Other names: Berger de Beauce, Bas-Rouge, Beauce Shepherd
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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
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.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Beauceron
Female : Between 24 and 27 in
Male : Between 26 and 28 in
Female : Between 66 and 88 lb
Male : 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.
Good to know
Thanks to their intelligence and versatility, Beaucerons can equally be used in the police force, for rescue and protection purposes.
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.