A large, athletic, working dog, the Beauceron is a wonderful pooch to bring home. Known for being easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient, this breed hails from France – it’s not very well known outside its country of origin, but within France, it is popular, especially on farms. Also known as Bas Rouge, the Beauce Shepherd, the Berger de Beauce and the French Shorthaired Shepherd, the Beauceron is famous for its sheep herding skills and its tireless work ethic.
This dog may look like a cross between a Doberman Pinscher and a German Shepherd, but we’re here to tell you that the Beauceron is a special breed all its own. This muscular and imposing dog can make a loyal and trusted companion on and off the farm. Read on to find out more about this interesting breed.
The Beauceron is famous for its sheep herding skills and its tireless work ethic.
The first mention of a Beauceron goes back to a Renaissance manuscript of 1578. It wasn’t until 1809, when a priest named Abbey Rozier wrote about this breed guarding flocks and herds. In 1863, Pierre Megnin was the first to differentiate two different types of French sheep dogs: one with a long coat, known as the Berger de Brie (Briard), and the other with a short coat, known as the Berger de Beauce (Beauceron). The Beauceron became a trusted helper to farmers as protectors of the flocks.
During both World Wars, the Beauceron was used carry messages to the front lines, detect mines and carry supplies to troops. Its popularity spread to other parts of Europe before the breed made its way to North America. It’s now used as a herding dog, a guard dog and a police, military, tracking and search-and-rescue dog.
It is difficult to determine the exact age of the Beauceron, but it is considered to be the oldest of the large French sheepherding dogs. Related to the Briard, it is thought that the Beauceron may be able to trace its roots to the Doberman line of dogs.
Food / Diet
You’ll find that the Beauceron loves to eat, but is prone to bloat. That’s why you should monitor feedings and break them down to two or three small meals a day rather than one large meal. Many Beauceron owners have found that feeding this breed a home-cooked diet with lean meat, vegetables and grains promotes an overall healthy dog.
With its high intelligence, this breed is also known as being independent.
Even though this is a highly trainable breed, the Beauceron is not the dog for first-time owners or timid trainers. With its high intelligence, this breed is also known as being independent. You should take on training responsibilities seriously, as you’ll need to be consistent and confident. If you don’t prove that you are in charge, the Beauceron will quite willingly take that position.
Once you’ve proven who is in charge, you’ll find that your Beaucerons will flourish when it comes to basic obedience. In no time at all, you can move onto more advanced training with tricks, tracking or agility lessons. Not only does this dog need lots of exercise, it also needs plenty of mental stimulation, as boredom leads to destructive behaviors.
A Beauceron will stand about 24 to 27 inches and weight anywhere between 70 to 110 pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
Wary of strangers, the Beauceron is protective of its family. Start socialization early to prevent aggressive traits from forming. As well, Beaucerons can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex. The Beauceron shouldn’t be in a home with other pets, unless it is raised alongside other pets from its puppyhood.
As we mentioned, this breed needs to be kept active or it will act out with destructive behaviors. If it is not working at something, it will be doing something else, like wreaking your furniture and digging holes in your back yard. Daily exercise, and lots of it, is a must for this dog. On the plus side, it’s a great way for you to get and stay in shape.
As a herding dog, the Beauceron can nip and bite. It will be protective to children within its own family, but it may try to herd them. This breed will also chase after smaller animals, so you shouldn’t let your dog off-leash unless you are in a securely fenced-in area.
Common Health Problems
The Beauceron has relatively few health problems, especially when you consider that is a purebred dog. The most common disorders or health issues associated with the Beauceron are hip dysplasia and bloat.
The Beauceron has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
Get ready to move – the Beauceron loves its exercise. You’ll need a lot of room for this dog, so stay away from this breed if you live in an apartment or want a dog that’s laid back. The Beauceron is not your typical family dog, but it will keep an eye out for children when playing outdoors.
Because Beaucerons were bred for herding and guarding duty, this breed needs to be active. A walk around the block just won’t do. Active owners will love this breed, as this dog can keep up with hikes, bikes, jogs, runs and swims. If you have a farm or a lot of room to roam, the Beauceron is the right dog for you.
Daily exercise, and lots of it, is a must for the Beauceron.
The American Kennel Association says this about the breed: “An old and distinct French breed of herding dog, the Beauceron is easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient. The Beauceron coat can be seen in variations of black and tan. While relatively unknown outside of France, the breed is very old within the country. And while there are many sheep herding dogs in France, the Beauceron is the preferred choice due to its tireless work ethic.” The AKC first recognized this breed in 2007.
Sporting either a black and tan or harlequin colors, the Beauceron has a short double coat that lies flat against the body. On black and tan Beaucerons, you’ll see patches of tan above the eyes, the bottom of the upper lip and throat, spots on the breast, on the bottom of each leg and under the tail. On harlequin Beaucerons, the coat features patches of gray, black and tan in the same pattern as the black-and-tan dogs, although there should be more black than gray.
Thanks to its short coat, Beaucerons don’t need much grooming. This breed sheds moderately throughout the year, so a weekly brushing is recommended. And you should give your dog a bath every few months, unless it gets dirty.
It’s always a good idea to start the socialization process for Beaucerons as early as possible, especially around new people and pets. This breed is known to be wary of strangers and animals, so by introducing your puppy to as many new people, situations and animals as you can while it is still young, it will be more open to these experiences when it gets older.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
More by Amy Tokic