American Belgian Tervuren Club

A quick history of AKC Belgian Registration, Exhibition and club activity

 1911         2 Groenendaels & 2 Malinois registered by AKC as "German Sheepdogs", with the prefix Belgian" added to their names.

1912        Breed name changed to "Belgian Sheepdogs" by AKC.

1924        First Belgian Sheepdog Club of America formed and is recognized by AKC, only to dissolve during the Great Depression.

1920 - 1937 3 varieties of Belgian Sheepdog are recognized by AKC in the standard. The long-haired Groenendael, listed as a) black, b) fawn c) any other color; the short-coated Malinois, listed as a) brindle, b) fawn, or c) any other color; and the harsh-coated Gris Cendre, listed as either a) gray or b) fawn.

1938 - 1959 2 varieties of Belgian Sheepdog are recognized by the AKC in the standard. The longhaired Groenendael, listed as a) black, b) fawn c) any other color; and the shorthaired Malinois (same colors as above).

1949         2nd Belgian Sheepdog Club of America (BSCA) forms.

1958         AKC Board of Directors vote to separate the Belgians into 3 distinct breeds - Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren (both shown in the Working Group), and Belgian Malinois (shown in the Miscellaneous Classes).

1959         The varieties become separate breeds on July 1st. AKC imposes 3 generation "same variety" rule for importation of Sheepdogs and Malinois. Imported Tervuren are NOT required by AKC to have 3-generation all Terv pedigree for AKC registration.

1959         ABTC forms under the name Belgian Tervuren Club.

1965         Belgian Malinois moves to Working Group.

1978         In April, AKC meets with a representative breeder from each Belgian breed to discuss recombination. The representatives are to go back to their respective organizations to get a "straw vote" on the recombination issue.

1979         ABTC Board, believing recombination to be too important an issue for a simple straw vote, sends a ballot to the ABTC membership to vote on recombination following nearly a year of discussion and debate in the TNT. Votes are tallied by an independent firm. 151 members vote against recombination, and 98 are in favor of recombining the Belgian breeds. AKC is notified. The ABTC is the only parent club to request a formal ballot of their members.

1980         AKC imposes 3-generation all Terv pedigree rule for AKC registration of imported Tervuren.

1980         American Belgian Tervuren Club becomes AKC member parent club.

1983         Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdogs, Belgian Tervuren all move to Herding Group

1991         ABTC membership votes by mailed ballot to ask AKC to rescind the 3 generation "same variety" requirement on imports.

1992         American Belgian Malinois Club (ABMC) becomes AKC member parent club.

1995         AKC approves new registration policy for All Breeds. 3 generation rule to AKC register imports is rescinded for all breeds, permitting Tervuren, Sheepdogs & Malinois imported from a primary registry country to become AKC registered even if the 3 generation pedigree contains other Belgian varieties.

1996        In October/November, BSCA sends ballot to its membership "that all Belgians be recognized by AKC as determined by their color and coat length that they are born with, and that Malinois, Tervuren, Groenendael, and when recognized by AKC, Laekenois maintain separate point schedules and representation in the group ring." Voting results: 71.8% of those voting, and 68.1% of the total membership voted to pass the motion. BSCA sends these results to AKC. BSCA asks ABTC and ABMC to send a similar ballot to their memberships.

1997        In January, ABTC membership votes in a mailed ballot/opinion poll - 493 ballots cast representing 47% of the membership, with 88.6% in favor of pursuing discussions with the AKC and the other Belgian parent clubs.

  • ABTC Poll Results:
  • YES 372 NO 89 To register all Belgians according to coat color and length they are born with.
  • YES 434 NO 29 To maintain current practice of separate point scales, separate showing in the breed and group rings.
  • YES 421 NO 37 To maintain the current clubs as the representative clubs for each coat type.
  • YES 367 NO 90 To maintain three distinct standards, each controlled by its own club.

On February 1, the AKC writes to all three (ABTC, BSCA, ABMC) club presidents, that the AKC is opposed to establishing Parent Clubs for varieties, but that the AKC was receptive to the concept of changing registration policy if all three clubs were willing to consider unification into one club. Letter arrives before the ABTC has tallied Opinion poll/ballot (above). In addition AKC clarifies its 1995 rescinding of the 3 generation import regulation explaining that if the sire or dam of an import is AKC registered, AKC registration will only be given to the imported offspring if it is the same breed as its AKC registered parent.

In April, AKC sends a letter to 3 Belgian clubs requesting 2 representatives to be selected per club to attend a meeting in New York with AKC.

In June, a delegation from ABTC, BSCA, ABMC meet with AKC officials in New York to discuss Belgian breed and club issues.  A list of every possible option is composed.

In July, theAKC Board reviews option list and affirms that they could support only:

  1. Status Quo - 3 breeds, 3 parent clubs, no registration of puppies by coat characteristics, or
  2. 1 breed, 3 varieties (separate points and group representation), but only 1 parent club.

1997 - 1998 July through January, ABTC liaisons Karen Johnson and Janina Laurin, and ABTC Board work with AKC and ABMC/BSCA representatives to design a ballot that would evaluate member votes on the 2 options. AKC will mail and count ballots, once ballot is acceptable to the clubs.

1998 In February, the ABTC respectfully withdraws from the proposed AKC ballot.

ABTC designs opinion poll ballot to be sent to membership to determine if a 2/3 majority of ABTC members wish to

  1. have 1 breed, 3 varieties (separate points and group representation), but only 1 CLUB, or
  2. maintain status quo - 3 breeds, 3 separate clubs

This first question will still give the AKC and the other Belgian Clubs the information they need to determine if A above is a viable option.  However, a second question is also to be voted upon by the membership to help the ABTC Board of Directors determine next steps.

Does the membership prefer to:

  1. maintain status quo - 3 breeds, 3 separate clubs
  2. have 1 breed, 3 varieties (separate points and group representation) 3 National clubs to remain in place. (an option AKC has told us is not available)