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You will hear Beauceron owners constantly use the word “versatility”. We believe the Beauceron is the most versatile of all dogs. The Beauceron has not only proved itself an outstanding herder of cattle and sheep, but also has excelled in all areas such as therapy, protection, Schutzhund, French Ring, scent detection, agility, pulling, skijoring/mushing, patrol work, and as war dogs to name only a few. “Rustic” is another word you will hear Beauceron fanciers use. Rustic is defined as rural, simple, or plain, in other words –no frills. When a Beauceron walks into a room, it commands attention, a large dog, not too sleek, ears erect, eyes bright, almost wolf like. Part of the rustic scene with the Beauceron owners is the way they show their dogs. There is no stacking in the ring, and the dogs are shown on a loose lead. Beauceron handlers are often asked to trot their dogs for extended periods of time in the show ring. Why extended trotting sessions? In its rustic setting as a herder, the Beauceron was, and is required to move to 30 miles a day, acting as a “living fence” around a flock, or herd. The “Beauceron trot” is an extension of the normal trot in which the dog’s back becomes lower, its legs extend, and the feet barely skim the ground. If in the show ring two Beaucerons are tied structurally, the first place dog will be the animal who is judged to hold and have the best “Beauceron trot”.
Yes the Beauceron is a shepherd, but not a gatherer. Folks who purchase a Beauceron and expect the dog to gather sheep like a Border Collie will be very disappointed. The Beauceron is a Continental herder, and must be trained to perform herding chores. The Beauceron will not go out naturally and herd sheep around a pen. The Beauceron has an affinity for stock, but will not gather stock or balance a flock/herd instinctively. (If you desire to know more, research Continental herding).
Beaucerons go through a unique process in reaching breed goals. This process begins when the dog is at least one year old, and is presented to more than one judge at a Journee du Beauceron (a day of the Beauceron) in the US, this is the equivalent to a Regional show in France. At the Journee, the dog is first measured with a “toise”, an instrument that takes extremely accurate measurements at specific points on a dog’s body. The Beauceron’s measurements are recorded, and the dog moves on to the next station, here the animal goes “one on one” with a very experienced judge, who examines the dog meticulously, and checks its movement. At this juncture, the judge is insuring the Beauceron meets the standard. The Beauceron and its handler then move on to the next station –Temperament Testing. Here an experienced working dog judge, who is well versed in reading the dog’s body language, will fire shots, threaten the dog with a baton, and observe the dog’s interaction with the judge and its handler. The Beaucerons to this point have been measured, judged to insure they meet the standard, and have been temperament tested. During the judging and testing the dogs have been rated insufficient, good, very good, or excellent. Only dogs rated excellent in conformation, and temperament move on to the final step, that of competing in various classes i.e. young male, working dog, open male, open female etc… All Beaucerons in this phase are rated against the standard, and as mentioned before are trotted for an extended period of time. The dog most exemplifying the standard and with the best trot wins! All Beaucerons entering this final ring phase are awarded a Cotation 3.
Owning a Beauceron
Beaucerons are big working dogs ranging from 70 to 110 lbs. in weight. They enjoy their exercise, and are extremely athletic. If you want a Beauceron and do not have much room outdoors, or live in a apartment, a smaller female is recommended. If you are not an experienced trainer, and are not going to use the dog in one of the hard working sports, Ring, Schutzhund, Protection, stay away from high drive males. You are asking for trouble with extremely dominant puppies, unless you know what you are doing. Dominant male puppies which can be handled as pups, become dominant male dogs which cannot be handled as adults. Without a working outlet, dominant large males cause major problems, especially if you think you are going to use the dog in a protection role. So think before you buy!
Buying a Beauceron
(Before you go out to meet with a breeder, you should take a look at our Before You Buy.
Beauceron puppy prices vary, depending on whether they are pet or show quality, and their inherited working potential. Do not be fooled by the cheaper dogs, they or their sire and/or dam probably have problems. Beauceron puppies may or may not come with their ears cropped. They should have their initial puppy shots, be wormed (initial dose), and have ALL their papers. If you are going to purchase a Beauceron without papers, you might as well go rescue a “pound puppy”. Any breed without papers cannot be shown or ethically bred.
You can get a real good idea of what a puppy will look like as an adult if you see its sire and dam. You will normally see the dam with her pups, but the stud may be in France or clear across the US. Ask to see pictures of the stud, make sure they show front, side, and backside. This is critical if you intend to breed your pup when it becomes an adult. Good pedigrees do not mean good conformation. Make sure you at least see the pictures to make an informed buying decision. Of course, you should insure that both the sire and dam have been x-rayed. The Beauceron is not prone to hip dysplasia, but there are some lines out there with lax hips. Ask to see proof of x-ray results. Beaucerons shed, they are double coated, and you will find their black overcoat hair on furniture, and in fur balls in your hallway, be advised. Excessive shyness and aggression can be inherited traits. Again observe the parents, and observe the pups if they are overly shy, beware. There are puppy mills out there. Determine how many breeds the seller of your future puppy is involved in breeding. If more than two breeds, beware, you are probably in a puppy mill. Insure the sire and dam have been “Confirmed” by a French judge, and ask to see the French papers, a reputable breeder will have them. “Confirmation” insures the sire and dam fall within the standard, and demonstrate all the Beauceron characteristics. The bottom line is, study the breed standard, observe the sire and dam, go to shows where you can see and talk to the owners of some good Beaucerons, and most of all, do not believe half of what you get off the Internet about the Beauceron.
If you see Beauceron, rare breed, and dollar signs, you are not the first person to try to ride the breed for the big bucks. The big bucks are not there, as several people have discovered after investing in a “breeding pair”. Your initial outlay for the purchase of a stud or brood bitch are just the beginning. You better have at least $ 3,000.00 more to put out per litter. If you do not believe this figure check out stud fees, transportation of the bitch, ear cropping for the puppies, initial shots and worming, feeding of the puppies and the adult(s) with quality food, advertising, registration of the litter, and all this is if no problems occur. If there are delivery problems with the pups, then be prepared for a large Vet bill! The Beauceron is not a flashy film star Dalmatian, or a cute wrinkled up Shar Pei. There is not a big demand for Beaucerons. So do not look on the breed as your gateway to fortune. People who truly want this tremendous, versatile breed of dog, desire quality dogs, not a none standard, none working dog, bred under the most uninformed conditions, to supplement someone’s income.