Other names: Berger de Beauce, Bas-Rouge, Beauce Shepherd
The Beauceron, also known as the Bas-Rouge or the Berger de Beauce, is a working dog. This dog can adapt to a number of lifestyles as long as its needs are met. Very attached to its social group, the Beauceron will readily protect it if needed and is often wary of strangers. Of large size and impressive strength, this dog is not a suitable pet for everyone. A firm yet gentle hand will be necessary to look after this dog properly, whether you’re keeping it as a sheepdog or a pet.
Key facts about the Beauceron
- Life expectancy : Between 10 and 12 years
- Temperament : Playful, Intelligent
- Size : Big
- Type of coat : Short
- Price : Between £740 and £1180
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Beauceron
|Female dog||Between 24 and 27 in|
|Male dog||Between 26 and 28 in|
|Female dog||Between 66 and 88 lb|
|Male dog||Between 66 and 88 lb|
Coat can be black, tan or harlequin (grey, black or tan).
Type of coat
Fur is short (between 1-1.5 inches) on the body and smooth on the head.
Hair is strong and firm, and flat on the body. The undercoat is short, fine and dense. The buttocks and end of the tail are fringed.
From hazel to dark brown, the eyes should never be light in colour. Varying eye colours are accepted for those with harlequin coats.
The Beauceron’s build, often confused with the Doberman’s, is hardy and robust. The tail hangs low and the hind legs sport dewclaws, a distinctive characteristic of the breed. Beaucerons have a long head, with a flat or slightly curved skull, a subtle stop, with the muzzle expanding outwards. The eyes are very dark and ears flat and quite short.
These friendly giants are very loyal pets. They will like everyone in their social group, but will usually have a preference for one person. This person will be the one they trust the most.
Bergers de Beauces have a lot of energy to burn off. They love playing, even if their enthusiasm sometimes exceeds their fitness levels.
This breed’s official standards describes them as wise and brave. These two qualities sum up their balanced temperament well. Their energy levels aren’t excessive, and they tend to be quite calm.
Very versatile, Beaucerons are incredibly intelligent. They can adapt to a number of lifestyles and will make great partners on a farm.
Like many sheepdogs, they will quickly understand what’s being asked of them, as long as the commands are coherent and fair.
Their predatory instinct isn’t excessively developed. This trait can easily be worn down with the right training.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Very trustworthy, this French sheepdog is wary of strangers, while not seeming excessively scared or being aggressive.
Their trust must be earned by those that come into contact with them, which can make communication challenging at times, but definitely not impossible.
These sheepdogs are very attached to their social group, but remain nonetheless working dogs with a lot of initiative, in whom their master should trust.
They undoubtedly seek to please their master, but will also be fulfilled by their own happiness in their work.
Behaviour of the Beauceron
Bas-Rouges definitely aren’t loners, but can nonetheless tolerate the absence of their masters, as long as they have the freedom to burn off their energy and have access to a few toys in the house.
Easy to train / obedience
While these working dogs can make great pets, their strong character can sometimes make them quite challenging to train. They should therefore be trained at a very young age.
Their owner must employ a firm hand, while never tipping over into aggressive territory. Physical or psychological violence will only serve to scare Beaucerons. If they feel pressured, sense incoherence and injustice, or worse, feel mistreated, these sheepdogs won’t hesitate to turn their back on their master.
This dog’s cooperation will only be gained if its needs are met and its well-being is respected. Trust needs to be present on both sides to get the best results.
Bergers de Beauces rarely bark, if ever, except for when they deem it necessary. Otherwise, they’re a relatively discrete dog.
Tendency to run away
Like all sheepdogs, Beaucerons prefer to stay in their familiar environment in order to protect their group. Even if they don’t work by a cattle breeder’s side, Beaucerons are very loyal to their loved ones, so running away goes against their nature.
Only if they’re not sufficiently exercised or find themselves bored will these working dogs start to get destructive, simply to occupy themselves and exert their built-up energy.
Greedy / Gluttony
Beaucerons have a good appetite, and will never turn down a meal. Therefore, make sure their meals are given to them at fixed times (don’t let your dog help himself throughout the day), and limit snacks between meals, in order to avoid them putting on weight.
Naturally brave, protecting its social group is in this dog’s heart. Without showing any signs of aggression, Beaucerons know how to scare off perceived threats, if they deem it necessary.
Their notion of “territory” is strong and anyone who passes through their familiar environment will have to go through them first so that they can welcome them in (or not).
The Beauceron is a great pet but remains quite difficult to manage, especially if it doesn’t work or get enough exercise.
Therefore, this dog isn’t the ideal candidate for first-time adopters: a more docile dog would be preferable. This powerful, stubborn dog runs the risk of overwhelming an amateur owner.
Beauceron in a flat
Life in a flat is possible for this big dog, but is not recommended. Its need for exercise and space usually can’t be properly met in a small, closed space.
However, even if the Beauceron lives in the country in an open, spacious area with regular access to the outdoors, it should still be walked frequently.
No matter the dog, having a garden is never a substitute for walks. They are essential for the physical and psychological well-being of all dogs.
One of the positive points of an urban lifestyle for this dog would be socialisation. Many Beaucerons grow up in rural environments, leaving them unexposed to many stimuli and therefore their tolerance to novelty can be quite low.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Idleness and boredom are this active dog’s worst enemies. Beaucerons need a lot of physical and psychological stimulation to be content. They need to be engaged on a multitude of levels on a daily basis.
If they aren’t working for their master, they should be engaged in regular physical activity, such as traction sports (cani-cross, bike-joring), agility, flyball, etc.
Travelling / easy to transport
This dog’s big size makes travelling difficult. Nevertheless, nothing is impossible, as long as you have the means to do it.
Be aware that travelling can be emotionally difficult for dogs that are used to being in large open spaces. A change of environment can be distressing, especially if the dog didn’t receive much socialisation during its key years of development.
Beauceron and cats
If this dog has been with a cat since it was a puppy, the two can get along very well and have no issues living together.
The instinct of the Bas-Rouge can sometimes be such, however, that it seeks to control every one of a cat’s movements and actions.
Beauceron and dogs
An early socialisation is essential to make sure that the Beauceron puppy develops and respects the canine codes.
If the dog lives on a farm, regular meetings with other dogs should be organised in order to work on its social skills.
Beaucerons can definitely live with other dogs, but be careful with two dogs of the same sex.
Beauceron and children
The Beauce Shepherd gets on well with children, but don’t leave them alone to play together, as this dog sometimes doesn’t know its own strength. Also, once they’ve started playing, Beaucerons can find it hard to stop.
They can be very gentle and protective towards children that are part of their social group, but stay vigilant, as you should with any dog.
Beauceron and the elderly
The Berger de Beauce isn’t suitable for sedentary life, which may be the case with some elderly people. Its strength and abundant energy isn’t very compatible with people that don’t have these traits themselves.
The price of a Beauceron varies depending on its origins, age and sex. You should budget around £1180 for a dog registered with the KC.
You should set around £60 and £70 a month to meet the Beauceron’s needs, which include its dietary and medical requirements (vaccinations, worm and anti-parasite treatments, etc.)
This dog’s grooming needs are very low maintenance. All it requires is a simple weekly brush to maintain the quality and beauty of its coat.
Eyes and ears should be regularly inspected, with special attention being paid to the dewclaws.
Level of moulting is significant during the annual shedding periods of spring and autumn, like many dogs. Beaucerons should therefore be brushed several times a week, or even daily.
Nutrition of the Beauceron
Beaucerons have a sizeable appetite. They therefore shouldn’t be left to consume whatever they like, at the risk of developing certain digestive issues. Their diet should be of premium quality and adapted to their physical condition.
One meal a day will be enough for this breed, preferably given in the evening. If you give it two a day (light in the morning, more substantial in the evening), make sure you leave the dog to relax before and after its meals to avoid gastric torsion.
Their diet should be rich in nutrients and adapted to their age and health. For puppies, it is recommended that a vet tracks their progress, to avoid any developmental problems.
Health of the Beauceron
Lifespan is around 11 years.
Strong / robust
Sporting a robust build, the Beauceron is scared of very few things. Active, energetic and brave, Beaucerons are rarely sick and therefore have a good life expectancy for their size.
With the exception of extreme temperatures, like many dogs, the Beauceron will happily continue with its activities in the heat, as long as it has access to cold water and is able to take some time in the shade if it needs to.
The Berger de Beauce is a robust dog that likes to be useful above all else, regardless of the temperature. The cold won’t stop this dog, and its double coat and thick undercoat protects it well against the cold.
Tendency to put on weight
The Bas-Rouge has a good appetite. If allowed, this dog would eat anything that it came into contact with. However, its energy and endurance means that excess weight can be easily burnt off, which should nonetheless remain an exceptional solution to avoiding obesity.
- Elbow and hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Dilation/torsion of the stomach
- Eosinophilic panosteitis or enostosis (inflammatory disease generally affecting long bones)
- Alopecia of thinning coats (genetic skin disease)
Good to know
Thanks to their intelligence and versatility, Beaucerons can equally be used in the police force, for rescue and protection purposes.
Origins and history
The Beauceron, Berger de Beauce or Bas-Rouge are all names stemming from the end of the 19th century, which described all French Shepherd dogs of the same type. “Bas-Rouge” originates from the fact that many Beaucerons have tan “socks” on their paws. These dogs were (and still are) mainly bred for cattle herding. They were first seen in 1896 in a dog show, but the breed is very old. It descended from what paleontologists call the Peat Bog dog, but the Gaulish Mastiff and Great Dane also feature in its ancestry. Beauce is a French plain, from where the Beauceron did not necessarily originate from.
Good names for a Beauceron: Apple, Jasper, Mia, Teo