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 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 friendly to strangers. While a certain aloofness with strangers is considered normal, the dog should be confident and trustworthy in the ring, always displaying good manners.
A judge should never reward a dog that must be held up for exam or that acts fearful or untrustworthy. While some judges prefer that a dog's muzzle be held during an exam (or some handlers offer the courtesy of holding the muzzle), take note of how a dog so controlled is reacting to your exam. As a judge you should never make excuses for unstable behavior when it is observed. Usually owner-handled, Tervuren do not normally stand like a statue in the ring, and will use their ears to show their awareness to the environment.
"The Belgian Tervuren reflects the qualities of intelligence, courage, alertness and devotion to master. In addition to his inherent ability as a herding dog, he protects his master's person and property without being overtly aggressive. He is watchful, attentive, and usually in motion when not under command." ...
"In his relationship with humans he is observant and vigilant with strangers, but not apprehensive. He does not show fear or shyness. He does not show viciousness by unwarranted or unprovoked attack. He must be approachable, standing his ground and showing confidence to meet overtures without himself making them. With those he knows well, he is most affectionate and friendly, zealous for their attention and very possessive."
--- From the AKC Belgian Tervuren Standard
Puppies often go through very normal stages of developing personality, exhibiting everything from exuberant friendliness at one moment, to uncertainty over their new surroundings the next moment. As long as the puppy is willing to accept the exam and is not untrustworthy, a judge should give consideration to a puppy entry that acts a bit, well, like the puppy that it still is.
Please also be sure to read the section on “how to examine the Tervuren”, where we discuss the appropriate manner in which to approach and examine the breed.