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The Beauceron Dog Breed - The Incredible History



The Beauceron dog breed - the incredible history
For those who have just recently discovered the Beauceron, it might seem that the breed is a relative newcomer to the United States. In fact, ancestors of the Beauceron probably came to the New World with French Canadian settlers- later migrating (Acadians) to the Louisiana area with their 'proto-Beaucerons.' Those early dogs, co-mingled with other dogs, likely became the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Additionally, the Marquis de Lafayette made a gift to Thomas Jefferson of two French Shepherd dogs...ancestors of the Beauceron? The breed has continued to travel to the US with various visitors and transplanted French citizens, and its presence here has been noticed since the early 1960s and steadily gaining numbers and recognition. The rare breed show opportunities and various working disciplines have showcased the Beauceron and its talents and notice is being taken. The Beauceron has also been profiled as a featured breed and mini-profile in Dog Fancy and 'cover dog' on Dog World magazine. 

The earliest record of what is believed to be the breed of dog now known as the Beauceron, isgravure.jpg (29709 bytes) found in a Renaissance manuscript recorded in the year 1578. It is believed that this breed was originally domesticated and employed as large game hunting dogs (bear, boar and stag) and from these duties took easily to the tasks of flock guardian and herd dog. The Beauceron's role as esteemed companion and protector is also recorded in royal portraits, where they are portrayed as companions to kings.

The Beauceron was included in the first French Canine Exposition held in Paris in 1863 by the Imperial Society of Acclimation, and in 1897 the first club for "chiens de berger" (herding dogs) was formed. During this period, both the Beauceron and the Briard were considered to be one breed with different coat types. In 1911 a separate club for the Beauceron was formed and the breeds divided. This club, Club les Amis du Beauceron continues its stewardship of the breed today in France.

It is not surprising that the Beauceron is almost unknown outside of France, as it is truly rare by any standard. At present, there are perhaps 7,000 in the world, although the French stud books have recorded less than 80,000 since their recognition nearly a century ago. To add to this picture, the breed has faced near extinction twice during this century because of both world wars. Most recently, the breed was rebuilt following World War II primarily from approximately 50 select specimens. In the United States, the breed is a relative newcomer, with estimates placing their numbers between 350-500,with breeding  quality stock numbering far fewer. In France Beauceron must be confirmed (a detailed conformation evaluation) and pass a character test (general comportment, conduct under gunfire and attack on the handler) with acceptable ratings being Excellent (awarded only when a dog is exceptional for his age) and Tres Bon awarded when the dog is generally correct and excelling in courage.) In the United States, breed clubs require a passing breed survey and hip certification for obtaining breeding status.

Like other breeds in the herding group, the Beauceron is very versatile andVOLTIGEUR.JPG (21610 bytes) easy to train for a variety of tasks besides herding. Beauceron also serve as military dogs, police dogs, assistance and therapy dogs, as well as family companions and protectors. They are noted for their intelligence ,easy trainability and excellent memories. They are obedient, loyal and keen observers. A Beauceron is very protective of all the persons and property of their home, and are very tolerant or other animals residing with them. They are territorial, and will defend their turf from intruders.

The Beauceron is a large dog, that gives the impression of strength and agility. They can stand 26-27 1/2" and weigh 100#.They are an upstanding dog, basically square in proportion, and of moderate angulation. They possess double dew claws on each rear leg, carry cropped ears high on their heads, have dark eyes and a long tail (at least to the hock) that is carried down with a slight j' near the end. The coat is short and double (much like a Rottweiler.) The Beauceron is recognized in two colors : the black and rust bi-color and harlequin' in which the black is merled with gray. No color preference is stated in the French Breed Standard, accepted by FCI.


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