The Breed History
The Beauceron is a distinctly French herding dog, with records going back to 1578. In 1863, Pierre Megnin differentiated, with precision, two types of these sheep dogs: one with a long coat, which became known as the Berger de Brie (Briard), the other with a short coat, which is known as the Berger de Beauce (Beauceron). The bread was accepted for AKC registration in 2007.
Breeding for Function
The Beauceron gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness; exhibiting the strength, endurance and agility required of the herding dog. The whole conformation is a well balanced, solid dog of good height and well muscled without heaviness or coarseness. The dog is alert and energetic with a noble carriage. The Beauceron is the preferred herding dog for sheep and cattle in France.
Height at Withers: female 24 to 26.5" (61-67 cm), male 25.5 to 27.5" (65-70 cm).
Weight: females 80-95 lb (36-43 kg), males 90-110 lb (41-50 kg).
Coat: Outer coat is 1.25" to 1.5", coarse, dense and lying close to the body. It is short and smooth on the head, ears and lower legs. The hair is somewhat longer around the neck. Acceptable coat colors are: Black and Rust, Black and Tan, Grey Black and Tan, and Harlequin.
Longevity: 10-12 years.
Points of Conformation: The Beauceron is medium in all its proportions. The length of body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is slightly greater than the height at the withers. The head must be in proportion with the body, measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput it is about 40% of the height at the withers. The eyes are horizontal and slightly oval in shape, and dark brown. The ears are set high, and may be cropped (upright) or natural. The skull is flat or slightly rounded near the sides of the head. The muzzle must not be narrow, pointed, or excessively broad in width. The lips are well pigmented. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The tail is strong at the base, carried down, descending at least to the point of the hock, forming into a slight J without deviating to the right or to the left. The feet are large, round, and compact with black nails. Hind double dewclaws form well separated "thumbs" with nails, placed rather close to the foot. Movement is fluid and effortless, covering ground in long reaching strides (extended trot).
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
The Beauceron should be discerning and confident. He is a dog with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient. The Beauceron possesses an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please his master. He retains a high degree of his inherited instinct to guard home and master. Although he can be reserved with strangers, he is loving and loyal to those he knows. Some will display a certain independence. He should be easily approached without showing signs of fear.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Merle Coat Color: Caused by a dominant mutation in the SILV gene. Breeding two merle dogs together should be avoided, as homozygous dogs can be born with multiple defects, including blindness, deafness, and heart anomalies.
Harlequin Coat Color: Genetic studies on the harlequin coat color in Beaucerons have not been carried out. However, the harlequin coat color in Great Danes is due to the combined action of a dominant gene H with the merle gene M in the genotype HhM+. The H gene is a prenatal lethal when homozygous HH, so all Harlequin Great Danes are heterozygous Hh.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 14.7% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. OFA reports 5.5% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Beaucerons have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 4.0% positive for thyroid autoantibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Gastric Dilation/Volvulus (GDV, Bloat): Polygenically inherited, life-threatening twisting of the stomach within the abdomen. Requires immediate veterinary attention. Reported as a breed problem on the Beauceron Club of Canada website.
Dermatomyositis-like Disease: Juvenile-onset (usually by 6 months of age) disease that initially presents with papules, pustules, and vesicles eventuating in crusted erosions, ulcers, and alopecia. Chronically affected Beaucerons show scarring, and either hyper or hypopigmentation. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Epidermolysis Bullosa: Cutaneous blistering in response to trauma. Junctional form: Affected Beaucerons show crusted papules and erosions in genital region and at mucocutanoeuos junctions at 6 weeks. Spreads to face, pinnae, medial thighs, perianal regions, feet and tail.
Ocular Disorders: Too few Beaucerons have been CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists to determine accurate frequencies for inherited ocular disorders. Entropion, ectropion, and progressive retinal atrophy are reported.
Inhalant Allergies are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): A six-year-old female Beauceron presented with purulent nasal and ocular discharges, skin lesions (including seborrhea, hyperkeratotic areas, and papules as well as ecchymoses around the eyes, on both sides of the pinnae, and on the vulva), generalized lymph node enlargement, a mitral murmur, and lameness. Serum testing identified antinuclear antibody (ANA) and antidoublestranded-desoxyribonucleic acid (ds-DNA) antibody, confirmed SLE. She had concurrent generalized bacterial infections.
Tests of Genotype: None available.
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: Hip radiographs, CERF eye examination (yearly from age 2 to 8), and echocardiogram by a cardiologist. Recommended tests include elbow radiographs, thyroid profile including autoantibodies (annually until age 5, then every other year), and von Willebrand's disease test. Recommend patella evaluation.
- Breed name synonyms: Berger de Beauce, Bas Rouge, Beauce Shepherd.
- Registries: AKC, UKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club), NKC (National Kennel Club), FCI.
- AKC rank (year 2008): 139 (117 dogs registered.)
- Internet resources: American Beauceron Club: www.beauce.org
Beauceron Club UK: www.beauceronclubuk.com
The Beauceron Club in Canada: www.beauceronscanada.com
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