Fiercely loyal, watchful, driven, and energetic are some words one would use to describe the acclaimed French herding dog known by name as the Beauceron. This intelligent canine breed will be a happy addition to a family with a fenced-in yard and plenty of space. The Beauceron is sometimes known as Bas Rouge or red stockings-the nickname given to it by the French due to the dog's red-colored sock-like marks on its feet.
The Beauceron was largely unknown outside France before the 1960s but saw increased popularity as efforts were made amongst French breeders to preserve the herding breed. They are now renowned as protection dogs and fantastic family pets for those with the experience to take care of them. Read further to learn more about this wonderful breed!
Beauceron Characteristics [Physical]
The Beauceron is a handsome, athletic dog with a short coat and dark brown eyes. It possesses a confident-looking demeanor to match its reputation as a strong-willed dog. Its head will either be slightly rounded or flat along the top, complete with naturally hanging ears.
In appearance, it is rugged and muscular yet quick and agile, showcasing the Beauceron's history as a herding dog intended to protect sheep and other animals. Beaucerons have long muscular legs, a strong, slightly pronounced chest, and a straight back. When engaging in a full run, their heads are lowered to horizontal level with their back, a common feature found among breeds of sheepdogs.
Following this historical tradition of French Sheepdogs, the Beauceron features traditional double dewclaws on its hind legs. These are considered an essential characteristic for the historical breed and persist as an identifying, desirable feature among Kennel Clubs.
Beauceron Dog Breed Size
Beaucerons are known for being large dogs, as their weight can often reach close to 100 pounds! Although this weight might give one the impression of a heavy-looking dog, Beaucerons are highly balanced, possessing as much grace as they do power. Male Beaucerons typically range from around 25 to 27 inches in size, while Females range from 24 to 26 inches, giving each a slight difference in appearance when compared.
Beauceron Dog Personality
One of the most sought-after features of a Beauceron is its highly intelligent and driven personality. They have strong reasoning skills and a natural inclination for advanced tasks. Beaucerons also enjoy taking advantage of their confident character and memory to assist their owners in work tasks.
Beaucerons are affectionate and empathetic dogs possessing great loyalty to their family. Generally, they are protective and kind towards little ones, but if you have very young children around, be sure they are aware of how to treat a dog respectfully to avoid teasing, ear pulling, or other inappropriate behaviors potentially aggravating to your Beauceron.
The Beauceron's wonderfully level personality made it a standard for herding animals in farms all across France. They were also the perfect breed for the French army to eventually use as messenger dogs and a popular pick as a guard dog in police work.
The Beauceron's history as a working dog might lead some to believe it is restricted to such uses. In reality, when properly trained as a domestic animal, an adult Beauceron puts its instincts to use as a highly devoted, reliable guardian. Still, because of their driven and highly energized nature, Beaucerons require mental stimulation and consistent training to be kept happy and prevented from acting out potentially destructive behaviors resulting from boredom.
Beauceron Dog Breed Exercise
It is well known that the Bas Rouge is an accomplished athlete who functions best with ample amounts of physical exercise. Some describe them as having a limitless energy supply, making exercise important for a balanced lifestyle.
Your Beauceron needs a variety of outdoor locations for activities. They are not a good dog for new dog owners or those without ready access to widespread outdoor spaces appropriate for running and playing. A Beauceron will need these kinds of activities daily, meaning a prospective owner should be prepared to share an active lifestyle with their Beauceron.
While better suited to houses with fenced-in yards or farm properties, a Beauceron can live in an apartment! However, we only recommend this if you have a lot of experience raising dogs. Beaucerons need as much playtime as possible while providing them with long daily walks and trips to the park to burn off excess energy.
Beauceron Dog Training
Beaucerons are a highly trainable dog breed that is quick to learn and devoted to pleasing their owners. The Beauceron is highly regarded for this trainability, a big part of what made this breed desirable for shepherding and military applications.
They are very empathetic and cerebral animals, capable of reading their owner's emotions. As such, they are to be corrected in a calm, nonaggressive manner. They are also quite proud and do not respond well to physical or harsh forms of correction, so trainers should avoid those methods. When training, consistency, and fairness with positive reinforcement should serve as good encouragement.
Like with most dog breeds, socialization is an essential aspect of training your dog and should be started early. Socialization typically includes exposure to other dogs, people, animals, and environments to instill a sense of security when you perform social calls together.
Beaucerons can also receive effective obedience training as puppies. This is important in establishing good communication tools for further training as they grow and help control your dog if it becomes over-excited or scared.
Teaching them simple commands are a great start! It should provide you and your dog the tools for them to act appropriately both in the house and out in the world. Having them trained early makes a big difference in early socialization. It will also ease the process of introducing your dog to strangers or taking it out in public!
Beauceron Dog Breed History
As one of France's oldest purebreeds, the Beauceron has a deep and interesting history dating back to the 1500s. They were originally domesticated from the wide fields surrounding Paris for use as hunting dogs in big game hunts, but the ancestors of the Beauceron quickly took to herding.
Beaucerons are an exceptionally rare breed. Besides being very e to the French nation, and in fact, the breed faced a near extinction following the World Wars. They were frequently used as sentries, messengers, and mine detectors during wars, often with a high mortality rate. A mere 50 dogs were used as stock to rebuild this breed from its dire state.
Still, it was not until the 1920s that the first Beauceron breed club started in France. It was even longer still until the conservation efforts of the 1960s revived the breed, allowing it recognition and popularity outside of France.
Common Health Problems Found in the Beauceron Dog
Generally speaking, you will not find a healthier dog breed than the Beauceron. As large dogs, they tend to have an average life expectancy of 8 to 12 years and can generally be expected to live without problems most of the time. There are, however, some potential health problems that are associated with this breed.
While not common, some Beaucerons are susceptible to developing a degenerative condition in the joint within the hip bone referred to as hip dysplasia. If left untreated, this can result in a great decrease in your dog's quality of life. For this reason, it is good to keep your eyes open for some telltale signs your dog might have hip dysplasia, some of which include:
- Decreased activity
- Lowered range of motion
- Reluctant to exercise
- Limp hind end
- Awkward gait
- Stiffness or limping
If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure your dog is clear of this condition by visiting the veterinarian.
Although not especially prone to heart issues, we recommend owners take their Beauceron to regular checkups to ensure that no heart problems might develop. Large dogs may experience heart strain, so it is important to encourage healthy cardiac activity. You can do this by helping them maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. Another way to encourage a healthy heart in your dog is by giving your dog nutritious, heart-healthy foods.
Some possible symptoms indicating heart disease or other cardiac problems include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Restless sleep
- Reduced ability to exercise
Like many other dog breeds, Bas Rouge might come down with a case of gastric dilation, otherwise known as bloat. Bloat occurs when a dog's stomach becomes overfilled and then contorted to an angle, causing the stomach to swell up. If bloat occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately.
If not treated, the swelling can cause damage to important organs and cut off blood flow to the stomach. This can result in permanent damage, and in some cases, death may occur. In most cases, this is an easily avoidable tragedy as one can identify bloat through the presence of several different signs:
- Constant Pacing
- Swollen abdomen
- Look of distress
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to stand
Bloat comes on without warning and increases quickly in its severity, so recognizing these early signs can be key in protecting your dog.
Double dewclaws are a persistent feature found on the Beauceron and act as a mark of authenticity of the breed. Often these dewclaws will be no cause for concern; However, if injury often occurs around the site of the dewclaws after activity, an infection may occur. Because dewclaws are sometimes connected through bone or muscle tissue, an infection can be especially painful for your dog.
Some signs of a potential dewclaw injury or infection include:
- Heat around the injury site
To avoid injury, make sure to trim its nails whenever they grow too long. Sometimes, however, an injury will occur nonetheless, so if infection or injury becomes a consistent problem, the dewclaws can be removed through a quick, non-invasive surgery.
How to Care for a Beauceron
Caring for a Beauceron does not need to be an overly complicated affair. In many ways, it is not so different than caring for other breeds. Still, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind while caring for your Beauceron.
Time and Space to Rest
Your Beauceron will want to spend a lot of time running and playing outside, but eventually, they will want to lay down and relax. It is important to give your Beauceron a comfortable, relaxing place to retreat to when they need it. Try to set them up with a place where they feel safe and get some alone time is a good idea.
A dog bed with some comfy bedding is great for most Beaucerons, provided the bedding stays clean. Another option is to use a crate outfitted with some comfy bedding. Although most of its time will be spent following you around or playing outside, your Beauceron will be grateful you've given them the space to relax and recharge for your next adventure together!
On occasion, you may have to handle your Beauceron. While less likely as an adult, you'll need to hold or handle your puppy for various reasons. If you need to pick up your puppy, first place your hand on the puppy's chest and gently use your other arm to support the puppy's hind legs or rump. It is important to provide good support for their back, handle them gently, and avoid lifting them from the front.
If you need to lift an adult Beauceron, you can follow the same principles as a puppy. First, support the chest with one hand and then use your other arm to support the hind legs.
Because the Beauceron is an energetic and athletic breed, this herding dog has a strong desire to flex both its athletic and mental muscles. As such, varied forms of exercise are an essential aspect of caring for your Beauceron daily.
Owners who do not make an effort to give their Beauceron ample exercise will quickly notice a sharp increase in bad behavior. This can manifest as undesirable behaviors like increased aggression, destructive digging (goodbye couch!), and a ruined lawn.
Worms are among the most common concerns for young puppies. Therefore, owners should take their new puppy to a veterinarian to receive the right medication if necessary. If caught early in this way, you can quickly get rid of the intestinal worms so your Beauceron can continue living a happy and healthy life.
Immunization is a very important aspect of dog care that no responsible owner should overlook. It's important for Beaucerons (and all dogs) to get their puppy shots at a young age before socializing with other dogs. It's also a way to ensure that other pets are protected as well during play sessions and social learning.
Following these initial shots, your Beauceron will need to receive more immunizations as they grow. Be sure to contact your dog's veterinarian to find out when and what vaccinations they should receive, so you keep your Beauceron on track.
Nutrition and Feeding for a Beauceron Dog
To keep your dog happy and healthy, it will need all of the essential vitamins and nutrients common to the diet of large dogs. Beaucerons will generally do well eating either high-quality kibble or homemade meals, provided the contents are nutritious and tasty. A mix of home-cooked food and kibble can also be a good option if your dog takes a liking to a certain food or needs a boost of a certain vitamin in their diet.
When picking a good food to fulfill your dog's dietary needs, look at the first ingredients listed on the package. To ensure a good balance of nutrients, try to make sure the ingredients on the top consist of naturally healthy foods. Some other good foods to look for as ingredients are:
- Organic meat
You should split up their meals throughout the day to discourage any possibility of bloat occurring. However, the amount of food needed will vary based on your dog's size, age, and activity level. If your dog needs some extra nutrition or prefer creating home-cooked meals, there are some foods that you should avoid feeding your Beauceron, such as:
There are many other foods unsuitable for dogs, so be sure to do some research before feeding your Beauceron!
Coat Color And Grooming
Beaucerons have a short double coat requiring minimal grooming. Beaucerons are popular for their dark brown coat, which is often marked by reddish rusty accents. Some common colorations include:
- Black and tan
- Black and rust
- Grey, black, and tan
During your Beauceron's seasonal shedding periods (mostly occurring during the spring and fall), you might need to brush more often to trap and dispose of loose hair floating in your home. To remove dead hair, use a rubber hound mitt or natural bristle brush weekly to maintain a clean, shiny coat. Weekly brushing is still expected to suffice, but be aware additional grooming sessions might be necessary.
Your Beauceron will occasionally need a bath, about once every four weeks or so. Bathing is usually only necessary if the dog is visibly dirty or has spent a lot of time outdoors, but it is not to neglect if you want to maintain your Beauceron's coat. Be sure to trim your dog's nails about once a month and to brush their teeth around twice per week to keep them healthy and groomed.
Tick and Flea Check
Another consideration for your dog is the risk that ticks and fleas can pose. Because your Beauceron will be spending a lot time outside, they might become exposed to these pests. After outdoor activity, get into the habit of performing daily tick and flea checks by running a flea comb through your dog's fur to ensure you spot any before they latch on for too long.
Additionally, there are various available methods for flea and tick control. So be sure to ask your dog's veterinarian for some options.
Children And Other Pets
Beaucerons are excellent with children and express a gentle and loving yet firmly protective nature. Often described as levelheaded dogs, your Beauceron can serve as a loving companion for children old enough to treat them appropriately. It's important to make sure that young children living with a Beauceron learn how to treat a dog properly.
While Beaucerons are a naturally territorial breed, they can be great with various other pets if properly socialized. Beaucerons will typically remain wary of strange dogs and animals unfamiliar to them but adapt well to most other family pets.
Because of its history as a herding dog, Beaucerons may have a tendency to herd small children and animals. Training can discourage this behavior but is less likely to occur in dogs whose active lifestyle helps them vent such urges.
Beauceron Dog Rescue Groups
Due to the rarity of their breed, Beauceron's can be a difficult breed to get. You'll probably have to join a waiting list or seeking out a specified breeder. However, Dog rescue groups will take in stray and abandoned dogs to give them a chance at finding a new family. These rescue groups are a great option for dog lovers who want to do some good while connecting with their new best friend.
There are a handful of rescue groups specializing in Beaucerons and herding dogs present across the United States:
Beauceron Dog Breed Organizations
There are also non-profit organizations, sometimes called breed clubs, who help register and track purebred dog breeds. These breed clubs organize events for Beauceron lovers who are deeply interested in the lineage and tradition of their pets.
Breed organizations are a great place to search for reputable breeders, find meet-ups, and even participate in competitions. These clubs often create a defined standard for the breed they are interested in and serve as a great resource for Beauceron lovers, both old and new.
Here are some breed clubs from the United States and abroad dedicated to the Beauceron:
- American Beauceron Club - The official breed club of the United States
- Les Amis De Beauceron - The official breed club of France
- Beauceron Club UK - The official breed club of the United Kingdom
More About the Beauceron Dog
The Beauceron is a physically well-rounded and intelligent dog capable of filling many different roles. Being an exceptionally rare dog, they can be difficult to get your hands on and can cost upwards of $1,500 if you manage to get past the waiting lists commonly used during this process. If interested, we recommend to look for a reputable breeder through one of the well-known kettle clubs.
With such a long history and having so many applications to assist their humans, it is no wonder the Beauceron stuck around and grew in popularity. While not a breed for first-time dog owners or those unwilling to give them the time and energy, the Beauceron is a great option for experienced dog lovers!