mahogany female, fawn male, both with black overlay, showing a range of acceptable coloring
Preferred Tervuren coloring ranges rather widely, from rich fawn to a russet mahogany base color, all having a some degree of black overlay and a black mask.
Solid black, solid liver, or any area of white except as specifiedon the chest, tips of toes, chin and muzzle are a DISQUALIFICATION (by this the standard means solid, without characteristic lighter underpinnings or contrasting overlay).
A face with a complete absence of black. Absence of black overlay in mature dogs (make allowances for young dogs) Some females carry very light overlay, but it should be found minimally on the shoulder area of adult females
Predominate color that is pale, washed out, cream or gray. Blackening in patches.
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. The coat is characteristically double pigmented whereby the tips of the fawn hairs are blackened. Belgian Tervuren characteristically become darker with age. On mature males, this blackening is especially pronounced on the shoulders, back and rib section. Blackening in patches is a fault. Although allowance should be made for females and young males, absence of blackening in mature dogs is a serious fault.
Chest is normally black, but may be a mixture of black and gray. The tail typically has a darker or black tip.
The desired coloring on the adult Tervuren ranges rather widely, from a warm fawn to russet mahagany base color with some degree of black overlay, and a black mask. The chest and throat is typically black or a mix of black and gray. The ears are mostly black. The underparts of the body, tail, and breeches are cream, gray, or light beige. The mask (muzzle) is black, and the tip of the tail is normally black. Considerable variation of base color and overlay may be seen from dog to dog.
Predominant color that is pale, washed out, cream or gray is a fault.
Solid black (which occurs in the breed) or solid liver (rare) is a disqualification.
The overlay is often described as if the dog were lightly caressed with soot, although a considerable variation of acceptable black overlay is seen within the breed. Blackening in patches is a fault. The presence of some black overlay in an adult Tervuren is essential. On mature males, the blackening is especially pronounced on the shoulders, back and rib section.
The Tervuren base color characteristically becomes deeper, and the black overlay more pronounced, as the dog ages. Allowance for very little overlay should be made for puppies, and for females, who do not always have the amount of overlay as a male, because he carries a longer coat. However, a complete absence of black overlay in mature dogs is a serious fault.
White is permitted on the chest/sternum only, not to extend more than 3 inches above the prosternum, and not to reach either point of shoulder. Frost or white on chin or muzzle is normal. The underparts of the body, tail, and breeches are cream, gray, or light beige. The tips of the toes may be white. Nail color may vary from black to transparent. Solid black, solid liver or any area of white except as specified on the chest, tips of the toes, chin and muzzle are disqualifications.
The underparts of the body, tail, and particularly breeches are cream, gray, or light beige. Please do not confuse cream in these areas as white.
The Tervuren historically carries genes for white on the chest and some white on the toes. White on the chest is perfectly acceptable, but should remain confined to the chest area. White splashes or streaks are not allowed elsewhere on the dog.
White on the chest should be confined to the chest/sternum only. It must be disqualified if it reaches to either point of shoulder, or if you feel that it extends more than 3 inches above the prosternum. The tips of the toes may be white. Patches of white anywhere else on the dog are a disqualification. For example, white covering an entire foot or extending up the pastern, or a white patch on the side of the neck or body would fall under the description of the white disqualification.
White is permitted on the chest. The amount of white on this dog goes beyond what is preferred (see the Faults & DQ section for how to weigh faults). How much chest white is a DQ? Of course, one does not measure white in the ring. As a judge, you must use your judgment. If from the skin it reaches to either point of shoulder, or if you feel it is over 3 inches above the prosternum, it is a disqualification. This young dog is an example of being so close that he might be disqualified under one judge, and not under another, based on their judgment that day. But as a point of reference, you can see that if it extended higher up the throat it would unquestionably have measured as a disqualification. Note the gray coloring crossing over the tape below the 4 inch mark - a mix of gray and black hairs on the throat is normal.
Frosting or white seen on the chin or muzzle as frosting is considered normal. Most Tervuren are born with frost on the chin. The frosting will become more and more apparent onto the muzzle as the dog ages, extending as age-related frosting on the face as the dog ages. This should not be faulted.
veteran female (left) and male (right) with normal frosting that comes with age.
The black mask
Face has a black mask and the ears are mostly black. A face with a complete absence of black is a serious fault. Frost or white on chin or muzzle is normal.
These masks are acceptable under the AKC standard.
The "mask" in the Tervuren refers to a black muzzle and is a distinguishing feature of the breed. There are specimens who's black muzzle does not quite reach up to the eye, and those with a lighter colored "V" coming part way down from the stop toward the nose in an otherwise black muzzle. A judge should only be concerned with dogs that are noticeably lacking a black muzzle, or a mask that is brown, rather than black, in color. Some dogs have predominately black color encompassing both the mask and head - that is not considered faulty unless the entire head and neck picture together is so solid black that the entire head assembly looks like a (black) Belgian Sheepdog.
a face with complete absence of black is a serious fault
remember to judge positively: The lovely head and expression on this male should impress a judge more than the slightly lighter mask!