Of France’s many pastoral dog breeds, the quiet and confident Beauceron remains exotic and rare in the UK. Perhaps our very own sheepdogs are already so well-known that the Beauceron hasn’t been widely noticed outside of its native France yet, but that’s all the more reason to own such a wonderful puppy breed. Beaucerons blend the best qualities of being bred as a working dog as well as a household family companion. While many pastoral breeds are inclined to herd sheep and cattle in wide-open fields or have become more accustomed to living in the home, Beaucerons remain a well-balanced breed suitable for active, healthy lifestyles.
Some highlights of Beaucerons:
Rarity: owning a Beauceron puppy is something to be proud of since they are quite rare in the UK and are amongst the least popular breeds, making them an exotic sight.
Intelligent: Beaucerons are very intelligent and are capable of understanding more complex commands and carrying out various tasks.
Sensitive: this breed is sensitive and affectionate with owners and their families.
Shedding: Beaucerons don’t shed too much and they tend to shed evenly throughout the year, which makes routine cleaning a little easier.
Child-friendly: this breed is known to get along well with children of all ages.
Some downsides to the Beauceron:
Trainability: this breed requires a lot of training in order to remain obedient and well-behaved. This training needs to be persistent from puppyhood well into adulthood.
Prey drive: much like with other pastoral breeds, Beaucerons have a high prey drive and are prone to chasing anything they see passing by.
Sensitive: although Beaucerons are affectionate, they’re also highly sensitive to punishment and may react with disobedience.
Exercise needs: this breed requires plenty of exercise in order to remain stimulated and to stave off boredom.
Sheepdogs were widely used in the north of France in the Mediaeval period and elsewhere. In the late 16th century, records from Beauce indicate the existence of the Beauceron as a general-purpose pastoral breed. Most sheepdogs from this period were not typically mixed and as such the Beauceron is a more pure breed. Also referred to as the Berger de Beauce and Bas Rouge, the Beauceron was widely used in Northern France due to its excellent ability to guard and herd flocks of sheep and cattle on the wide-open plains typical to this region. As with many hardworking breeds from continental Europe, the First and Second World Wars took a huge toll on the Beauceron population since they were widely used by the French military. Owing to their high intelligence and ability to be trained and perform tasks well, they frequently assisted the French military by relaying messages to and from the trenches, detecting landmines, and guarding defensive positions. Since that time, breeding programmes in France endeavoured to multiply the Beauceron’s numbers. Known by French novelists as a “country gentleman,” the Beauceron only arrived in the UK near the end of the 20th century and still remains a relatively rare breed in Britain.
Another name for the Beauceron is Bas Rouge (lit. Red Stockings), which comes from their signature reddish-tan markings from their paws to nearly halfway up their legs. Their typical black and tan colours resemble that of the Dobermann Pinscher, which itself was bred from the Beauceron. Beaucerons are large, solid, and robust-looking with a strong, muscular physique. They were bred to be pastoral dogs and certainly look the part. To assist them with herding cattle and sheep, the Beauceron has dewclaws on its hind legs that are immediately noticeable.
Beaucerons are large-sized dogs. Males grow on average to 66-71 cm in height, whilst females can grow up to 64-66 cm high.
Fully-grown adult male and female Beaucerons weigh between 32-50 kg on average.
This breed has the following commonly-accepted coat colours:
Black and Tan;
Harlequin (Grey and Black patches).
Beaucerons are known for being kind, loyal, and gentle whilst also giving an impression of confidence, self-assuredness, and fearlessness. They do, however, have a strong temperament that may be desirable by many prospective owners but may also be problematic if not properly accounted for. The Beauceron’s temperament can change drastically depending on how well and how frequently it’s trained. This matters most in puppyhood when Beauceron puppies require a strong sense of authority and frequent, persistent training that doesn’t bore them or tire them. In this regard, Beaucerons are able to become loyal and obedient companions provided that they’re well-raised. Poor training, including prolonged sessions, may lead the Beauceron to become stubborn and uninterested. As puppies, they require far more training in short sessions that can stimulate their high energy levels.
Beaucerons are naturally excellent guard dogs, but they also make superb watchdogs.
This breed barks to alert its owner of suspicious activity and may bark around strangers until they’ve become accustomed to, but if they’re well trained they won’t bark compulsively.
Due to their high intelligence, Beaucerons can be trained to become obedient and to carry out many tasks. Training them isn’t easy by any means, however. They require frequent, short sessions of training well into adulthood and require more persistence than most other breeds.
Beauceron puppies are playful for their first few years, but quickly become more serious as adults.
This breed is known to get along well with owners’ families, but they may bark or chase around children they haven’t been introduced to.
Beaucerons tend to be territorial around other dogs and will need to be introduced gradually to keep their behaviour in check. They also have a high prey drive and may chase around cats or other small pets in the home.
Beaucerons can tolerate being left alone for moderate amounts of time but will not tolerate periods of extended isolation.
This breed tends to enjoy swimming and may jump in at the first opportunity, but they should always be introduced to water on their own terms to prevent traumatising them.
Generally, Beaucerons are expected to live anywhere from 10-14 years.
Beaucerons have very high exercise requirements and require plenty of regular exercise in order to remain stimulated. Budget no less than two hours a day of outdoor activity with Beaucerons, including a brisk morning walk or jog and an extended play session in the evening.
This breed is prone to a few common health issues, including:
Progressive retinal atrophy;
Von Willebrand’s disease;
As a pastoral breed at its core, Beaucerons need to live in a large, rural home where plenty of space is available for them to exercise. They do not fare well in small homes or apartments.
A fully-grown Beauceron should be fed 6 to 8 cups of high-quality dog food every day, divided into two meals. Puppies should be fed a little less than this, divided into 3-4 meals per day. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding.
On the grooming front, Beaucerons are fairly easy to maintain. Their short coats of fur should be brushed at least once per week, particularly after playing outdoors or after being in the water.
Since their coat of fur is short and dense, Beaucerons don’t shed too much. They tend to shed a fairly even amount throughout the year, however, which makes routine cleaning an effective means of controlling the shedding.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £600 and up for a well-bred Beauceron puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £110-160 per month
You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your Beauceron puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Beauceron puppy buying advice:
This breed is quite rare in the UK, and as such long waiting times are necessary to acquire one. On account of their rarity, they may command high prices, particularly for well-bred puppies. Be prepared to pay a little more for a puppy that’s been bred according to Kennel Club standards in ethical conditions.
Beaucerons have a strong temperament that make it an ideal puppy choice for some owners but a poor choice for others. If you aren’t prepared to put in the effort to train it properly and consistently, the puppy can become disobedient. Only purchase a Beauceron if you are able to meet its high requirements.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: Dog Rescue Carcassonne: https://dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk/beauceron-day/ Beauceron Club UK: https://beauceronclubuk.org/ Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=5110 UK Dog Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet Federation Cynologique Internationale: https://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/044g01-en.pdf