Getting to Know You – Beauceron

If you’re looking for a large dog, who is faithful, protective, gentle, and obedient, look no further. The female Beauceron stands at 24-26.5” while the male stands at 25.5-27.5”, and weigh between 70 to 110 pounds.

Hailing from Northern France, this breed has a distinguishable feature not seen in many breeds, double dewclaws on their hind legs. The Beauceron is an ancient breed and has been known for centuries in western Europe. While the first written mention of a dog matching the Beauceron’s description was found in a 1587 manuscript, it was in 1893 that veterinarian Paul Megnin wrote about French herding breeds and defined the standard for the Beauceron. It wasn’t until 2008, however, that the breed made its debut at the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show. Their hard outer coat and woolly undercoat means they can easily handle cold weather. They come in black and red, or Harlequin. The once common tawny, grey or grey/black are now banned by the breed standard. The Harlequin coat should be more black than grey, with no white markings. Their ears are still cropped in the United States, but no longer in Europe where ear cropping is no longer permitted.

Beaucerons are versatile dogs used to guard and herd cattle. They were also used in both world wars as supply transport dogs, search and rescue dogs, land mine detection dogs, police dogs, and messengers. Their good work ethic and athleticism also makes them competitive in performance sports such as agility, competitive obedience, rally, flyball, tracking and, of course, herding. They are highly intelligent, fearless, kind, proud, reliable, tough yet gentle, suspicious of strangers, and highly devoted to its owner. While they may sound like the perfect breed and are indeed perfect for some people, one must keep in mind that this is an active working dog. They have exceptional endurance and will not be happy sitting at home all day looking out the living room window. These dogs need a job, along with a lot of socializing and training. They take well to training but are not a good breed for an inexperienced dog owner. They have strong personalities to accompany their strong bodies, which can cause a lot of destruction when bored. Their high energy requires a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation.

The Beauceron is a relatively long-lived breed for its large size, with an average life span of 10 to 12 years. As in all breeds, there are health issues that you must be aware of before adding one to your family. Among the most prevalent health issues according to the American Beauceron Club are hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy (heart disease that causes it to malfunction), eye problems, allergies, gastric dilation and bloat, and osteochondrosis dissecans (a degenerative joint disease).

Beaucerons have been described as “the country gentleman” by the French writer Colette who also called them “affectionate, playful, superb with children, absolutely and deeply attached to their masters. But at the same time, there is something mysterious about a Beauceron. They are like some people who don’t talk much but have a strong presence. They have a dimension, a depth, I have not found in other dogs.” For more information on this noble breed and to find a breeder, go to the American Beauceron Club.