History of the Beauceron and Breed Characteristics
The Beauceron, a very recent import into the UK is from the region of La Beauce, around Paris where he has been used as a shepherding dog since the 1500s. He is also known as the Berger de Beauce and Bas Rouge or Red Stockings, a reference to his tan legs. The Beauceron has been used for herding and guarding cattle and sheep, though latterly has been used for a wide range of work and is popular with the police in France for his quick intelligence and absolute fearlessness. During the two World Wars he was used by the military for mine detection, tracking and to take messages.
He shares a common ancestry with the long coated Briard, both having very similar body shape and double dew claws.
The Beauceron an extremely strong-willed dog, tending towards dominance and anyone choosing to acquire a puppy would need to work hard to ensure he knows his place in the family pack. They tend to be quite boisterous and rather clumsy until about 2 years old and so are not suitable for a family with young children, though older children are fine. The Beauceron grows to about 70cm and are solidly built, so a bouncy and energetic young adult is quite a handful. They are protective of their family and need exposure to strangers to learn to differentiate between friendly visitors and those people who he should defend the household against.
As a working breed with an active brain The Beauceron needs physical and mental stimulus; he will not be content to lie around the house all day and will react badly to being left alone for any length of time. The Beauceron is probably not a good choice for a first time owner as he needs an owner who can handle him firmly and consistently or he may make a bid to be pack leader.
Coat Care and Colouring
The Beauceron coat is very easy to manage; it is usually black and tan but is also seen in a harlequin pattern where the base colour is grey with black and rust patches, though retaining the red stockings. The texture is rough and coarse with a fine, soft undercoat and can easily be kept looking smart with a slicker brush to remove dead coat. When, towards the end of the 19thC the Beauceron was recognised formally as a breed in France he was grouped together with the Berger de Brie (Briard) as short haired and long haired Shepherd Dogs, and it was some years before they were separated into breed classes. Certainly there are some similarities; they both carry their tails in the same way and have double dew-claws on the hind legs, but the Briard, although needing firm handling, is an easier dog to manage. Click here to read the Beauceron Breed Standard.
Rescue and Rehoming
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.