The Beauceron is a breed that is well known in France as being one of the best and largest sheepdogs that can herd sheep and cattle without frightening them. Also used to guard homes and families, this breed’s protection instinct and ability to follow commands proved to be useful during World Wars I and II when the French army used them to run messages and sniff out trails and mines. Today, they are used as military and police dogs, handicap assistant dogs, and competitive agility dogs. Their gentleness with humans, intelligence, loyalty, and guarding instinct make them wonderful family pets as well as working companions for those in certain industries.
Characteristics of the Beauceron
Next, we’ll talk about the appearance and temperament of the Beauceron.
Beaucerons are solid dogs with an athletic, muscular build, making them look powerful and noble. Standing at 24-27.5” tall would make this dog medium sized, but it’s heavy 80-110 lbs categorize the breed as large. These dogs are sturdy despite their long legs and backs, which encouraged its endurance as a herding dog. The Beauceron has a short neck with a smaller head that is held level with its back, however this subtle posture does not distract from its strong jaw and agile body that is fast and graceful. Beaucerons have a short double-layer coat that consists of a soft, dense undercoat and an outercoat that has course, straight fur. Their coloring is typically a combination of black, rust, and tan, or they can be harlequin.
These dogs are loyal, protective, gentle, and intelligent, making them great watchdogs for a family. While great with older children, especially when raised with them, these dogs may try to herd young children and should always be watched when around kids. Given the breed’s strong herding instinct, it is not recommended to have them in a house with other animals, especially smaller cats and dogs. With that being said, these dogs can be socialized and trained at a young age to get along with other animals in the house. Beaucerons don’t tend to get along with animals they don’t know and can get aggressive if they are not socialized enough as a puppy.
Beaucerons should not be left alone for too long, and they are not well suited for apartments, small homes, or fully indoor living. Access to a fenced in yard is crucial for these dogs, and an electronic dog door is a great option to give them the freedom to come in and out as they please. When under-stimulated, Beaucerons are likely to become destructive. If leaving them alone for more than a few hours, it is a good idea to dog-proof the house, put away valuables, and get them indestructible beds and toys. Calming aids can also be useful These dogs are incredibly high energy and get along best with an owner who enjoys physical activity and is experienced with dogs. In the right environment with proper training, this fearless dog is intelligent, devoted, and obedient. Beaucerons live for 10-12 years on average.
Caring for Beauceron Tips
Caring for Beaucerons can be a challenge given their high energy and protective temperament. Here is what you need to know about caring for these dogs.
The feeding of a Beauceron should be monitored based on the dog’s size, weight, and age. Beaucerons should be fed a high-quality dry food twice a day, and you may consider putting them on a food for large dogs given their size and activity level. Treats can be given sparingly as positive reinforcement during training, though it is important not to feed too many due to obesity concerns. As with all dogs, it is important that Beaucerons have constant access to clean, fresh water. Veterinary assistance may be beneficial when choosing a food for this active dog and determining a healthy weight for them.
Beaucerons are incredibly active dogs who need plenty of exercise throughout the day. They should be given physical and mental challenges each day and plenty of time to exercise outside. These dogs make great working dogs and enjoy having a job or task to complete. If this is not possible, they should have ample indoor and outdoor space where they can roam freely. It is important that Beaucerons are walked multiple times per day, and even better if they can run alongside a jogger, biker, hiker, or pull a cart or person on skis. Beaucerons should be kept on a leash around other animals due to their herding instinct and occasional aggression towards other dogs, and a leash for dogs that pull may be best. To satisfy their mental needs, puzzle toys and interactive dog toys are great options to keep them stimulated and happy.
This breed of dog is considered relatively easy to train, however their slight wariness of strangers and their strong personalities can pose a challenge. When trained properly, Beaucerons are extremely obedient dogs that love having a job. For best results, training and socialization should begin at a very young age. These intelligent animals will absorb information and rules quickly, and their dedication to their owner makes them eager to please. Socializing the puppy is best done through group puppy obedience classes and having frequent visitors. Beaucerons enjoy changes in scenery as it can help stimulate their minds and prevent them from becoming bored, destructive, or aggressive. Taking them to the park, stores that allow dogs, and taking walks in new locations helps combat those issues, however they should be watched and trained on how to behave in busy settings.
Beaucerons are generally very healthy dogs, although all breeds are faced with some health problems. When adopting a Beauceron, find a reputable breeder who completes health tests for their dogs. While these issues are still possible, health tests can help lower the chances for hip dysplasia, heart disease, and eye problems. Problems that could face the Beauceron include:
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy- a heart disease that causes an enlarged heart
- Eye problems- yearly eye exams by a veterinarian are recommended
- Allergies- these dogs may have allergies to foods or environmental issues. Food allergies may include beef, milk, wheat, corn, soy, chicken, and eggs. If issues arise, consider a grain free dog food or a dog food for sensitive stomachs.
- Hip Dysplasia- when the thighbone and hip joint do not fit tightly together which can cause lameness, arthritis, and pain. Dog joint supplements can help slow the progression or act preventatively.
- Gastric Dilation- a condition common in large dogs with deep chest cavities where the dog swallows air that cannot escape, causing the stomach to swell. For prevention, monitor the dog to ensure it isn’t eating or drinking too fast.
- Osteochondrosis Desiccans- a hereditary disease that impacts the cartilage surrounding joint bones. This can cause inflammation, pain, and lameness.