The Beauceron is a rugged, muscular dog with a softer side. In addition to its reputation as a skilled working dog, the breed is also known for being sensitive, gentle, and faithful companions.
Beaucerons hail from the Beauce region near Paris, where its roles ranged from soldier and drover to rescuer and companion. The breed is well established in France, with documented mentions dating back to the 1500s even though the Club des Amis Du Beauceron, the French breed club, was not founded until 1922.
The French shepherd dogs were also known as Berger de Beauce or Bas Rouge. On the home front, Beaucerons herded sheep and guarded livestock, using their calm demeanor and stamina to complete their tasks. During World Wars I and II, these dogs were also on the frontlines, hauling messages and equipment, tracking soldiers, and helping find the wounded. Beaucerons have also been used as military and police detection dogs.
The Beauceron is a solid, muscular dog with harmonious proportions and no signs of bulkiness.
These are alert, energetic dogs with noble carriage.
Beaucerons have short, fine, dense, and downy undercoats that are light grey in color. Their outer coats are short, dense, coarse, and lie close to their bodies. The hair is short and smooth on the head, ears, and lower legs, while longer around the neck; their tails and backs of their thighs have a light fringe.
Beaucerons come in two colors: harlequin or black and tan. On black and tan Beaucerons, the tan markings should be squirrel-red and include dots above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle, and the cheeks; two spots on the chest are preferred to a breastplate. On the legs, the markings should extend from the feet to the pasterns, progressively lessening, and never covering more than one-third of the leg.
Harlequin Beaucerons have a black and tan base with a pattern of blue-grey patches distributed evenly over their bodies. Black might be the predominant color. Disqualifiers for show include too much gray, black on one side of the body and gray on the other, or a fully gray head.
Beaucerons are powerful dogs with strong, straight backs; well-defined withers; broad, short, muscular loins; and wide, deep chests. Their tails are strong at the base and carried down, descending to the point of the hock and forming a slight “J” but never falling to the right or left.
Beaucerons have high-set ears that may be cropped or natural, and eyes that are horizontal, slightly oval in shape, and dark brown (walleye is acceptable in harlequin-colored dogs); the expression is frank, alert, and confident.
Beaucerons are confident and self-assured but never mean. While these dogs might be reserved with strangers, the breed is known for being loyal, affectionate, and gentle with their families. Their innate protective instincts (and somewhat fierce appearances) make them excellent watchdogs that will warn off intruders with their bark before going back to cuddling with their owners.
These fearless and highly-spirited dogs tend to prefer wide open spaces to big cities.
Feed Beaucerons a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their life stage (puppy, adult, senior) and consider a diet formulated for active breeds. Beaucerons, like all dogs, could become overweight if they are allowed to eat as much as they want. Portioning out their food with a measuring cup and limiting treats to no more than 10% of their daily calories can help keep these dogs fit and trim.
Beaucerons have waterproof double coats that do not require much grooming. Brush them at least once per week to remove dead hair
Beaucerons benefit from a regular dental care routine that includes at-home teeth brushing and professional cleanings.
Beaucerons are working dogs that require lots of exercise. They love brisk walks and hiking. These highly intelligent dogs can also be trained to participate in dog sports such as competitive obedience, agility, carting, mushing, and skijoring (pulling a person on skis). Mental stimulation is important, too. Provide Beauceron with puzzle toys to help keep their minds engaged.
Training is a must for this breed. Beaucerons are intelligent and keen to learn new things, which makes them quick to pick up new tasks—a good thing, because these dogs need guidance to channel their boundless energy and ensure that their tendency to jump or be mouthy in play can be redirected in positive directions.
Be firm, fair, and consistent but never harsh. Beaucerons do not respond well to punitive training methods, especially harsh physical corrections.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Laura Inman, DVM