The name Beauceron refers to the plains around Paris, and the alternative name of Bas Rouge refers to the tan markings on the dog’s legs.


The Beauceron is a long-tailed, short-coated herding dog that has been busy working in the French countryside for centuries. It is a fierce-looking dog, especially in the cases where its ears have been brutally cropped to form sharp, vertical points. It was well described by one author as having a superficial resemblance to a cross between a Dobermann and a German Shepherd. In modern times, with an increasing distaste for cosmetic mutilations, its ears are left intact and hang down to give the dog a softer, less intimidating appearance.

The typical colour-pattern of this breed is black-and-tan, but there is also a rare harlequin form. According to ancient superstition, these useless appendages are of great value to the dog, and this fanciful belief has survived even into modern times. As a result a Beauceron lacking this trivial feature is disqualified from any competition.


The first mention of the breed dates from a manuscript of 1587, but it did not acquire its breed title of Berger de Beauce until 1809, when attempts were being made to separate the then rather variable French herders into distinct types. The short-haired ones were named after the Beauce region, and the long-haired ones after the Brie district.

In 1900 the Beauceron made its first appearance at a dog show and in 1911 its first specialist breed club was formed. During the two World Wars it fared better than many other breeds because it proved of great value to the military. It was employed by them in the dangerous task of carrying messages to the front lines and even ran the gauntlet of enemy fire with replacement ammunition belts strapped to its athletic body. In more recent years, towards the end of the 20th century, the popularity of this dog spread to Belgium, Holland, Germany and, in a small way, the United States, but its major stronghold remains its French homeland, where it is increasingly used as a guard dog or for police work.


If badly handled by its owner it can sometimes become a problem dog, but if well trained it remains a loyal and fearless companion. A sensitive owner can control his Beauceron with no more than a disapproving word and, by gentle training, can create a faithful, intelligent dog that is always eager to please. Harsh training simply does not work with this breed and can easily produce a neurotic misfit.

French author Colette was a great admirer of this breed, calling it "un gentilhomme campagnard" – a country gentleman – but another enthusiast went even further, giving it the title of "king of sheepdogs". With accolades such as these, it is surprising that it has not become more popular worldwide.

Gallery of Beauceron