Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners
The Beauceron is a large sheepdog with a commanding presence. They get their name from the La Beauce region surrounding Paris, France. This breed is also known as berger de Beauce (shepherd of Beauce) and bas rouge (red stockings).
Well-muscled and strongly built, the Beauceron is not bulky in any way, but instead presents a balanced and proportioned appearance. This type of dog carries its head proudly, and its tail is carried down forming a “J” except as it runs, when the tail is almost straight out from the dog’s body. This breed’s most distinctive feature is its hind double dewclaws, forming a couple of independent “thumbs” on the rear legs. They are often mcan betaken for a mixed breed of Rottweiler and German shepherd parentage.
HEIGHT: 24 to 27.5 inches
WEIGHT: 70 to 110 pounds
COAT: Short, coarse, and dense coat no more than 1.5 inches in length
COAT COLOR: Two color combinations of black and tan and harlequin (a mix of gray, black, and tan)
LIFE SPAN: 10 to 12 years
TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, friendly, fearless, calm, protective
Characteristics of the Beauceron
|Friendliness||Low to Medium|
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||Medium to High|
History of the Beauceron
Developed solely in France, the Beauceron is the largest French sheepdog, and possibly one of the oldest as well, with mentions in historical documents dating as far back because the 1500s. The breed was found throughout France and not just in the Beauce region. The double declaws on the hind leg suggest the breed came from the same ancestors as the long-haired Briard sheepdog.
The Beauceron has long served farms in France herding sheep and cattle. During the world wars, Beaucerons were used by the French army, especially as messengers due to their ability to follow commands. They also were used in mine detection and tracking. This breed continues to be used as police dogs and in search and rescue.
The Beauceron was virtually unknown outside of France until World War II. The French Ministry of Agriculture asked the Society Central Canine to write a confirmation examination in the 1960s to ensure the qualities of the breed were preserved. There was a concern that with modernization, the breed would die out or be diluted. In short, you agree to acquire a shadow along with all the other responsibilities of a dog.
The Beauceron is watchful, loyal, energetic, and protective. Having one is like having a shadow follow you around all day. The dog will often stay very close at your heels and it will want to be with family on the couch or bed. Like many dogs, herding breeds can be destructive and irritating when bored. The Beauceron likes to mouth things, so have plenty of durable chew toys available.
Lots—and lots—of exercise is the key to a happy and healthy herder like a Beauceron. Experts recommend this breed needs at least two to three hours of daily vigorous exercise a day which should include walks and other activities such as running, cycling, and hiking. The Beauceron can be an ideal companion for a committed physically active owner.
The dog’s double coat needs only minimal grooming. Brush your dog regularly and give it a bath every three or four months. You will see the most shedding in the spring and fall and just a little the rest of the year. Be sure to trim your dog’s nails about once a month to keep them tidy and prevent painful splitting. Don’t forget about the hind double dewclaws. Be sure to help your dog with oral hygiene by brushing its teeth at least twice a week.
An intelligent breed, the Beauceron is often described by owners as an independent thinking dog. It is highly trainable and can put its energy to good use in dog sports and obedience competitions. This dog has a high, strong drive to work and it needs to be given a job to do in order to thrive. Socialize your dog from a young age to expose it to a variety of situations so it is not shy or aggressive.
Common Health Problems
While any dog breed can develop health problems, responsible breed of dogers take care to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs, like the American Kennel Club. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. Some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed.
The following are some conditions to be aware of:
- Hip dysplasia
- Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
- Gastric dilation and bloat
Diet and Nutrition
Allow access to fresh, clean water and feed your Beauceron a veterinary-recommended diet. The amount will vary depending on your dog’s size, age, activity level, and other factors. This breed may be prone to gastric dilation and bloat if the dog gulps its food or eats too fast. If the stomach becomes twisted, it can cut off the blood supply and result in a medical emergency.
Monitor your dog’s weight and discuss nutritional needs with your veterinarian so your dog doesn’t become overweight, as this may increase health risks and shorten lifespan. You should socialize your dog from a young age to expose it to a variety of situations.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Beauceron
Because this is a rarer variety of dogs, there are relatively few Beauceron breeders in the United States. Be patient if this is the breed you really want. The puppy closest to your home may not be the best one for you, so you may have to be willing to travel or expand your search for a breeder in other areas.
The American Beauceron Club is really a resource that features rescue dogs located across the country.
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
Before you decide whether the Beauceron may be the right dog for you, do plenty of research. Talk to other Beauceron owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to find out more.
If you’re interested in similar breeds, look into these to compare the pros and cons:
- German Shepherd
- Belgian Malinois
There’s a whole world of dog breeds out there. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.