About the Breed
The Beauceron is an entirely French developed breed that is a mixture of various herding breeds native to France. There were no outside foreign breeds involved in his development.
He was bred to be a superior right-hand man for the shepherd. While not an active herding or round up style dog, he acts as a living fence to maintain where the flock is. He keeps them safe and enclosed in an area. The shepherd could count on as few as 2 or 3 dogs to maintain 200-300 sheep at a time!
His natural guardian abilities have also made him useful to military and police forces. The breed served in both World Wars, and he is known as a very versatile dog capable of protection work, high obedience, scent detection, and more.
The Beauceron is a large, powerful breed of dog that commands attention when entering a room. He weighs on average 70-110 pounds and stands 25-28 inches tall with males being larger than females. He is a muscular dog that should be evenly balanced and not heavy in appearance but capable of long, strenuous work.
He is a no frills breed and is very natural. His classic coloration that is most recognizable is black and tan, but he also comes in harlequin (gray, black, and tan). Harlequin colored dogs are black and tan but have bluish gray patches that overlay the black and tan base coat.
His ears are seen most commonly as cropped (similar to Doberman Pinscher ears) in the United States, but since cropping is no longer allowed outside the States, his ears in the natural state flop downward.
Also interesting to note, the Beauceron has large, prominent rear dewclaws on each hind leg. It is a disqualification to not have these dewclaws.
The Beauceron is not for everyone. He is most desirable for those people looking for an intelligent, stable, natural guardian, but with those traits come the responsibility of lots of training. He very naturally is protective of his home and family when warranted, but he shouldn’t be shy or aggressive.
These are active dogs that require being a part of the family and plenty of daily exercise and activity. His breed was developed to have the stamina to herd and move with a flock for up to 30 or more miles a day! He is also slow to mature in body and mind.
He is a good family member, very loving and highly loyal to those he knows. He enjoys being close to his people and can be considered a Velcro-like dog that will follow you from room to room. He is highly affectionate with this family and isn’t afraid to physically show it either.
Although very happy with family, he can be reserved, aloof, or distrustful with strangers.
This is not a breed for a first time dog owner. It is recommended that an experienced dog owner and handler work with this breed. He is very large and powerful, and he is a natural guardian breed. Without early and ongoing socialization and training, he may be difficult to handle or downright problematic for the inexperienced.
He excels at a variety of sports and is known for his versatility. He can do herding, obedience, agility, or a Schutzhund among other sports.
While highly trainable, he requires consistent training and leadership in his owner. Beaucerons can have strong personalities so require someone capable of balancing that. He will look to his handler for cues on how to respond around new people since he is normally aloof with strangers.
The breed also requires a good deal of exercise and stimulation. Without it, he can be difficult to handle and destructive. He needs something to do.
Shedding & Grooming
The Beauceron is doublecoated and does shed quite a bit. You are likely to find short black hairs lying everywhere. To avoid excessive shedding, weekly brushing is necessary to keep it in check.
The breed is fairly low maintenance, so just the occasional bath, regular nail trims, and toothbrushing are all that is required. Make sure when clipping nails to also clip his dewclaws.
Health & Life Expectancy
The life expectancy for an average Beauceron is 10-12 years of age. The American Beauceron Club (www.beauce.org) identifies the following as potential health issues with the breed:
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
- Osteochondrosis desiccans (OCD)
- Dilated cardiomyopathy