Breed: Beauceron | Size: Large | Average lifespan: 10+ years | Character: Intelligent, loyal, and protective | Coat: Short | Origin: France.
The Beauceron is a short-haired herding dog that is also known as the Berger de Beauce and the Bas Rouge.
The origins of the Beauceron
From guard dog to herding dog
The ancestor of the Beauceron was originally an excellent guard dog that would aid in keeping thieves and stray dogs away from the sheep and cows. However, their role developed as early as the Middle Ages and continued throughout the Renaissance period. The Beauceron became a herding dog, capable of both guarding herds and leading them to pastures. This dog fully filled the role of the typical herding dog.
With that being said, it was not until a few centuries later that the breed that we known of today got the name “Beauceron” and the standard was established.
The Beauceron and the end of pastoralism
In fact, it was not until 1893 that the vet, Pierre Mégnin, named this rustic dog “Berger de Beauce” and described it as the breed is described today. The geographical precision of the name has nothing to do with the region where this breed originated. The term “Beauce” only allows the breed to be differentiated from the “Berger de Brie”, which contrary to the Beauceron, has a long coat.
During the 20th century, pastoralism declined and the role of the Beauceron dwindled. The role of this dog breed among humans therefore transformed. The breed became a guard dog and a companion dog. Their large size and powerful qualities made them major players as war dogs during the First and Second World Wars.
The character of the Beauceron
The Beauceron is a strong-willed, determined, and sociable dog. In addition, this dog is remarkably intelligent.
The qualities of the Beauceron
This large dog looks deterrent, which makes them the perfect guardian for the household or for livestock. In addition, their origins push them to be animals that do not hesitate to react quickly if necessary. With that being said, these dogs are polyvalent, sociable, and affectionate.
This dog loves to be around people, while they are still quite tolerant of solitude. Because they are athletic dogs, they appreciate activities out in the open air and need to unwind daily. They are also very intelligent and have lost none of their abilities when it comes to leading and protecting herds.
Are there any downsides to having a Beauceron?
The Beauceron is often strongheaded and needs to have strict and kind training as early as possible. Moreover, the Beauceron needs to unwind and go out frequently. Their owner must match their stamina because these dogs are very active companions. In addition, Beaucerons do not like to be left alone for too long or to live in an apartment. Another downside is that this breed barks a lot, which can annoy neighbors in urban areas.
The physical characteristics of the Beauceron
The Beauceron has a well-defined head with fine traits and a short coat. Their skull is flat or slightly rounded. The eyes of this breed are oval, dark brown, or vairons (for harlequin Beaucerons only). They always have a brown patch above each eye. As for this dog’s ears, they are held high and are short, semi-erect or floppy, but never flat against their cheeks.
The body of this large dog is shaped like a rectangle. Beaucerons have high, long chests and muscular, medium-length necks. The back is straight, the loins short and the croup slightly sloping. This breed has a long tail, held low and in the form of a J. Their tail lifts proudly when they move around. The withers of this breed are well defined giving it a slightly stooped appearance. Their hind paws have dewclaws that are more or less large.
Coat, color, and grooming
This breed has a short coat (between 3 and 4 cm) that is firm and lies flat on the body. The fur on the head is also short.
The Beauceron can have two different coats:
- The Beauceron “Bas Rouge” has a black coat all over the body. The bottom of the muzzle, throat, the stomach, and the paws are tan.
- The harlequin Beauceron has a black and gray coat all over the body. The bottom of the muzzle, the throat, the stomach, and the paws are tan.
Grooming and caring for a Beauceron
As this breed is very rustic, they do not need a lot of grooming. Brushing this dog once or twice a week is sufficient. However, after a walk in the forest, it is important to verify that this dog has not gotten any parasites (fleas or ticks). If this is the case, they need to be taken off quickly. This dog molts in the spring and the beginning of winter. Therefore, their owners should brush them more frequently during these periods to get rid of dead hair progressively.
Did you know?
The French woman of letters, Colette, had a Beauceron that she affectionately nicknamed “country gentleman”, translating perfectly the character of this companion dog. Moreover, the breed’s size has increased steadily over the 20th century. The Beauceron’s standard has increased by around 5 kg (≈ 11 lb) between 1920 and today.
The Beauceron at a glance
Size: between 65 and 70 cm at the withers for males, between 61 and 68 cm at the withers for females.
Weight: between 35 and 45 kg (≈ between 77 and 99 lb) for males, between 25 and 35 kg (≈ 55 and 77 lb) for females.
Health: The Beauceron is a robust animal with strong health. Genetic disorders remain rare in this breed.
Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years.
Is this breed good with children? The Beauceron is sometimes rough, not always knowing how to express their affection delicately towards children. However, if they grew up with a family, they will know how to adapt with young children and play with them.
Is the Beauceron easy to train? Firm training is necessary to channel the energy of this dog to and to make them the perfect companion.