My Dog of the Week (actually for last week) is the Belgian Tervuren. I was not able to get this design done last week – the lush coat took a while. Some designs just take longer than others. Anyhow, the request for this breed came from a customer who has ordered some pottery to be used as prizes for a Weimaraner show. This Weimaraner club has been a customer for years and I love that every year there is at least one new breed that they add. You may wonder why a Weimaraner group would need a Tervuren design. It is a gift for one of the judges. I think it’s really cool that they make a good effort to make show their judges appreciation.
The Belgian Tervuren is one type of Belgian Shepherd – the Malinois, and Belgian Sheepdog (which the AKC calls the Groenendael) are the others recognized by the AKC. The Tervuren descends from the stock that created the Belgian Sheepdog. For ages it was used for guarding and herding sheep. But in the late 19th Century, more modern farming techniques, roads, fences, railways and automobiles put them out of work. The Tervuren, and other similar herding breeds were on the verge of extinction. A group of breeders got together and decided on the varieties to keep – the Tervuren was one of these. The breed was recognized in America in 1918, and at that time, their numbers were low here and abroad. The numbers continued to drop during The Great Depression and World War II. After the war, efforts were made to revive the breed, and it received greater acceptance. Today (2016) it is 98th on the AKC’s list of registered dog breeds.
The Belgian Tervuren is very trainable and has good concentration, making it a natural at agility, guarding, competitive obedience, retrieving, herding, police work, search and rescue, Schutzhund, and tracking. It does require a lot of exercise and a job to do to remain happy, so it is not the perfect dog for busy families on the go. But a great working dog it is, and I have a lot of respect for that, having competed in Schutzhund many years ago.
I am very happy to add the Belgian Tervuren to my list. I recall a woman who visited my booth at a local artisans fair years ago. At that point I was hand painting all of my dog designs on my pottery, and she saw my German Shepherd items. She told me it was hard to find things with Tervurens on them, so she bought a Shepherd sugar bowl because it was somewhat close to a Tervuren. For the next year’s fair, knowing I’d see her there, I made sure I painted her a Tervuren mug. She was thrilled to see her breed on it, and it made me so glad to see her surprised and happy. There is still some test firing to do, but it wont be long before the Tervuren is available on the Shepherds Grove website.