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The History of the Beauceron

The Country Gentleman

 

A working dog, herding dog, and family companion; the Beauceron was bred to do it all. A breed exclusively developed in France, the Berger de Beauce (also nicknamed Bas Rouge) history dates back to the late 1500s. In 1809, Abbé Rozier wrote an article on French herding dogs, in which he described the differences in type between the Beauceron and their closest relative, the Briard. It is here that the two breeds were separated by the tems Berger de Brie and Berger de Beauce for the first time. During its early development, the Beauceron was a general farm dog. Their daily tasks consisted of tending hundreds of head of sheep, protecting them from predators, and moving them from pasture to pasture for them to graze throughout the day. For generations, the Beauceron was rarely seen in the cities and only used in the rural regions of France. As those rural regions were urbanized, pastures became cross-fenced and the need for a tending Beauceron severely diminished. In order to save the breed from extinction, the Club les Amis du Beauceron (CAB) was formed to guide the development of the breed and maintain their herding heritage.


In mid- 20th century, Beaucerons became very popular due to their usage during the two World Wars. During the wars, Beaucerons were used to send messages between soldiers, detect mines in mine fields, and search and recover lost soldiers on the battle field. Their extreme versatility and adaptability made them excellent candidates for these war dog jobs and eventually sparked the interest of sport fanciers after the wars.

Due to their reputation during the wars as fearless guardians, Beaucerons were diversified to be used in various sports, one of which being French Ring. French Ring is a defense sport developed in France to test and evaluate a dog’s obedience, jumping, and protection capabilities. A successful French Ring dog embodies a stable temperament, a stable mind, and well put together body. Contrary to appearances, although they bite, French Ring and other defense sports do not develop aggressiveness. Play is used to teach the dog to bite and a Beauceron who practices these sports should also be able to perfectly adapt to social life within your family.

Another activity that the Beauceron has been adapted to is detection/Search and Rescue. The utilization of Beaucerons for mine detection and the searching of lost soldiers sparked the interest of many people to continue utilizing the Beauceron for Search and Rescue as well as detection. Today, many Beaucerons are still used for Urban and Wilderness Search and Rescue/Recovery as well as military or police work detecting explosives, narcotics, and other substances.


While the Beauceron has definitely been diversified to accomplish many things, it is still a herding dog at its core. “The Country Gentleman,” as described by the French writer Colette, is “affectionate, playful, superb with children, absolutely and deeply attached to their masters.” Their eagerness to please allows them to excel not only in their native tending style of herding but in herding all types of stock in multiple different ways. Today you can see Beaucerons competing alongside the top Border Collies in gathering sheep and the next day driving cattle with the Australian Cattle Dogs.

 
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