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  • Temperament: Gentle, Faithful, Obedient
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 140 of 192
  • Height: 25.5-27.5 inches (male), 24-26.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 70-110 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Herding Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Beauceron head facing left
Beauceron sitting in three-quarter view facing left
Beauceron coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The ideal Beauceron is a well balanced, solid dog of good height and well muscled without heaviness or coarseness. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness, exhibiting the strength, endurance and agility required of the herding dog. He is alert and energetic with a noble carriage. A formidable dog with a frank and unwavering expression, he always demands respect wherever he goes. Male dogs are characteristically larger throughout with a larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness in substance or structure. The Beauceron should be discerning and confident. He is a dog with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient.

HEAD

The head is long, well chiseled with harmonious lines without weakness. The head must be in proportion with the body, measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput it is about 40 percent of the height at the withers. The height and width of the head are each slightly less than half its total length. The skull and muzzle are of equal length. Expression – The gaze is frank, alert, and confident. Eyes – The eyes are horizontal and slightly oval in shape. The eyes must be dark brown, never lighter than dark hazel. For the Harlequin, walleye is acceptable.

BODY

Neck– The neck is muscular, of good length, united harmoniously with the shoulders, enabling the head to be carried proudly while standing in an alert posture. Topline – The back is straight and strong. The withers are well defined. The loin is broad, short and muscular. The croup is well muscled and slightly sloped in the direction of the attachment of the tail. Body – The length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock is slightly more than the height of the dog at the withers. Chest – The chest is wide, deep, long, and descends to the point of the elbow. The girth of the chest is greater than the height at the withers by more than 20 percent. Ribs – The ribcage extends well back with long, flexible, and moderately curved ribs. The abdomen is moderately drawn up but still presents good volume.

FOREQUARTERS

The construction of the forequarters is of the utmost importance, determining the dog’s ability to work and his resistance to fatigue. The legs are vertical when viewed from the front or in profile. Shoulder – The shoulders are moderately long, muscular but not loaded, with good layback. Forearm – The forearms are muscular. Feet – The feet are large, round, and compact with black nails. The pads are firm yet supple.

COAT

Outer coat is 1¼ to 1½ inches, coarse, dense and lying close to the body. It is short and smooth on the head, ears and lower legs. The hair is somewhat longer around the neck. The tail and back of thighs are lightly fringed. The undercoat is short, fine, dense and downy, mouse gray in color and does not show through the outer coat. The Beauceron is exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming. Disqualification – Shaggy coat.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation of the hindquarters is balanced with the forequarters. The hindquarters are powerful, providing flexible, almost tireless movement. They are vertical when viewed from profile and from behind. Legs – The thighs are wide and muscled. Hock joint is substantial, not too close to the ground, the point situated roughly at ¼ the height at the withers, forming a well open angle with the second thigh. Metatarsals are upright, slightly further back than the point of the buttock. When viewed from behind, metatarsals are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Feet – The feet are large, round, compact, and the rear toes turn out very slightly. Dewclaws – Double dewclaws form well separated “thumbs” with nails, placed rather close to the foot. Disqualification – Anything less than double dewclaws on each rear leg.

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beauceron illustration

About the Beauceron

Beaucerons are muscular, rugged, and large, standing as high as 27.5 inches at the shoulder, and yet graceful and in all ways balanced. Their dark black coats feature handsome squirrel-red accents, including the red feet that give the breed its French nickname Bas-Rouge (“red stockings”). They’re also seen in a black-gray-tan coat. The long head is well chiseled, and the dark brown eyes project an expression breed fanciers describe as frank and confident. They’re not for novice owners, who might end up being owned by their dominant dog instead of the other way around. That said, well-trained and socialized Beaucerons are levelheaded watchdogs and guardians, especially good with the young, the small, and the defenseless.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Beauceron

Find a Puppy: Beauceron

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Care

NUTRITION

The Beauceron should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). A working Beauceron can have high nutritional demands, so remember to assess your dog’s condition regularly to be sure his diet is meeting his needs. Conversely, some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Beauceron has a short, dense double coat; the soft undercoat is covered by a rough, waterproof outer coat. It doesn’t require a lot of grooming, but it does shed. A lot. And even more so twice a year during shedding season. Weekly brushing—daily during shedding season—with a medium-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove will remove the dead hair before it can fall onto the furniture, and it promotes new hair growth as well. As with all breeds, the Beauceron’s nails should be trimmed regularly, because overly long nails can cause the dog pain as well as problems walking and running. Don’t forget to trim the double dewclaws on the rear legs.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Frequent

EXERCISE

The Beauceron is a powerful, athletic, and intelligent breed that needs lots of physical and mental challenges. This is not a breed for novice owners. They need a variety of outdoor locations and types of exercise each day and are best suited to an experienced, active owner who can provide the mental and physical activity they need. Although the Beauceron was not bred to gather sheep as other shepherd breeds were, he can be trained to perform in herding events, as well as Schutzhund (protection work) and agility trials and activities such as carting, mushing, and skijoring (pulling a person who is on skis).

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

Socialization and  obedience training are a must for this breed. Beaucerons are highly intelligent, loyal, and strongly devoted to their owners, which makes training them fairly easy. They do not respond well to harsh training methods, particularly physical correction. Firm, fair, consistent training and handling are usually quite successful. They are known for exuberant behaviors such as jumping on people and grabbing people and things with their mouths; these behaviors will often be the focus of early training sessions.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

Any large or deep-chested dog may be susceptible to bloat, a sudden and life-threatening stomach condition. Beauceron owners should educate themselves on what symptoms to look for and what to do should it occur. Responsible breeders will screen their breeding stock health conditions such as hip dysplasia, heart disease, eye problems, and allergies. As with all breeds, a Beauceron’s ears should be checked regularly, and the teeth should be brushed often.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

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History

The Beauceron, also known as the Berger de Beauce or the Bas Rouge, is a French shepherd dog whose name is derived from the vast agricultural region southwest of Paris.
Since its development in the late Middle Ages, the Beauceron has played many roles: soldier, bodyguard, rescuer, competitor, companion, prankster, and peerless mover of livestock. Along the way, the breed has won hearts on both sides of the Atlantic, as much for its endearing personality as for its multifaceted working ability.

Beauceron and Briard are names of two groups of French shepherd dogs identified in the 19th century. A dog show held at the 1863 Universal Exposition in Paris featured dogs recognizable as Beaucerons: upright ears, black with rust markings, and a wolflike build. Unlike the modern type, they had a narrower muzzle and a rougher coat.

Leading authorities convened in 1896 to classify the French shepherd dogs. The name Beauceron was given to the shorter-coated dogs; the longer-haired one was called the Briard. In 1922, the French breed club, the Club des Amis Du Beauceron, was founded.

The Beauceron is a dog of great power but of great sensitivity too. It’s an upright breed who works wide of the herd or flock, unlike such herders as the Australian Shepherd, who works up close to his charges. The Beauceron approach to herding is quiet and calm; they can work into sheep without spooking them. This versatile and whip-smart breed also has a history of military and police K-9 work. They were especially useful in the trench warfare of World War I. The British War Museum houses a photo of a Beauceron leaping over a trench— a French dog used by Germans to penetrate the British line.

Along the way, the Beauceron was discovered by the dog-loving French public, among them Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873–1954), known to generations of adoring readers the world over as simply Colette. She wrote that her Beauceron was “one of those rare companions who remain silent at the right time, respect our work and our sleep, howl for our own tears, and close their eyes with a bitter discretion in the face of anything—the kiss of a lover, the tender hug of a child—that deprives them of our fickle human friendship.”

Did You Know?

The Beauceron is AKC’s 157th breed.
The Beauceron has been assigned the Herding Group designation.
The Beauceron has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 1998.
The Beauceron is a distinct French breed of herding dog.
The Beauceron is relatively unknown outside of France, but the breed is very old within the country and has experienced no foreign crosses.
The oldest manuscript ostensibly dating the Beauceron is circa 1578.
In 1809, the Abbey Rozier reported plain dogs destined for guarding flocks and herd. In 1863, Pierre Megnin differentiated with precision two types of these sheepdogs: one with a long coat (the Berger de Brie "Briard") and the other with a short coat (the Berger de Beauce "Beauceron").
They are used extensively on farms in France to herd sheep and in some cases cattle. Of the many sheep herding dogs in France, the Beauceron is the preferred choice.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The ideal Beauceron is a well balanced, solid dog of good height and well muscled without heaviness or coarseness. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness, exhibiting the strength, endurance and agility required of the herding dog. He is alert and energetic with a noble carriage. A formidable dog with a frank and unwavering expression, he always demands respect wherever he goes. Male dogs are characteristically larger throughout with a larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness in substance or structure. The Beauceron should be discerning and confident. He is a dog with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient.

HEAD

The head is long, well chiseled with harmonious lines without weakness. The head must be in proportion with the body, measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput it is about 40 percent of the height at the withers. The height and width of the head are each slightly less than half its total length. The skull and muzzle are of equal length. Expression – The gaze is frank, alert, and confident. Eyes – The eyes are horizontal and slightly oval in shape. The eyes must be dark brown, never lighter than dark hazel. For the Harlequin, walleye is acceptable.

BODY

Neck– The neck is muscular, of good length, united harmoniously with the shoulders, enabling the head to be carried proudly while standing in an alert posture. Topline – The back is straight and strong. The withers are well defined. The loin is broad, short and muscular. The croup is well muscled and slightly sloped in the direction of the attachment of the tail. Body – The length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock is slightly more than the height of the dog at the withers. Chest – The chest is wide, deep, long, and descends to the point of the elbow. The girth of the chest is greater than the height at the withers by more than 20 percent. Ribs – The ribcage extends well back with long, flexible, and moderately curved ribs. The abdomen is moderately drawn up but still presents good volume.

FOREQUARTERS

The construction of the forequarters is of the utmost importance, determining the dog’s ability to work and his resistance to fatigue. The legs are vertical when viewed from the front or in profile. Shoulder – The shoulders are moderately long, muscular but not loaded, with good layback. Forearm – The forearms are muscular. Feet – The feet are large, round, and compact with black nails. The pads are firm yet supple.

COAT

Outer coat is 1¼ to 1½ inches, coarse, dense and lying close to the body. It is short and smooth on the head, ears and lower legs. The hair is somewhat longer around the neck. The tail and back of thighs are lightly fringed. The undercoat is short, fine, dense and downy, mouse gray in color and does not show through the outer coat. The Beauceron is exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming. Disqualification – Shaggy coat.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation of the hindquarters is balanced with the forequarters. The hindquarters are powerful, providing flexible, almost tireless movement. They are vertical when viewed from profile and from behind. Legs – The thighs are wide and muscled. Hock joint is substantial, not too close to the ground, the point situated roughly at ¼ the height at the withers, forming a well open angle with the second thigh. Metatarsals are upright, slightly further back than the point of the buttock. When viewed from behind, metatarsals are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Feet – The feet are large, round, compact, and the rear toes turn out very slightly. Dewclaws – Double dewclaws form well separated “thumbs” with nails, placed rather close to the foot. Disqualification – Anything less than double dewclaws on each rear leg.

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beauceron illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK & RUST Check Mark For Standard Color 015
BLACK & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 018
GRAY BLACK & TAN Check Mark For Standard Color 399
HARLEQUIN Check Mark For Standard Color 112

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