The Beauceron is the largest of the French sheepdogs. Though almost unknown
outside of France, the Beauceron has a long history. It is a very old breed
developed solely in France with no foreign crosses. It is thought that a
passage in a manuscript, written in 1578, is the first specific mention of a
dog of the Beauceron's description.
The Beauceron was a general-purpose dog. Worked and selected for a very
long time, the Beauceron was used to drive and protect the herd (Sheep or
Cattle), guard the house, and defend the family. Originating in the plains
region surrounding Paris known as La Beauce, the Beauceron is also known as
Berger de Beauce (Shepherd of the Beauce) or Bas Rouge (Red Stockings). The
Beauceron is closely related to it's long-haired cousin, the Briard or Berger de Brie.
Societe Central Canine was founded in 1882, and it registered
in the Livres Origines Francais (LOF) the first 'Berger de Beauce' in
September 1893. Bergere de la Chapelle, born in 1891 obtained the title
of Champion of Beauty.
Toward the end of the 1800s, M. Pierre Megnin differentiated between the Shepherd
of the Brie and the Shepherd of Beauce. Assisted by M. Emmanuel Ball,
M. Pierre Megnin started to define the standard of the breed. In 1922, the
Club des Amis du Beauceron was formed under the guidance of the respected
M. Pierre Megnin.
The Beauceron was also used by the French army. Their ability to follow
commands without hesitation was well utilized during both wars in Europe,
where the military used them on the front lines to run messages. Beaucerons
were also used to pick up trails, detect mines and support commando activity.
Today Beaucerons are still used as military dogs as well as police dogs.
In the 1960s the Ministry for Agriculture required that the S.C.C. create
a confirmation examination with the goal of preserving the qualities of the
ancient sheepdogs. There were concerns that because
of the demands of modern day life, the Beauceron breed could well disappear. Fortunately,
the adaptable Beauceron found work in protecting the home and family of
his master, despite the disappearing flocks.
The last modification to the standard for the Beauceron was in 1965 and
has been applied since 1972**. The 5 year wait period made it possible for the
breeders to adapt their breeding stock to the new standard. This is only the
5th time the standard has changed in 100 years.
Since the Sixties, the Beauceron's popularity has grown in France. But it
wasn't until recently the breed has become known outside of France. The
Beauceron is gaining in popularity in many different countries.
** UPDATE The French made another modification to
the Standard 11/29/2001. You can view the latest standard in different
languages from the Standard page.