01 of 09
About the BeauceronA large dog with a commanding presence, the Beauceron is often mistaken for a mixed breed of Rottweiler and German Shepherd parentage. Well-muscled and strongly built, the Beauceron is not bulky in any way, but instead presents a balanced and proportioned appearance. He carries his head proudly, and his tail is carried down forming a "J", except when running, when it is carried almost straight out from his body.
The Beauceron comes in two color combinations: black and tan, and harlequin... (a mix of grey, black, and tan). His most distinctive feature is his hind double dewclaws, forming a pair of independant "thumbs" on his rear legs.
02 of 09Developed solely in France, the Beauceron is the largest French sheepdog, and possibly one of the oldest as well, with possible mentions in historical documents dating as far back as the 1500's. He is known by many names: Beauceron, Berger de Beauce (shepherd of Beauce), and bas Rouge (red stockings).
The Beauceron was virtually unknown outside of France until the second World War, and was fully inducted into the American Kennel Club's Herding Group on June 27, 2007. February 11, 2008,... will mark the Beauceron's first year of entry into the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
03 of 09
04 of 09
The Beauceron at a GlanceHeight .............. 24 - 27.5 inches
Weight .............. 70 - 110 pounds
Colors .............. Black and tan; harlequin
Ears ................ set high on the head, can be cropped or not.
Tail ................ Long, with a thick base, carried down, and forming a "J" when at rest.
Coat ................ Short, no more than an 1.5 inches in length; coarse and dense
Grooming ............. Minimal grooming necessary, but don't forget those hind double dewclaws!
Temperament ......... Watchful,... loyal, and protective without aggression; pack-oriented and energetic.
Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
The Beauceron's TemperamentAn intelligent dog, the Beauceron is often described by owners as an independent thinking dog. He is highly trainable, and fiercely loyal, willing to follow his people into the worst of situations. It is this trait that made him an exceptional military dog in both world wars, and a dependable partner in law enforcement today.
Courageous but cautious, the Beauceron should be approachable, but not overly eager to make new friends, instead reserving judgment, and holding strangers at arm's... length. He is a tolerant dog with children, affectionate with his family, and protective of his flock, both human and animal. Shyness or undue aggression is not acceptable in this breed.
06 of 09
Family Life with BeauceronsHaving a Beauceron isn't just a commitment to having a dog in your home, it's a commitment to allowing somebody to follow you around all day, so close that you trip if you turn around too fast, slip in the bathroom behind you before you can shut the door, and take over a large portion of the bed if you let him. In short, you agree to acquire a shadow along with all the other responsibilities of a dog.
Beautifully mannered in the home, protective of his family, and extremely tolerant with... children, the Beauceron adds "exceptional family dog" to his already lengthy resume.
07 of 09
About My Beaucerons
I've written about my own Beaucerons, Kari and Raider, all over the About.com Dogs site. I've complained about their teething stages, and I've called Kari my dancing Dog, and I've shared part of Raider's journey with his canine hip dysplasia.
I have never regretted bring Beaucerons into the family, and I would do it again in an instant.
08 of 09
09 of 09
About Herding & Stock Breeds in GeneralLivestock and herding dogs, pride, nobility, bravery, and loyalty all rolled up into one animal. The desire to keep their "flock" together, be it children, the neighbourhood cats, or sheep, oftimes frustrates the owner, but it is what they were bred for. The drive to work in these dogs is strong and they need to be given a job to do in order to at peace with themselves.
Like many dogs, herding breeds can be destructive and irritating when bored. Lots of exercise is the key to a happy and... healthy herder.