The formidable Beauceron was bred for the stamina and smarts to herd and guard 300 head of sheep in France. Powerful and energetic, Beaucerons have a glossy black coat with deep mahogany markings. It's important this breed has a job to keep them busy, and an assertive dog owner with experience training vibrant, strong-willed dogs. Beaucerons will anoint themselves as pack leader if they see an opening. But the breed is obedient and learns fast when their trainers are firm, consistent, and treat them with respect. Beaucerons are wary of strange people and dogs, and are highly protective of flock and family. Though intimidating in public, Beaucerons are sensitive, playful, and gentle when relaxing with their people.
The Beauceron is also called French Shorthaired Shepherd, Berger de Beauce, Beauce Shepherd, and Bas Rouge.
Beaucerons have a double coat with a coarse, dense outer coat between 1¼ and 1½ inches long. The short, downy undercoat is not visible through the flat outer coat, which lays close to the body. The coat has a rich sheen. The colors are black and tan, and harlequin (gray, black, and tan). The black is deep and solid, covering most of the body. The tan markings are squirrel red, and present as two spots above the eyes, two spots on the cheeks, two spots on the chest, the lower part of the muzzle, beneath the chin, and on the lower third of the legs. Harlequins have a black and tan base with blue-gray patches over the entire body.
Average Height: 24-27.5 inches
Average Weight: 70-110 pounds
Breed Standard & History
Beaucerons are substantial dogs who are athletic and muscular, and show no indication of clumsiness. Their medium frames are well balanced. The breed's gait is powerful, with the effortless movements needed to circle the herd and cover great distances every day. The Beauceron carries his head with pride on a muscular neck, and surveys his territory with a frank, watchful, and self-assured expression. When in motion, the head drops to the level of the back, as in most herding dogs. The Beauceron's slightly oval eyes are dark brown. Beaucerons are courageous and observant, but never aggressive unless given just cause.
Beaucerons developed in France during the Middle Ages to help farmers protect and herd their vast flocks of sheep and livestock. They draw their name from La Beauce, the vast agricultural plains between the Seine and the Loire Rivers. Beaucerons are closely related to the Briard and indeed were considered the same dog until they were separated in 1896 to distinguish the long-haired from the short-haired variety of the breed—Beaucerons are short coated while Briards sport long coats. The powerful Beauceron works far back from the flock and is known as a gentle herder who doesn't scare livestock. The courageous and intelligent breed was enlisted for military and police work in World War I and has continued in those capacities. The American Kennel Club recognized the Beauceron in 2007.
AKC Breed Category
Though intimidating, Beaucerons are known as sensitive companions who pick up on the moods of their owners. Beaucerons are bold, energetic, and playful with their favorite people. They are devoted to their families, but standoffish with strangers until they size them up as friend rather than foe.
Are Beaucerons Good with Kids? While devoted to the kids of their family, Beaucerons are likely to herd them and won't tolerate mistreatment. They are also very large and may unintentionally knock over small children. The breed is best suited to families with teens who are experienced dog handlers.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Beaucerons Good with Other Pets? Beaucerons shouldn't live with other pets. They are too dominant to cohabitate peaceably with other dogs and may view cats and other small animals as prey.
Beaucerons are highly protective of their flocks, whether they are sheep or people.
Are Beaucerons Good Guard Dogs? Beaucerons are excellent watchdogs and guard dogs. They will bark ferociously when strangers approach their territory. Intimidating both in appearance and action, Beaucerons will put themselves between their owners and danger without hesitation.
Beaucerons are one of the most energetic dog breeds and require owners who can take them out for hours of vigorous exercise every day. With enough exercise, however, they will happily rest in their dog bed at the end of each day.
Though a hardy breed, Beaucerons should live indoors with their families. This dog gets bored when left alone and will find a way out of the yard in search of adventure—which is unsafe for himself and others. Beaucerons do best when they have access to a large yard or acres of property where they can play, run, herd, and train under their owner's watchful eye.
Beaucerons should be outdoors for most of the day with their owners. This breed flourishes when they are working hard, whether they are running for miles, learning a new agility skill, or herding sheep.
A healthy, adult Beauceron requires two to three hours of vigorous physical activity each day, in addition to training and walks. It's important they have active owners with the time and energy to take them running, biking, or hiking for miles.
Beaucerons have the stamina to herd through long days and across distances of up to 50 miles.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: Healthy, adult Beaucerons can run with you at a steady pace for five miles and more.
- Hiking Miles: Beaucerons are good company for full-day hikes. You'll be more tired than your Beauceron when you get back to the trailhead.
The dietary needs of Beaucerons vary based upon their activity level and age. The quantity of food will differ between Beaucerons who exercise for full days most of the time, and those who exercise only a few hours each day. Talk with your veterinarian about the best type and quantity of food for your Beauceron.
Beaucerons get bored easily and become destructive when left alone for too long. Additionally, time alone means they are not getting the exercise they need. If you must leave your dog at home alone for hours at a stretch, choose a different breed.
Health and Grooming
Beaucerons have an easy-care coat that needs brushing once a week, and requires bathing only every two months, or as needed. Wash your Beauceron's ears weekly with a gentle, dog-friendly cleanser to prevent dirt buildup that can lead to infections, and brush his teeth several times a week. Trim his nails every month or so to prevent painful cracking.
Common Health Issues
Beaucerons are generally healthy dogs but may develop some breed-specific health conditions, including:
- Hip dysplasia
- Gastric torsion
You can minimize serious health concerns in your Beauceron by purchasing your dog from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
Beaucerons are self-confident and strong-willed; expect pushback from them during training. They are smart and learn quickly when they have confident trainers who take a firm, consistent, and fair approach.
Beaucerons benefit from advanced obedience training that supports good behavior, as well as dog sports that keep them active. If they don't have a flock of sheep to herd, they can show off their natural herding skills playing Treibball, a dog sport in which they 'herd' large balls.
Sporting Dog Training
Beaucerons are herding dogs who are not known for their hunting skills.
No. The Beauceron's short coat sheds throughout the year and, as a result, distributes pet dander in your home. Dander is the primary cause of pet-related allergies.
Some Beaucerons like swimming, while others prefer to stay on dry land. When it comes to the water, follow your Beauceron's lead and never force the issue. If your dog enjoys swimming, playing fetch in the pool or a lake is a great way to give them exercise on a hot day. Always watch your dog closely in or near the water.