as a finishing aspect except for those colors that must be penalized more stringently: “absence of blackening in mature males is a serious fault.” “A face with

220 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2023

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