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Famous Belgian Tervurens

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Tags: Belgian Tervuren, Famous

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Perhaps the most distinguished of all Belgian Tervuren police dogs would be Albert. Albert, a male from Holland, went to work with the Amsterdam police force sometime around 1920. His duties mostly consisted largely of tracking and he quickly proved himself a strong, capable public servant. During his time on the force, the population of the city was rising from about 523,577 to roughly 750,000 (today the population stands at this number) between 1900 and 1930. That he managed to track down no less than two hundred fugitives during the city's period of growth should serve as a testament to the breed's capability of adapting to new situations.

Albert's efforts were recognized after his death in 1922 when, a year later, a statue was erected in his honor in Amsterdam Oosterpark (located in the East Watergraafsmeer burough). Quite an honor when you consider that the park, the first of its scale in Amsterdam, also contains the Slavery Monument, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands. The statue serves to honor not only Albert himself, but as thanks and recognition to all police dogs everywhere for helping make the world a safer place to inhabit.

But police work isn't the only place individual Tervurens have made a name for themselves. With their charisma and handsome appearance, it's only natural, almost predetermined, that a few have also made a name for themselves in film and television. The most recent example of the breed in mainstream film would be when a Tervuren was featured briefly in the Disney children's adventure thriller, Special Agent Cody Banks 2. Sadly, it was something of a throwaway joke, with the poor dog merely being subjected to the villain's nefarious mind control scheme for cheap slapstick humor and quickly forgotten about as the film progressed. Not the best gig an actor could hope for, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

The most well known Tervuren television actor would have to be Kyte, a female who, in a twist on the Shakespearean tradition of casting men as female characters, played a male dog named Wellard on the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Kyte made her first appearance in a touching 1994 episode wherein Wellard had been adopted by one of the lead characters after running away from his abusive former owner. Wellard recently had the distinguished honor of being featured in a short film by clay and computer cartoon company, Aardman Animations (most well known for the Wallace and Grommit shorts and the cult children's film Chicken Run). The short was a humorous film put together to help raise funds for the charitable organization Comic Relief. Wellard was seen in the film trying to raise money for the organization's cause of feeding the citizens of Ethiopa by begging for change and trying to sell his puppies. It's unclear as to whether or not Kyte lent her voice to the film or whether a skilled impressionist was hired. Regardless, the film manages to be both funny and touching, ending with poor Wellard being arrested for unauthorized soliciting, all in the name of charity.

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