“Noble” and “bucolic” are the two terms that Collette, a famous writer, chose to describe her Beauceron. This definition can still be applied to them nowadays and it seems difficult to find a better one. We only need to look at our standing Beauceron proudly guarding his herd or home to appreciate its nobility. Rural, reserved, deeply involved with its owner, serious and a lover of hard work.
We must never forget that the Beauce Shepherd Dog is an animal which possesses a proud and haughty appearance and temper. Any attempt at unnecessary pressure made towards it will simply seem to it as unacceptable. On the contrary, if its owner is fair towards it, it will take pains to please its owner with the maximum of satisfactions. A loving stroke or a smile will be the best of rewards.
Another two qualities we can add to our picture of the Beauceron are prudence and bravery.
Prudent and serious. This dog knows that it has a duty, a mission it must accomplish; either to guard the house, the children, its owners or its herd, find the track of a missing child or a lost sheep. All of these it will carry out by means of its intelligence and, besides, its prudence and wisdom.
Its bravery will become evident whenever the occasion calls for it. It will solve, in all cases, all the problems it faces, without the need for its owner ´s instructions.
But there is yet another quality that is seldom mentioned; the steadiness of its temper. If it shows good temper during its younger years there will not be abrupt changes which might turn it from one day to the other into an aggressive animal.
Just like some wise men who speak only when necessary, the Beauceron is a dog that barks very little and only when it is inevitable.
Whenever we speak about a breed of dogs, we emphasize its qualities; it is faithful, it is sweet – tempered... But it is always important to know how to speak about its usual flaws to be able to choose best the breed that will suit all our needs. We also add information about its most prestigious ancestors to bear witness of the breed’s great skills. But there is one aspect which is seldom mention; its health.
The Beauce Sheepdog is a dog which until only a few years ago was in the hands of shepherds who needed an animal that could undertake hard tasks every day in a working year. A shepherd could not afford to have a useless dog that would not be able to comply with this daily routine.
During the years this led to a strict selection by means of which all those specimens which were sickly, aggressive, weak, unable to walk well, with eye problems, etc. were discarded. The most solid, steady and brave specimens were preferred and these were the ancestors of our present Beauceron. In the past, the shepherds in France covered extremely long distances which has turned this dog into a tireless and tough companion, as they had to trot for more than one hundred kilometers to carry out their task (fight wolves and thieves and lead the herd so that no sheep would get lost)
All these factors have determined that this dog should be strong, tough, healthy, obedient, endowed with a good sense of smell, an incorruptible fighter and a very faithful animal.
The first standard of the breed was established in the year1987, during a dog show in Angerville.
In 1923, considering that what had been detailed in the first standard was not satisfactory or precise enough, a new one is established, which is then admitted by the French Central Canine.
Later, in 1955, a modification in the size is introduced.
And it is in 1965 when the 1923 standard is improved even further, determining exactly all the penalization and disqualification items better, remaining the standard of the breed as we know it today.
In the past, a great variety of coat colors were admitted for this breed but, as we see in the present standard, today one two combinations are allowed; black and tan and harlequin.
I will take the liberty of quoting here a text from a literary work that was an authority in its own time. It is “The New Rural Home” or “The General Economy” by Liger. This publication, in its eighth edition was printed by Claude Prudhomme in 1762, which gives us an idea of how long this breed has been rendering its services to mankind.
In order for shepherd dogs to defend their herd well, both during the day as during the night, they must be armed with a good collar provided with nails. They must be chosen among the most vivacious and brave when they are one year old, and they should have a big size , great strength, a good coat, black eyes and muzzles, deep red lips, sharp teeth, big ears and head, wide apart and long toes, short and hard nails, a thick tail and a well – shaped body, a loud voice like thunder, big white and tawny jaws, which will make them different from the wolf. Those dogs which have done hunting activities will never make good sheep keepers, as their instinct is directed only to hunting and they neglect their herd. Shepherd dogs must always be fed with the herd, whether this be on the farm or in the fields: They must be fed on bread and sometimes they must be given bones to gnaw in order to sharpen up their teeth and provide them with strong jaws that will make them fearful, but above all, they must never be fed on sheep or lamb meat for fear that they might like its taste and consequently start killing or maltreating the sheep, a flaw that would prove too difficult to counteract in the future. We must teach them to perform efficiently...”
The above description corresponds perfectly with the Beauce Sheepdog. It does have dangling ears, what happens is that they are later cropped. And in the past, it used to have a white patch on its chest and some other parts of its body to make it look different from the wolf.
JOSE MARIA OLIVAR SANCHEZ
(Beauce Shepherd Dog amateur)