Berger de Beauce
The elegant and powerful Beauceron is an ancient French breed that some call the 'king of sheep-dogs.' A good herding dog is not trained to round up sheep; it does so instinctively. But because a dog's herding and hunting instincts are intertwined, a sheep-dog is likely to handle its flock roughly-as prey-unless trained otherwise. The Beauceron's hunting instinct is particularly fierce and close to the surface, and that is why a well trained Berger de Beauce makes a superlative shepherd: with no hesitation it takes the offensive against straying sheep or encroaching strangers.
The Beauceron is mainly found in Continental Europe where, during the last century, it was responsible for containing sheep within pastures and for herding them along roads. Since only two dogs were necessary to control 200 to 300 sheep, they were indispensable on farms where manpower was limited. Since then, industries have spread to the countryside, claiming large chunks of open pasture, and animal husbandry has become scientific. Today, the Beauceron's job as a sheep-dog is limited to escorting flocks from one fold to another.
The dog's hunting instincts are increasingly valued, however, With its quick reflexes, readiness to attack, and deep-seated mistrust of strangers, it is an ideal guard dog. Not even another dog should stray into its territory-the Beauceron will lunge at its throat.
But such spontaneity and natural aggressiveness- some say viciousness and brutality-are tempered by unconditional loyalty to its master and an aptitude for obedience. The trick is to train this intelligent dog carefully. Its independent disposition makes it very difficult to control, and it does not readily accept changes of hand. Some Beaucerons, if poorly handled or unloved, can prove extremely dangerous, and no amount of discipline or affection can condition this dog to accept city life. Yet if raised at the same time as the master's children, A Beauceron can prove to be an affectionate and protective pet.
Origin of Beauceron
Contrary to widely held opinion ion, the name 'Beauceron' does
not mean that the breed origj nated in the Beauce region of France , any more than the name 'Briard' specifies Brie as that sheep-dog's place of origin. Both of these dogs-one short. haired, the other long-haired belong to an ancient family of shepherding dogs once found throughout France . Although separate breeds, each of long and pure lineage, the Beauceron and Briard were considered virtually the same animal until the late 1800s, when a c ommission of scientists and veterinarians differentiated between them. The names were arbitrarily conferred at that time.
Characteristics of Beauceron
General apearance: S olid, powerfully built, muscular but not heavy. Supple and relaxed bearing. This tough, intimidating sheep-dog bears some resemblance to the Dobermann Pinscher.
Height: 61 to 70 cm (24 to 27 ½ in.)
Weight : not specified.
Head: long, flat or slightly rounded skull. Barely defined stop. Slightly
convex muzzle neither narrow nor pointed. Tight, highly colored lips. Strong, well-formed teeth in scissor bite. Nose well developed, never split ,always black.
Eyes: horizontal, round, dark, but may be lighter in pale dogs.
Ears: set high. Rather flat and short. Under F.C.I. standards, may be cropped and carried erect, pointing slightly forward.
Neck: muscular. No dewlap.
Body: oblique, medium-long sloping shoulders. Broad, deep brisket level back. Broad and taut loin, croup slightly sloping.
Tail: carried low, falling at least to the point of the hock, slightly hooking at the tip.
Forequarters: legs muscular and trim, well balanced.
Hindquarters: legs well balanced. Strong hocks. Double dew-claws.
Feet: strong, round, hard. Flexible pads. Black nails.
Coat : very short on head, a bit longer on the back. Strong, thick, dense, and flat on the body. Undercoat very short, fine, dense, downy, preferably mouse-gray.
Color: Black with tan (squirrel red) markings below the eyes, on the muzzle, chest, throat, feet, and under the tail. Also black, red, gray, or gray and tan.
Faults: skull flat or too round. Stop too pronounced, or no stop. Head too small or too heavy. Eyes too light. Poor ear carriage. Incomplete set of teeth. Brisket too cylindrical. Short or curled tail. Coat too short or too long. Squat feet. Single dew-claws. Extensive white markings on the upper chest; tan markings too plentiful or poorly distributed.
Practical information about Beauceron
The Beauceron is temperamentally unsuited for urban life, though it seldom suffers from health problems. Check to make sure the dew-claws do not become ingrown. A dog that lives outdoors should be brushed briskly every day; if it is damp, dry the dog with a towel and brush again. The Beauceron is slow to mature, and training will, therefore, be ineffective if it is begun before the dog is two years old.