The Beauceron is not a dog of extremes, but is a solid, balanced dog as befitting a true multipurpose dog ready to do a long day’s work. This breed’s body is powerful yet agile, jaws are strong, and gait is fluid, effortless, and ground covering. The head is not held high when moving, but is lowered to the level of the back, as is typical of herding dogs. The Beauceron’s outer coat is straight, dense, and coarse, of medium length; this, combined with a dense undercoat, offers weather-resistant protection. An unusual trait is the presence of double dewclaws on the hindlegs, which seem to be a French tradition for herding and flock dogs. Although they serve no function, they were perhaps at one time associated with the best herders, and are now a breed trademark.
The Beauceron is an entirely French breed, dating back as far as the late 1500s. The breed originated in the plains area surrounding Paris known as La Beauce. The largest of the French sheepdogs, the Beauceron was used as a general-purpose farm dog, driving and protecting sheep and sometimes, cattle, and protecting the family.
In 1863 two types of plains flock-herding and guarding dogs were differentiated: the long-coated Berger de Brie (Briard) and the short-coated Berger de Beauce (Beauceron). The Société Centrale Canine registered the first Berger de Beauce in 1893, and the first breed club was formed in 1922.
Well known as the preferred herding dog in France, the breed remained virtually unknown outside of France. The French army employed Beaucerons as messenger dogs on the front lines during both world wars. The breed’s uncanny ability to follow directions, follow trails, and detect mines still makes them a respected military and police dog. They also serve their families as protection dogs.
In the 1960s a concerted effort was made to preserve the qualities of native French breeds, and since that time, the Beauceron’s popularity in France and elsewhere has grown. In 1980 the Beauceron Club of America formed, and in 2001 the AKC admitted the Beauceron into the Miscellaneous class. They are making their presence felt by excelling in obedience, tracking, agility, Schutzhund, and of course, herding.Temperament
Beaucerons are intelligent and adept at any task involving learning, memory, and reasoning. They are courageous and calm, and make reliable guardians. This is an extremely loyal breed that is eager to please; however, if not properly trained, the Beauceron can run the family. Beaucerons are patient with children, but can be overwhelming to them or try to herd them. They may be wary of strangers and do not take to strange dogs. They can get along with other family pets.
This is a dog with an active mind and athletic body, and needs mental and physical exercise every day. Without adequate stimulation, the Beauceron can become bored and destructive. Don’t adopt a Beauceron unless you commit to taking time to train and provide regular exercise. Coat care is minimal, consisting of brushing once a week or so.