The Beauceron (pronounced "bow-ser-on") is the largest sheepdog breed of France, shares the same ancestry as the Briard, and dates back to the Renaissance era. They are also referred to as the French Shorthaired Shepherd, Beauce Shepherd, or Berger de Beauce, named after an area surrounding Paris called La Beauce. The ancestors of both the Beauceron and Briard ranged from medium-to-large in size and had coats that ranged from being short and smooth to shaggy. In the late 19th century, these dogs were separated based on the type of coat they had. The short and smooth-coated Beauceron gained popularity in their native France, while the shaggy-coated Briard rose in popularity throughout Europe and the United States. The Beauceron has been described as one of the most versatile dogs for their ability to adapt to any task at hand and was used for not only herding sheep and cattle but also as a guardian of property. With changes to modern society, the Beauceron is seen less in herding and more in police and military work. They saw service in both world wars as messengers, supply carriers, and mine detectors. Although still fairly rare in North America and other parts of Europe, the Beauceron is gaining popularity as a watchdog and companion.
Even though the Beauceron is large in size, they are also agile, strong, and graceful when herding. Their coat consists of a straight and coarse topcoat and a dense undercoat. An unusual feature of the breed is their double dewclaws that were believed to be used by the best of herders, but today, they serve no specific function. They have slightly oval-shaped eyes and their natural ears are half-pricked or dropped, while cropped ears are carried upright. The muzzle of the Beauceron is neither narrow or pointed, but well-proportioned with a black nose. Their tail is carried down when relaxed or carried higher during movement.
The Beauceron is a very active breed that is known for their herding skills and strong work ethic. They have been described as both reserved and courageous. Their history of interactions with humans has made them very protective of their owners, especially children, but they are not seen as aggressive or hostile. As herders, they are vigilant, confident, and hardy. Highly intelligent, the Beauceron is quick to learn and understand instructions if they have a firm, consistent owner. Proper socialization and obedience training are needed to curb the nipping and biting habits that this breed tends to form because of a natural instinct to herd. Due to the nipping, they are considered to do better with older children and other pets should be supervised until you know how your dog behaves in certain situations. However, Beaucerons can get along well with other animals if they are introduced and socialized from an early age. These hard-working dogs will require plenty of exercise, both mentally and physically, and are best suited for an active owner who loves to run or if they have access to a large, fenced area where they can run around in to get out their herding drives. Loyal and devoted, the Beauceron can make a great companion on and off the farm.