One of the oldest French breeds, the Beauceron is descended from ancient Sylvans and other eastern Molossers, brought to the region over 2000 years ago. Fanciers believe that the breed remained unchanged since the 1500's, although in the past the Beauceron and the bearded Briard were considered to be the same dog, separated only by coat type. Like other common herding dogs of Western Europe, they went under the name of "Continental Shepherd Dog", but in 1897 the French Shepherd Club was formed for the Beauceron and the Briard. In 1911 these two breeds received separate recognition and the first Berger de Beauce Club was established in 1922. Since then, periodical matings with Dobermans, German Shepherds and other working breeds of similar basic type had helped broaden the initial gene pool and improve the Beauceron's working qualities and trainability, resulting in the versatile and capable breed we know today. The modern Beauceron is a serious, brave and rugged working dog, traditionally used for herding and protecting livestock, guarding property, various hunting duties, as well as Police and Military work. Presently, it can be seen competing in Schutzhund, French Ring, Agility, Tracking, Skijoring and Obedience trials, as well as still maintaing the role of a prized service dog in France. The Beauceron is a truly wonderful working breed, slowly gaining acceptance and popularity outside of its native country.
This is a noble and reliable breed, loving of its master and protective of its property. Intelligent, trainable and calm, it makes a good family companion, but it needs plentiful space and excercise. It can be unfriendly towards strange dogs, needing proper socialization. One of the key physical traits of the Beauceron is the presence of double dewclaws, as are found on the Briard and some other French breeds. The ears are usually cropped, but can be seen in their natural state as well.
The coat is dense, flat and moderately harsh, coming in the popular "Bas Rouge" black-n-tan coluring and the tricolour look called the Harlequin, which is similar to the Bas Rouge (Red Stockings), but instead of black, it has the gray/blue mottled merle markings. Uniform black, tan and grey dogs exist as well, but aren't as valued as the the popular black-n-tan representatives. No white markings are allowed, except for a small white spot on the chest, regardless of coat colour. Average height is around 27 inches.