A group of 26 veterinarians met at the 1989 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Congress in Harrogate, UK to discuss the diversity and variety of "veterinary specialists" in Europe. It was proposed that a draft document on veterinary specialisation be formulated by a working party for presentation to Federation of Veterinarians in Europe (FVE) and the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training (ACVT).

The European Association of Veterinary Specialisation (EAVS*) was founded in 1990 under Strand A the development of a European network of university-enterprise training partnerships (UETPs) of the European programme for cooperation between universities and enterprises on training in the field of technology (Comett I, adopted on 24 July 1986 in Council Decision 86/365/EEC). EAVS facilitated a number of meetings of representatives from a variety of veterinary specialist organisations. EAVS is distinct from the European School of Advanced Veterinary Studies (ESAVS), which organises continuing education courses for veterinarians, and which does not provide specialist training or specialist qualifications.

"Veterinary Specialisation in Europe", a document describing the proposed structure of the organisation and recognition of veterinary specialist training in Europe was discussed with ACVT and FVE between February 1990 and March 1991 . During the same period, a liaison committee, made up of two representatives of the European Societies of Veterinary Dermatology (ESVD), Veterinary Internal Medicine (ESVIM) and Veterinary Ophthalmology (ESVO), European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging (EAVDI) and the European College of Veterinary Surgery (ECVS), was formed. This committee developed a harmonised approach to transnational specialisation in Europe and a broadly similar concept Constitutions and By-laws for the formation of specialist Colleges within these disciplines and interim regulations for the recognition, education and training of specialists. In addition, in conjunction with the ACVT, the clear distinction between interest or expertise in a particular subject and a veterinary specialist qualification was defined. Agreement was reached that a veterinary specialist qualification could only be based upon substantial and measurable additional education and training.

The Liaison Committee’s "Report and Recommendations for the Transnational Organisation of Veterinary Specialisation", which laid down the structure for the organisation of veterinary specialisation in Europe, was adopted unanimously by the ACVT in February 1992. A symposium on Veterinary Specialisation in Europe was organised with the help of the EAVS in Luxembourg in May 1993. At this meeting, the Liaison Committee became the interim Board of Veterinary Specialisation (BVS), set up to coordinate veterinary specialisation in Europe. This provided the European veterinary specialist Colleges that were being formed with their own independent governing body in order to enable further development of these Colleges, since founding diplomates were being appointed and qualifying examinations were starting to be held.