Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: France
Average Size: 60-70 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 30-40 kg
Average Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High
The Beauceron is a French working dog, bred for its ability to herd farm animals such as sheep while also serving as a protector and guard dog. This breed was originally developed approximately 500 years ago in northern France and is thought to share ancestry with the Briard, a long-haired breed with similar herding and guarding talents. It played an active role in the development of the Pinscher breeds.
Though they have played an integral role on farms for hundreds of years, the Beauceron did not gain national or worldwide attention until the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was used in search and rescue and messenger work in World War I and World War II. It is presently considered rare outside France.
This solid, muscular breed has a short, sleek coat that lies close to the body. Its shiny coat is predominantly black, though spots of tan are common on the chest, legs, mouth and eyebrows. Occasional brushing and bathing are all that is required when grooming this breed.
The Beauceron has a thick head and a long muzzle. Its eyes are small and dark, always portraying an alert expression. The ears of this breed naturally fold and are set high on the dog’s head, though they may be cropped and erect in parts of the country where this is permitted. Its tail is long and thick, hanging low but often seen with a slight upward curve.
This is a medium-sized breed with a long body. Males have a distinctly masculine appearance. It averages 60-70 cm in height and 30-40 kg in weight.
Like most guard dogs, the Beauceron is initially skeptical of strangers. They are brave and loyal and consider it their duty to protect their family from harm. Towards those it loves, this breed is docile and affectionate and it adores being considered a member of the family. With proper socialisation, this breed can live with other dogs and cats without viewing them as animals to be herded or animals towards which it should behave aggressively.
The Beauceron is highly active and its herding instincts are strong. If this breed is not used on a farm, there should be a suitable substitute, such as guarding or competition in herding or agility exercises. A large, open piece of land is preferred by this dog, though it will be happy with less space if it receives ample exercise.
This is an intelligent breed that does not reach maturity until it is several years old. This is important for an owner to recognise so that expectations and training can be adjusted as necessary. It is an eager learner and loves to please its owner. It will be a wonderful companion under the right tutelage. They are likely to be willful and pushy without a firm leader.
Because the Beauceron is a rare breed, it is free of many genetic illnesses that plague more popular breeds. It is a strong and hardy animal that may experience gastric torsion or hip dysplasia, though it is otherwise very healthy.
The Beauceron lives to be an average of 10-12 years of age.