I first saw this lovely breed when I lived in Zaire in Africa. As it was a former Belgian colony there were many ex-patriots and a number of them owned Belgian Shepherds - mostly Groenendaels. I owned small dogs in those days, but I resolved that when we moved back to Europe I would also own one of this beautiful breed. Somewhat naive to think I could stop at one!
Speaking fluent French, from the beginning I was able to make contact with breeders in Belgium and France and quickly became smitten with the elegance and beauty of continental dogs. Consequently over the years I have been involved in importing a number of dogs from both Belgium and France, many of whom have had a dramatic influence on the breed in the United Kingdom and who have formed the basis of my breeding lines, as well as those of many other breeders in the UK.
In 2011 Jean-Louis Vandenbemden, the breeder of the famous Hoge Laer affix in Belgium, came to live with me in the UK. We shared the same passion for the breed so it was only natural that he shared the Corsini affix and from that point onwards we bred our Belgian Tervuerens together.
Over the years there have been 42 Corsini bred champions, and Corsini has been top Tervueren breeder in the UK eight times. Our Tervuerens at home currently range in age from youngsters to much loved veterans. Not having children our dogs are our babies and are spoiled accordingly! When puppies are available they are reared in the home and well socialised to adapt them for their future life as part of the family. Our dogs are very much house dogs and we feel strongly that even those puppies which go as future show dogs must also be kept as well loved pets! We are based in Middlesex, just 20 minutes from London Heathrow.
For many years I was involved in the Belgian Shepherd Dog Association of Great Britain, serving for one year as assistant secretary, then a further five years as newsletter editor. I am currently a vice-president of the breed club and run the BSDA of GB website.
I have been privileged to judge Belgians all over the world including Belgian Shepherd breed specialties in Holland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, United States, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic and Hungary, and have had the honour of judging seven times at the most famous of all international Belgian Shepherd events: The French National Specialty held during the month of August. Since several years, Jean-Louis also judges the breed at Championship Show level and it is fun to travel with him when he is judging and I can just spectate and socialise.
Jean-Louis was formerly President of the Royal Groenendael Breed Club in Belgium and bred a great many Tervueren Champions and Elite Reproducers over the years. Such is the influence of his Hoge Laer Kennel (as well as that of High Clearings which he created with his close friend Jean Sempels) that his lines are to be found in the vast majority of Tervueren pedigrees throughout the world.
The Belgian Shepherd is an extremely versatile dog. In addition to being a beautiful, glamorous breed, Belgians are intelligent and eager to please. They excel in obedience and agility and are generally good with children. Their social nature makes them ideal companions, which also means that they dislike being isolated from their 'human pack' and they undoubtedly do best when they live as part of the family.
As breeders of the Tervueren variety, our aim is to produce happy, healthy dogs of good breed type, hopefully with that touch of class and quality that makes Belgians so special. Our Belgians are hip-scored under the relevant national hip scoring schemes before being bred from, and our puppies are born and reared in the home.