Sorry in advance for the long post, but I tend to be, erm, wordy. Anyway, of late, I've become very interested in Belgian Tervurens. Hence the thread title
Now, currently, I'm nowhere near adding another dog to my group. But, sometimes it's just fun to speculate, you know? And, while I have a pretty good idea of how a lot of breeds would fit into my lifestyle, I'm having trouble finding info on Tervurens. Everything I've come across either states that they're wild and crazy monster dogs who no one should ever have as a pet, ever, or the opposite... that they're anxious, neurotic nerve bags that are unsuitable for anything save looking pretty. I'm pretty sure the truth is somewhere in between, but I'm interested to hear from people who have lived with or worked with the breed. I've combed the site for mentions of Tervurens, and have very much enjoyed the posts about Brenna, Angel, and Chinook.
I've worked in the veterinary field for... more years than I care to admit. Unfortunately, I've never really gotten a feel for any of the Belgian breeds even in all that time. They're just not very popular in my area. The one exception being, of course, the occasional LE malinois that come in. There's also a psycho trainer who breeds malinois and "trains" in IPO. And, well, let's just say I've not been impressed with any aspect of the way this person trains, cares for, or manages their dogs.
There have been Tervurens and Groenendaels that I've seen come in in very rare instances, but it's all been dogs of an advanced age who are there for end of life assistance. I'm always very taken with the bond these dogs seem to have with their owners, however, and the good health/ genetics that enabled them to not have to seek emergency service until the very end. All of these dogs have been between 15 to 17 years of age at the time I saw them.
So, a little about me and my current group of dogs. My absolute favorite breed is the Australian shepherd. I will always have an aussie in my life, for sure. However, as much as I love my aussies, I also enjoy having a little bit of a mixed group, as there are other breeds that I'm interested in, and I don't want to get stuck in a rut.
Currently, I have a seven year old red-tri neutered male aussie named Misha. He's my heart and soul, a once in a lifetime dog. He's the inspiration for my username.
My other aussie is a blue merle 2.5 year old spayed female named Rowena. Ro's also creeping toward heart dog status. Starting from the day I brought her home as a two month old puppy, we've dealt with her issues of extreme fear that manifested as aggression to people. We've done so much work together, surpassing the expectations of pretty much everyone who knew her as a puppy. I worked with a wonderful trainer and consulted with a veterinary behaviorist, both of whom are impressed with her progress. My trainer, in particular, loves Ro, though the feeling is definitely not mutual. Ro taught and continues to teach me so much. She's an amazing dog.
Rounding out the group is Kevin Tran, a 2.5 year old border collie/whippet mix. According to the DNA test, there's also an aussie grandparent way back in there somewhere, so he's granted honorable aussie status as well. Kevin came into the clinic where I work at just under a year of age as a stray after being hit by a car. His owners were eventually found, but they were unable to cope with his energy and intensity and his supposed escape artist ways, so they surrendered him. The local humane society was unable to deal with the necessary orthopedic surgery needed to repair his injuries. He'd wormed his way into my heart by then, and even though I had concerns about being able to cope with both his and Ro's needs at the time, he was pretty much out of options so, against my better judgement, he came home with me. I'd only intended to foster him, but Kevin had other ideas, and eventually convinced me that he was right where he belonged. He's truly a one of a kind dog, and wound up being the perfect addition to my group.
Oh, and I also have a black cat, Meg, who needs to be taken into consideration as well. She's not a fan of the dogs, but copes well as I make sure we have one on one time where the dogs are either confined to another room or outside. I also made sure that she has access to a lot of vertical space... perches and such where she can lord over everyone but not have to interact.
I live in an area full of fantastic hiking opportunities, and we do long, off-leash hikes on my days off. I train the aussies in agility, rally, obedience, and fun tricks, though I do not compete in any of these venues. I hate competing, but love training, so that's what we do I'm hoping to get Kevin started in agility this year, and am contemplating doing dome disc work with him as well. I love training, and feel pretty confident in my skills, especially after all the work I've done with Ro. I work weekend graveyard shifts at a veterinary ER, and the dogs come to work with me, so their time home alone is pretty limited. The shifts are pretty grueling, but it gives me four days off each week, so it's a good trade off. I'm a bit of a loner, and not the type to be interested in romantic relationships or kids, so it's just the dogs and me. When we're not out hiking or training, I can generally be found on the couch beneath a pile of dogs, either reading or writing; my two non-dog related hobbies.
My interest in Tervurens came about as I decided that for my next dog, I'd like something a little more physically imposing than the aussies, and also something a little more reserved around strangers. I actually really like Ro's air of quiet, watchful vigilance, but the effect is pretty much lost on anyone else, as she's cute and fluffy and about 29 pounds soaking wet. I initially thought about German Shepherds, but was slightly put off by the rampant health issues I see, as well as the unstable temperaments that are pretty common in my area. And, also, superficially, one of the things I value in my dogs is their speed and agility. Even the most athletic GSD's seem slow and clumsy in comparison to my guys. The Belgian breeds then came to mind, specifically Tervurens. I loooooove their looks, especially the very dark ones, but more importantly, I love how bonded they seem to be with their owners, their athleticism, and their willingness to work with their people in training, etc.
What I'm looking for is a dog who will do well living with a group of multiple dogs and one opinionated cat. One who will enjoy hiking and training, but be able to maintain an off switch inside. One who, while reserved with strangers, is still sweet and affectionate to his/her owner. I do own my home, and the yard is fenced with a six foot privacy fence.
So, I'm interested to hear from those of you who've lived with/ worked with Tervurens, if you think this breed would be a good match for my lifestyle, and also any information about what living/working with them is like, and also any resources for further research.
Thanks so much, and congrats to anyone who made it to the end of the post!