France has given the world a lot of gifts over time. From the Eiffel Tower, French windows to the Statue of Liberty. But there’s one other French legacy, that is large, highly intelligent and loyal; that is the Beauceron.
The Beauceron is the largest sheepdog of French descent. They are multi dimensional herding dog and great at tracking.
While the breed is relatively unknown in most areas of the world, in France, the Bas Rouge serves as an athlete, companion, guard, police, as well as a search and rescue dog. In fact, there’s very little this shepherd can’t do.
What makes this dog such a great pet?
Here is what you need to know about the Beauceron
Many researchers believe the Beauceron has been around since the 16th century, when Renaissance records describe a dog similar to the sheepdog known today.
In fact, there are two types of French sheepdog. There’s the longer coat version, the Briard, and its ancestral counterpart, the short coat Bas Rouge. Actually, it took up until 1893 for the fanciers of France to make the distinction between the two breeds.
The Beauceron was bred to be a general purpose dog, and that is exactly what it became. During the 19th century, the breed would protect their master’s property and family, as well as drive and herd cattle. Their sharp intelligence and imposing physique made them great for the position.
However, there was mention about the differences between the two breed before 1893. An article written by Abbe Rozier in 1809 describes the differences of the Briard and the Beauceron. Rozier would use the name Berger de Beauce to describe the breed.
Additionally, the name of the breed originates from the region, La Beauce. However, some feel that is misleading, because the Bas Rouge did appear all over France.
In 1922, Club des Amis du Beauceron forms marking the first club for the breed under the tutelage of a renown veterinarian, M. Pierre Megnin, who was responsible for distinguishing the breed in the 1890’s.
The French army would continue to use the Beauceron especially during the two World Wars. As a matter of fact, the breed would serve to detect mines and other war activities.
In the 1960’s, a standard for the breed was rewritten and modified to help preserve the qualities of the Beauceron. Since 1972, the breed has been held to those standards helping the Bas Rouge’s popularity grow in France.
Eventually, the rest of the world caught on about how resourceful of a breed the Beauceron is. In 1980, the Beauceron Club of America established. It would take over 20 years for the breed to get any recognition by the American Kennel Club. In 2001, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed and put them into the Miscellaneous Class. In 2007, as their popularity grew a bit, the Bas Rouge moved into the Herding Group.
Today, the breed enjoys work as a police, military, hunting, gathering, competitor and companion dog. According to the American Kennel Club, the Beauceron is the 140th most popular breed and the club’s 157th breed.
The largest of all French Sheepdog’s, the Beauceron belongs in the large breed group. The standards of the American Kennel Club have males between 25.5-27.5 inches, while females can stand between 24 to 26.5 inches.
Both male and female Beaucerons can weigh between 70 to 110 pounds.
When you first see the Beauceron, you”ll notice how imposing and handsome the breed is. This breed certainly is powerful, which makes them more than ideal as guard dogs. A position the breed perfects. Their confidence and alertness are traits that would allow them to be such great trail dogs as well.
The Bas Rouge loves access to the outdoors, where they can run around and play. They’ll want to investigate and get a good romp. However, this should be an indoor dog. The Beauceron wants to be with their family and isn’t a fan of being alone for long periods of time. Although, the breed handles loneliness better than other dogs.
A herding dog tends to herd and nip. Sometimes they may play a little too rough for smaller children to appreciate or handle. While the Beauceron is fine with smaller children, they don’t know the extent of their rough behavior. Supervising your dog and children is always best. Also, if you have smaller animals, cats or birds, you may want to reconsider this breed as an addition to the household. The Beauceron may exhibit prey drive naturally.
With regards to strangers, expect some reservation at first, but nothing a little early socialization as a puppy can’t fix.
Curious and sensitive, the Beauceron is eager to please and fairly easy to train. Using positive reinforcement tactics will work best. Food, toys, moral encouragement should suffice your dog’s progression during training.
As a dog that enjoys a history rich with many roles and jobs, this breed needs a task and involvement. They need to feel important. It helps with their confidence. The Beauceron may not be the best fit for city life or smaller space. Ultimately, this is a breed that loves the open fields, where they feel most comfortable herding.
The Beauceron is generally a healthy breed, that enjoys a life expectancy rate of 10 to 12 years. That being said, you should only purchase a dog through a reputable breeder, who has no issue supplying you the proper documentation and health clearances. Couple that with regular visits to the veterinarian and your chances of a healthy dog are much better.
One of the more serious health issues affecting the Beauceron is Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM, is common among larger breeds. DCM can also be found in breed like Cocker Spaniels and Doberman Pinschers. Essentially, DCM is when the heart becomes enlarged and doesn’t function or pump blood properly. This can result in congestive heart diseases. Some of the signs include, blue tongue, breathing heavily, excessive drooling or collapsing.
Another concern to watch out for is Osteochondrosis Dessicans, which is an orthopedic disease common among fast growing breeds. This disease usually affects the elbow joints and in the shoulder. OCD can lead to degenerative joint diseases, pain, inflammation and lameness.
Additionally, this breed sometimes suffers from Hip Dysplasia. This happens when the ball socket and joint don’t align properly, which causes the joint to rub instead of functioning smoothly. Lameness, and painful arthritis are common effects that result from Hip Dysplasia.
This breed may encounter Gastric Dilitation or Bloat. Bloat can cause breathing problems for your Beauceron. This occurs when an excess of air can’t escape internally and the stomach distends or twists causing pressure in the diaphragm. This can be fatal and something you should monitor.
Finally, issues such allergies, congenital deafness and Dermatomyositis may also be found within this breed.
The Beauceron may come across imposing but they should never be aggressive. This is where early socialization and obedience training comes in. Positive reinforcement and consistent is vital in aiding your dog along as a friendly pet. Smaller pets and children may not be the best fits without supervision. This is a natural Shepherd and can be prone to certain behaviors.
That said, this dog will definitely need to exercise regularly. If you aren’t an active person, then this may not be the dog for you. They need at least 45 to 60 minutes of daily exercise. They do need some space, although you don’t have to be a farmer to own this breed.
You have to break the bad traits with this breed. Traits like nibbling, nipping, or even herding. The Beauceron needs a hand that is firm but fair. They need consistency. A Beauceron needs plenty of activity and does better with a job or task. This should be an indoor dog, and including the Bas Rouge with family outings works best for this breed.
Each dog is different when it comes to their diet and feeding needs. There are some underlying issues affecting the Beauceron and their health. In order to reduce the chances of Bloat or Cardio Myopathy, you should monitor what your dog eats and how much.
Ultimately, if you want your Beauceron to thrive and live a long healthy life, you need to balance out their feeding. Factors like age, activity rate, metabolism, and whether your dog has been spayed or neutered may affect how much your dog eats.
Healthy options like Omega 3 and 6, Amino Acid, and Taurine will help keep your dog’s heart healthy, improve their coat, and reduce the chances of Bloat and other serious ill-effects.
In addition, you should feed your Beauceron a meat first diet. Food like turkey, chicken, salmon and lamb are fine.
Most suggestions surface around 3 to 4 cups of top quality dry food per day. In essence, for a typical active Beauceron between 70 and 110 pounds, their daily calorie intake will be 1600 to 2400 per day.
For a working dog between the same weight groups, the calorie intake will be a lot more. For instance, a 70 pound Beauceron will require 2800 calories, while a 110 pound dog will need nearly 4000 calories per day.
Of course, you should always provide your dog with fresh, drinking water.
The shorter coat version of the French Sheepdogs, the Beauceron has a double coat that should be flat to the body. The American Kennel Club illustrates their outer coat as 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long and coarse. Their undercoat should be short and fine. Most clubs do not permit shaggy looking coats.
The color of the Bas Rouge’s coat can be black and tan, black gray and tan, harlequin, black and rust.
You may need to brush their coats once or twice per week. There shouldn’t be a ton of grooming requirements with this breed. In fact, by staying on top of it, you can greatly cut down on the loose and dead hairs from your Beauceron’s coat.
As you can read from above, the Beauceron is full of many accomplishments. Perhaps, this is one of the most hidden breeds of all time. Or maybe France wasn’t ready to share this wonderful delight with the rest of the world.
The Beauceron is a confident and imposing dog, without a doubt. But they are also a loyal friend, that works incredibly hard, with impressive intelligence and will protect their family from any harm. One can see why this breed is still a treasure in France and is growing in popularity around the world.