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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Beauceron
Average Cost to keep/care for a Beauceron
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Beauceron is native to Northern France where they were originally bred as herding and guarding dogs. They are handsome, large dogs that over time have proved themselves to be a great choice not only as working dogs, but as companions and family pets too. Beaucerons are extremely intelligent and high energy characters and therefore need to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with as much mental stimulation as possible for them to be truly, happy well-rounded dogs.
Although still highly regarded in France, the Beauceron remains a bit of an unknown here in the UK, as such anyone wishing to share a home with one of these proud and noble dogs would need to register their interest with a breeder and then be put on waiting list because very few pedigree puppies are registered with The Kennel Club every year. With this said, well-bred Beauceron puppies can often command a lot of money and waiting lists with breeders tend to be quite long.
Native to France and the Beauce region which lies around Paris, the Beauceron is an ancient French breed and the largest of all their native sheepdogs. They were solely bred and developed in France with no other breeds having been introduced into the mix which means they are one of the “purest” and most natural European breeds around. The first written record of the breed is thought to date back to 1578. They were bred as herding and guarding dogs but are described as being a “general-purpose” breed with a natural ability and instinct to guard and protect both flocks of sheep and cattle as well as properties and their owners.
In 1882, the Société Central Canine was established with the first Beauceron known as a Berger de Beauce being registered in 1893 which was a dog called Bergere de la Chappelle. At the end of the century, a man called Pierre Megnin separated the Beauceron from the Shepherd of the Brie and with the help of Emmanuel Ball, began to establish a standard for the breed. The Club des Amis du Beauceron was founded in 1922.
Beaucerons were used by the French military during both the First and Second World War because they were so intelligent and eager to learn. They were known to follow commands without the slightest hesitation which made them valuable assets for the army more especially when messages needed to be sent along the frontline. They were also used to track down people, detect landmines and to guard military posts.
It was in the sixties that the French Ministry of Agriculture laid down laws to protect the Beauceron because there was a scare that the breed might disappear thanks to different needs of modern day life. Thanks to the versatility and adaptable nature of the Beauceron, the breed soon became more popular both as family pets and companions in their native France. In 1965, the breed standard was updated which was for the 5th time in over 100 years and then again in 2001, the standard was updated once again.
It is worth noting that the Beauceron is one of the breeds used to create the Dobermann and for centuries these noble dogs have been highly regarded in France not only as guard dogs, but as working and sporting dogs too. They were popular in Northern France as well as in Beauce and the breed is closely linked to the Briard with both dogs having double dew claws on their back legs.
Although these proud, noble and intelligent dogs had arrived on British shores prior to 1995, they were reintroduced that year although the first Beauceron was only exhibited at a Westminster Kennel Club event in 2008. Today, the breed remains a bit on an unknown in the UK, although with the advent of the internet more information is available and Beauceron numbers are rising albeit slowly. As such, anyone wanting to share a home with a Beauceron would need to register their interest with breeders for the pleasure of doing so.
Height at the withers: Males 66 - 71 cm, Females 64 - 66 cm
Average weight: Males 32 - 50 kg, Females 32 - 50 kg
The Beauceron is a large, noble and handsome dog that boasts a coat colouring very similar to that of a Dobermann, namely a striking black and tan coat. They are in fact one of the foundation breeds used to create the Dobermann. Their heads are nicely in proportion to their bodies with dogs boasting a slightly rounded skull and a bit of a furrow between their eyes. The back of their heads (occiput) are well defined with dogs having a moderate stop about halfway between the occiput and the tip of their noses which adds to their proud and noble appearance. They have strong muzzles and dark, oval shaped medium sized eyes that boast well pigmented rims. Their eyes are set horizontally on their heads.
Ears are set nicely on a dog's head, dropping down to it. The Beauceron has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are extremely muscular and they merge smoothly into a dog's shoulders which helps the Beauceron carry their heads proudly. Shoulders are muscular with a nice angulation to them with dogs having well defined withers and briskets that reach down to their elbows. Chests are deep and wide with dogs boasting strong, muscular front legs that show a moderate amount of bone.
Their bodies are firm and well-muscled with dogs having nice level backs and well sprung, long ribs. Loins are wide and extremely well-muscled. Their croup is slightly sloping to the base of a dog's tail. Females tend to be slightly longer in the body than their male counterparts. Their back legs are strong, powerful and well-muscled with dogs boasting double dewclaws that are set close to their back feet. A Beauceron has strong, round feet with black nails and hard yet supple paw pads. They carry their tails low, but straight.
When it comes to their coat, the Beauceron boasts having a double coat that consists of short hair on their heads, but on their body the hair is short, rougher and that much thicker and coarser. They have a slight breeching both under the tail on the back of their thighs. Their undercoat is fine, soft, short and dense which ideally has to be a light grey colour, but this should not show through a dog's topcoat. Accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard which are as follows:
When a Beauceron moves, they do so with a supple, effortless gait showing tremendous reach and lots of drive from behind.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
The Beauceron is known as a calm, intelligent and gentle dog and one that enjoys being in a family environment. They are agile, athletic and brave becoming totally devoted to their families and children. They can be a little wary and aloof around people they don’t already know, but rarely would a Beauceron show any sort of aggression towards strangers, preferring to just keep their distance until they get to know someone.
Beaucerons mature slowly which has to be taken into account during their training. These handsome dogs don't really reach their full mental maturity until they are around 3 years old. With this said, they are intelligent dogs and therefore in the right hands and in the right environment, they are easy to train, but because they mature so slowly, it's important that their education not be rushed, but rather broken down into shorter sessions that are fun and which keep a Beauceron focused. Long, repetitive training sessions do not suit these dogs because they would not only find them tiring, but boring too.
They are not the best choice for first time owners, unless the person is prepared to dedicate a lot of time to satisfy the needs of such a high energy, intelligent dog. However, they make wonderful family pets for people who lead active, outdoor lives and in households where at least one person remains at home when everyone else is out. They do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy-handed training methods. However, they do respond well to positive reinforcement which gets the best results from these sensitive, intelligent dogs.
Beaucerons are not the best choice for novice dog owners because they must be socialised, handled and trained by people who are familiar with their specific needs. They must know who the alpha dog is in a household for them to be well-balanced and to prevent them from showing a more dominant side to their natures.
Beaucerons have a high prey drive and would be quick off the mark when it comes to chasing anything that tries to run away from them or which they perceive as being a threat to their families. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when a dog can run off the lead more especially if there is wildlife and/or livestock close by. However, a well-trained Beauceron would always be just as quick to obey a command they are given by their owners which would prevent them running off.
An adult, mature Beauceron is never overly busy because they take things quite seriously. With this said, a younger Beauceron right up to when they are 2 or 3 years old tends to be more playful and boisterous which means they need to be kept busy to be truly happy, well-behaved dogs. They excel at all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like Schutzhund, obedience, agility and tracking to name but a few of the things Beaucerons enjoy doing.
Beaucerons are better suited to households with secure, well-fenced back gardens a dog can safely roam in whenever possible to really let off steam. They love being given something to do which in short means they would not be happy being cooped up in an apartment for any length of time.
Beaucerons hate being left on their own and suffer from separation anxiety when they are left to their own devices for longer periods of time which is why they much better suited to people who are familiar with the breed and who live active, outdoor lives.
A Beauceron typically only barks for a very good reason which is why they make such wonderful watchdogs.
Most Beaucerons love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a dog off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own. It is also very important to thoroughly dry a dog’s coat off once they have been swimming to prevent any allergies from flaring up.
Beaucerons are natural watchdogs and do not need to be trained to protect because it’s a trait that is deeply embedded in a dog’s psyche. They are courageous, bold and would readily take on anything they deem to be a threat which they do very seriously.
As previously mentioned, the Beauceron is an intelligent dog, but they mature very slowly not reaching full mental maturity until they are around 3 years old which needs to be taken into account when training them. In the right hands and with the correct amount of early socialisation and training, a Beauceron is a quick learner and they thoroughly enjoy the one-to-one connection they have with their owners during a training session.
As such, they excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience competitions to name but three of the sports the Beauceron is known to enjoy taking part in. However, they need to know their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household for them to be truly obedient dogs. A Beauceron is never happier than when they know who they can look to for direction and when they understand what their owners expect of them.
Like all puppies, Beaucerons are incredibly cute when young and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in new homes. As soon as a puppy is nicely settled owners must start out as they mean to go on by laying down ground rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them. It helps establish a pecking order and who the alpha dog is in the household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
Because the Beauceron boasts such a kind and placid nature, they make good family pets and fit in well in a family environment, loving nothing more than to be included in everything that goes on in a household. However, they are large dogs and as such any interaction between the children and a Beauceron should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone getting frightened or hurt.
If well socialised early enough in their lives, the Beauceron generally gets on well with other dogs. However, unless they have grown up with a cat in a household, care should always be taken when they are around other cats and smaller pets.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Beauceron is between 10 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Beauceron is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active, handsome dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Beauceron puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
As with other breeds, some Beauceron gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Beaucerons are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Beauceron breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions that are in place for all Kennel Club registered breeds, as of July 2010, the Kennel Club no longer registers Beauceron puppies that are whelped from tricolour to tricolour parents because of the health issues that are associated with the gene responsible for them being tricolour which can negatively impact a dog’s sight and hearing.
It is mandatory for all Kennel Club Assured Breeders to use the following health scheme on stud dogs and all other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club also strongly recommends that all breeders follow KC breeding guidelines which are as follows:
The Kennel Club also strongly advises that all breeders use the following scheme on stud dogs:
It is worth noting that the Kennel Club breed average COI for the Beauceron currently stands at 0.6%.
As with any other breed, Beaucerons need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Beauceron puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or, so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Beauceron puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out making them withdrawn, timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Beauceron puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Beauceron need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Beauceron in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older dogs need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Beauceron don't need the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
The Beauceron boasts having a coarse, thick double coat which they shed throughout the year. As such, they need to be brushed every week to keep their coats tidy and to remove any shed hair. Like other breeds, they tend to shed the most during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is generally needed to keep on top of things and any shed hair off the furniture.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Beauceron is an athletic, high energy dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with as much mental stimulation as possible to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. Ideally, a Beauceron needs 2 hour's exercise a day, but the more the better. They excel at all sorts of canine sports which includes agility trials, obedience competitions, flyball as well as herding and tracking events all of which are activities they thoroughly enjoy.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these energetic, handsome dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Beauceron puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this very reason.
If you get a Beauceron puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because the Beauceron is prone to suffer from bloat, it is really important that they be fed twice a day instead of giving them just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand to place their feed bowl which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down low to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more a risk of suffering from bloat.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Beauceron puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Beauceron should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Beauceron because there are so few puppies available every year, you may have to ask to be put on a breeder's waiting list. You would need to pay anything upwards of £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Beauceron in northern England would be £60.41 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £106.34 a month (quote as of October 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed amongst other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Beauceron and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1500 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Beauceron would be between £110 to £160 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Beauceron puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Finding well-bred Beauceron puppies can prove challenging with waiting lists being long and they can often command a lot of money. As such, with Beaucerons there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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