American Belgian Tervuren Club National Specialty Herding Trials

It was a Wonderful National
by Cathy Modica

At the American Belgian Tervuren Club's National Specialty Herding Trials in Paicines CA on March 28 there was a wonderful turn out of dogs of all ages entered in everything from HT to advanced A and B courses. Many young dogs went into their classes and showed what Tervs are made of, handling stock in wonderful fashion and most completing the course in fine style. But in the end it was the bitches who ruled. Old bitches to be exact. In both trials.

HC Snowflower California Girl (left) and DC Ques-Que-Ce Sparrowhawk UDX, TD, AX (right) work together demonstrating two old girls have what it takes to handle a flock at the ABTC National.

At ages 11 and 10 years respectively, HC Snowflower California Girl ("Cali") and CH Ques-Que-Ce Sparrowhawk UDX, TD, AX ("Killy") worked the sheep through the course with calm confidence and control of seasoned pros. It was a treat for all the spectators and fellow competitors to see these beautiful girls go in and work the sheep through the course in such a manner that it looked like a walk in the park. Both Cali and Killy competed in the Advanced A course. Being a National, the club went all out and got two event numbers and hired a second judge to have the chance for two High In Trial awards, a first for this club.

In the first trial of the day Killy completed her HC (to earn her the title of Dual Champion, DC) with a first place and High In Trial.

In the second trial Cali put in a beautiful run, typical of what her younger runs looked like, finishing her herding trial career with a first place and High In Trial. At the age of 11 she is officially being retired from the trials, although she still gets to work on the ranch with day to day chores. Pretty impressive at age 11 especially when you consider that when Cali earned her HC she was the youngest Terv to earn that title at age 19 moths with 3 consecutive High In Trials.

Both of these wonderful dogs have been working since they were young. And it is the working that keeps them happy healthy and bright. You can see it in their eyes when they see the sheep. There is a special spark that just turns on when they see sheep.

At an age when most dogs have been retired to the couch for several years, these two are a testament to the sound breeding programs that are followed by their breeders. Without sound structure it would not be possible to continue working and competing with older dogs and with such a high level of success. Also, as a testament to their owners the very act of working and competing has been a factor in keeping these beautiful dogs young. The work and practice that both do keeps them in top physical as well as mental condition.

As a judge, I have been very fortunate to see both of these wonderful Tervs work at a young age and mature into everyone's dream dog. It is their wonderful demeanor that just makes me want to watch them work forever. Getting to judge each of them at different stages in their herding trial careers has been a pleasure and an honor. The dogs and their owner/handlers Michele Krone (Cali) and Tamera Lewis (Killy) are among the best in the sport. Their love of their dogs is evident in the teamwork that is so clearly evident when either team is working.

We at the National had a special treat in that we got to see these two girls work together to move and hold sheep in a short demo between the trial class and the PT class. Working together for the first time, these two girls showed spectators and a bevy of no less than four photographers just how to get things done simply and easily.

If you ask these dogs owners for more about their dogs this is what you will find out!

DC Ques-Que-Ce Sparrowhawk UDX, TD, AX
dob 9/6/94

At 10 weeks I set her down in my duck yard to introduce her to the fowl. She marched into the back pen and brought them all out. She started formal herding training at about 5 months going to training about 2 times a month. It is a 7 hr drive round trip with a mountain pass to cross, so some years with bad winters or other activities we only make it over once a month. I occasionally train at home using my ducks.

Killy started herding real keen, grabbing at wool, throats and legs. Rules were introduced, no biting, no barking, no pushing and she soon transformed into a nice gentle worker. From a young age Killy would read her stock and line out nicely. As we didn't train often, her titles progressed slowly. Killy earned her PT in two trials at 3 yrs. The next three years she was very busy working for advanced titles in obedience and agility as well as herding. In 2002 she finished the HXAs with RHIT sheep, then her next trial took HIT sheep and HIT ducks from the advanced class , finished the obedience UDX, earned a TD and went HIT in obedience. At age 8 she finished her HXAd. She finished her Herding Championship at age 10 ½ with a HIT at the ABTC National.

Her strengths are her outrun, lift and fetch and her pen work. She can enter a small pen absolutely packed full of sheep and gently ease them out. Usually she works wide and quietly and doesn't alarm the stock. However she has enough power to get the job done. She has never been challenged in a chute or backed down in a corner.

Killy has been a very bright student. we've done amazingly little training owith her in every discipline. It seems that a couple of lessons for any task and she just knows what to do.


HC Snowflower California Girl
dob 5/18/93

Cali started herding at just four months of age, following big brother Max around the sheep. In short, infrequent sessions with the sheep and Max, it was soon apparent that she had the makings of a solid stockdog. Cali at this young age showed the two most important attributes of a good herding dogL presence and patience.

Cali matured very quickly, and at just nine months of age started up the AKC herding ladder. After twelve months of trialing, Cali had completed the entire AKC discipline, becoming the first Tervuren bitch with a Herding Championship. Cali received her championship points with three consequtive High In Trials - setting a new standard.

Cali also quickly earned her ASCA Working Trial Championship with nine high scores on three different species: sheep, cattle, and ducks. Then she went after her AHBA Championship, which Cali completed in the minimum number of trials with High In Trial placements. Cali is now the only Belgian Tervuren to have a Triple Herding Championship and to have beeten by as much as eighteen points the Border Collie elite of the herding world.

Cali has done it all. She is the happiest tending her ranch chores, trusted to bring in a ewe and lamb as well as rams. We were told early on that herding with our Tervs would create the strongest bond possible between us. The Tervuren is made for chores and loyalty. Herding has brought out the best in Cali. She is my one in a million.