The Beauceron is a large, solid breed of dog classified under the Pastoral group of the Kennel Club and is the largest among the French sheepdogs. It is a cattle dog, a sheep dog, a guard dog and protection dog all rolled in one. The breed is mostly black and tan with rich markings above the eyes, on the side of the muzzle to the cheeks, spots on the front of the chest, a mark on the throat, under the tail and from the hock to the pastern. There are also grey with black patches evenly distributed throughout the body with the black dominating the colour. This dog has a slight furrow in between the dark and oval eyes. It has dropped ears but not dropped close to the head, powerful jaws with complete scissor bite teeth and a muscular neck to support the slightly rounded head. It has well-defined withers with a brisket that reaches the elbow as well as a deep and wide chest. The body spots a firm and level back and very well-muscled hindquarters. The tail of the Beauceron is carried low and hanging straight which reaches up to the hock ending with a loose hook at the tip. This breed has a short (approx. 3-4cm), coarse outer coat that lay close to the body and a fine, soft, dense undercoat. This large breed stands between 65-70 cm (male) or 63-69 cm (female) and can weigh up to 50 kilograms.
The Beauceron or Berger de Beauce (shepherd of the Beauce) is a versatile dog which was originally developed to herd sheep and cattle as well as provide protection to the livestock and property against wolves and strangers. The breed originated in France and has a long history. It is regarded as one of the old breeds that played a role in the development of the Doberman Pinscher. The earliest known mention of a dog similar to the Beauceron was in a manuscript written in 1578. It was officially recognized as a breed and registered in the Livres Origines Francais in September 1893. During the two World Wars, the Beauceron was used by the French army in sending messages through the frontlines as well as a supply dog, land mine detection and search and rescue dog. The breed has grown in popularity since the 1960s but it wasn’t until recently that the Beauceron made headway outside of its native country where it is utilized as an army and as a police dog.
The Beauceron is highly intelligent, obedient, and a brave working dog. It is quick to understand and follow commands that is why it excels in police work. As a natural guard dog, the Beauceron will protect its owner, the family and the property tirelessly and without hesitation but it will never display any aggression without getting cue from its master. It will do well inside the house but it will likewise have no problem sleeping outside in a kennel and will gladly do so to perform its duty as a guardian of the house. Its weatherproof coat helps protect the dog in any weather condition. It is a slowly-maturing dog, typically not reaching full adulthood until the age of three years.
The Beauceron is a highly trainable breed because it is very intelligent, loyal, and loves pleasing its owner. It excels in herding and police works and can easily understand and obey commands. Being a natural guard dog, it should be socialised early on in its life if it is to be kept solely as a pet, in order to minimize or combat aggressive tendencies. It can compete successfully in canine competitions such as dog agility trials, obedience, flyball, Schutzhund, tracking, and herding events. If a Beauceron pet exhibits strong herding instincts, it can compete in herding trials effectively.
The Beauceron is a large breed but its size doesn’t mean it requires a lot of time when it comes to grooming. This breed is in fact, a low maintenance dog. It has a short coat that does not require fancy trimming or stripping. It will only need occasional bathing once every few months or when it gets dirty from playing outside. It is a light shedder but can be managed through weekly brushing to remove dead hairs. Clean the ears regularly to prevent ear infection.
It is a generally healthy breed with minor health issues. Hip dysplasia is a common concern as is with any other breed similar to its size. Elbow dysplasia also affects the breed as well as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) and panosteitis which are all bone-related health issues. Eye problems include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataract. Other health concerns include hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease and cancer. Although these health problems affect the Beauceron, it doesn’t mean that your dog will have all or any of these so make sure to have your puppy tested before bringing him/her home.
This large, healthy and active breed needs a lot of physical and mental exercise in order to stay strong, healthy and active. An hour or two of active play, running, long walks or jogs on a daily basis will keep an adult Beauceron happy. Too little exercise can lead to a dog with potential negative behaviours. Puppies should be exposed up to ten minutes per day of play-exercise training.
It is generally good with children especially if it is socialised early with the family members. If a Beauceron grew up with the children it will know its place down the pack. However, this breed grows quickly and can reach up to 18 kilos in just three months so it is not generally recommended to be left alone playing with small children. It will do well with other pets provided that it is socialised and trained to be with them during puppyhood. An adult Beauceron is protective and may display its herding behaviour with other pets so it is advisable to always supervise this dog whenever it is with other animals, especially unfamiliar ones.