Introduction Of Beauceron Dog
The Beauceron, also known as the Bas Rouge, the Beauce Shepherd, the Berger de Beauce and the French Shorthaired Shepherd, is the largest of the French sheepherding dogs. It is closely related to the longhaired Briard (Berger de Brie) and has been controlling flocks of sheep and herds of cattle since at least the 16th century. The Beauceron is a muscular, deep-chested and imposing dog with a short coat and a long tail, somewhat resembling a cross between a Doberman Pinscher and a German Shepherd Dog. This is a potentially aggressive breed, always ready to attack if it deems it necessary to protect its people, property or livestock. However, if gently and consistently trained and socialized, thye Beauceron can make a loyal and trusted companion. One of the more unusual features of the breed is the required presence of double dewclaws on its rear legs. The Beauceron was only recently recognized by the American Kennel Club, becoming a member of the Herding Group in 2007.
Beauceron Dog Breed Quick Facts
Beauceron – Appearance & Grooming
Beaucerons resemble the Belgian Malinois in appearance, but are slightly larger – about the same size as a Doberman Pinscher. They are athletic and lively, with muscular bodies built for athletics. They are heavy, but move lightly and with grace. Their muzzles are long and slightly wide, they have deep expressive eyes and some have tan “eyebrows.” Their ears are cropped and sit high on the head. Beaucerons have thick tails that form a “J,” and they have double dew claws (the “extra” claw at the back of the foot) that can be removed for companion dogs or dogs who will be active outdoors but should be left in tact for show dogs. They come in either black and tan or harlequin colors, should never have white markings, and have short, thick coats that lay flat against the body.
Size and Weight
Males Beaucerons stand between 25½ to 27½ inches and females from 24 to 26½ inches at the withers. They can weigh anywhere from 65 to 85 pounds, with some weighing in even heavier. The AKC prefers the dog to be proportionate and they use this as their standard, rather than setting a preferred weight class.
Coat and Color
Beaucerons have a short, double coat. The undercoat can’t be seen through the topcoat is is short, fine, downy and is usually mousy in color. The topcoat is slightly longer than an inch, is dense, smooth and lays flat against the body. They have some feathering at the legs and tail.
They come in two color varieties: black and tan or harlequin. Black and tan Beaucerons have patches of tan above the eyes, on the bottom of the upper lip and throat, two tan spots on the breast, tan on the bottom of each leg and under the tail. Harlequin Beaucerons have patches of gray, black and tan in the same pattern as the black-and-tan variety and there should be more black than gray.
Beaucerons are very low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They have a short, no-fuss coat that doesn’t require trimming or stripping. Baths only need to be given every few months, or as needed if the dog gets dirty. They shed lightly throughout the year, which is manageable with weekly brushing. If the dog does not naturally wear his nails down, monthly clippings may be required. Additionally, regular ear cleaning and teeth cleaning promote good health.
Beauceron – History and Health
The Beauceron is an entirely French dog. A written description of a dog closely resembling a Beauceron was found in a Renaissance manuscript dating back to 1587. In 1809, a priest named Abbe Rozier published an article on French herding breeds and was the first to describe the longhaired variety as the Berger de la Brie (the Briard) and the shorthaired variety as the Berger de la Beauce (the Beauceron) – both named after regions in France. Large sheep flocks and cattle herds were common in France in the early 19th century, and the Beauceron became indispensable to the men who tended them. This breed also was used to hunt wild boar early in its development. The breed was first identified as the “Beauceron” in or around 1888. The French Societe Central Canine was founded in 1882 and registered its first Berger de Beauce in 1893.
The Beauceron reportedly made its first appearance at a French dog show in 1900, although it had been shown as a “French sheepdog” since the mid-1800s. The first specialty breed club – the Club des Amis du Beauceron – was formed in the early 1900s, with the assistance of M. Paul Megnin, an acclaimed zoologist and devout fancier of the breed. A French breed standard was quickly written. At about the same time, French sheep production began a slow but steady decline and also began to be managed differently, making canine shepherds largely unnecessary and almost obsolete for their original function. As a result, the French breed club began promoting their dogs in areas other than herding, especially for use as personal guardians and protectors. Beaucerons were used extensively during both world wars to carry messages to the front lines, detect hidden mines and other explosives and carry replacement ammunition belts to troops. The breed’s popularity spread to Holland, Belgium and Germany in the late 1900s, and to a lesser extent to the United States. The latest revisions to the French breed standard were made in 2001 – only the 6th modification made in 100 years.
Today, this lovely breed is still used as a herding dog, a personal protection dog and a police, military, tracking and search-and-rescue animal. They are increasingly popular with obedience and agility enthusiasts and also are used for handicapped assistance, skijoring and Schutzhund work. Beaucerons are exceptionally devoted to their family. They are instinctively protective and naturally distrusting of strangers. They are described in an American Kennel Club publication as being “like some people who don’t talk much but have a strong presence. They have a dimension, a depth, rarely found in other dogs. This is the Beauceron, then and now.”
The Beauceron’s average lifespan is between 10 and 12 years, which is in line with the median lifespan of most purebred dogs (10 to 13 years). They have relatively few health problems. Potential hereditary defects and disorders more commonly found in the Beauceron, but not necessarily found, are as follows:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus)
Beauceron – Temperament & Personality
Strong and confident, the Beauceron always appears to be in a serious mode of thinking. This is because he probably is. A vigilant breed, the Beauceron makes an excellent watchdog and companion for an active family or a farming family. This breed is independent, able to solve problems and highly intelligent – making them an ideal rancher’s assistant. Though serious and tough-looking on the outside, Beaucerons are gentle giants with their families and adore playing with children.
The Beauceron is not an apartment dog, nor is the breed well-suited for a family who just wants an easy-going companion. They do make excellent family companions, and even act as “nannies” for children playing outdoors, keeping a watchful eye, they are not a standard family dog. Beaucerons were originally bred to assist farmers with herding and guarding flocks, and to this day they are their happiest when active. Strolling around a neighborhood won’t satisfy this breed’s daily activity requirement. They are, however; perfect for a true “outdoorsperson” who likes to walk, hike, bike and swim. Country and farm settings with lots of room to run and flocks of animals to tend to are the best environment for this breed.
Beaucerons are a challenge to train and are not for the timid trainer or first-time dog owner. Highly intelligent, with a yen for independent thinking, this breed will take a yard if given an inch. A consistent, confident air is needed when training a Beauceron, in order to establish who is in charge. Beaucerons assume they are in charge, until proven wrong.
Once a chain of command is established Beaucerons will excel in basic obedience, and should be “graduated” into advanced training in either tricks, tracking or agility. Just as this breed needs lots of physical activity, they also need mental stimulation in order to stave off boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors.
Protective by nature, Beaucerons can be wary of strangers. Early socialization can prevent this wariness from turning to aggression. Animal aggression, however; is another story. Beaucerons can be extremely aggressive with other dogs of the same sex. Unless your Beauceron is raised alongside other pets, it is best not to try and introduce another animal into the home.
Destructive behaviors are common in this breed, though not because of separation anxiety. This dog was bred to work alongside farmers and herd animals, and if their natural desire for constant activity and exercise is not met, they will quickly channel their energy into chewing and digging.
Their herding nature can make them chasers or nippers. Families with lots of children should supervise play with a Beauceron. They aren’t likely to turn aggressive on children, especially children they know and love, but a nip on the heel from the strong jaw of a Beauceron could mean injury for a child. They will also chase after smaller animals, including smaller breeds of dogs, so families in a residential area should never allow their Beauceron off-leash unless in a securely fenced-in area.