Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Beauceron
Average Cost to keep/care for a Beauceron
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. However, they are extremely intelligent and high energy characters and therefore need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation 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.
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.
During World War I and II, the Beauceron came into their own when they were used to take messages to and from the front and to rescue injured soldiers. They were also used to find land mines in the field which saved many men from being killed or injured in the line of duty earning themselves the reputation for being reliable and trustworthy dogs.
A breed standard was finally arrived at in 1922 and this same year an official French breed club was established for the Beauceron. 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.
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 are as follows:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 £58.29 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £104.15 a month (quote as of June 2016). 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 or not they have been neutered or spayed.
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 all 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 pedigree puppy.
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