Beauce Sheepdog

FCI standard Nº 44

Origin
France
Translation
John Miller, Raymond Triquet
Group
Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section
Section 1 Sheepdogs
Working
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Monday 25 November 1963
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 01 August 2023
Last update
Tuesday 19 September 2023
En français, cette race se dit
Berger de Beauce
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Berger de Beauce
En español, esta raza se dice
Pastor de Beauce
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Berger de Beauce

Usage

Sheepdog and Guard Dog.

Brief historical summary

"Beauce Dog", "Beauceron" and "Red-Stocking" were the names chosen at the end of the XIX century to designate these ancient French Sheepdogs of the plains, all of the same type, with smooth hair on the head, a harsh, short coat and ears normally cropped. The body had tan markings, notably at the extremities of the four legs, which led the breeders at that time to call these dogs "Red-Stockings". The coat was commonly black and tan but there were also grey, entirely black and even wholly tan dogs. These dogs were bred and selected for their aptitude to conduct and guard flocks of sheep.

General appearance

The Beauce Sheepdog is big, solid, hardy, powerful, well built and muscular, but without lumber.

Important proportions

The Beauce Sheepdog is medium in all its proportions. The length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock should be slightly greater than the height at the withers.
The head is long : 2/5 the height at the withers. The height and width of the head are slightly less than half its total length. The skull and muzzle are of equal length.

Behaviour / temperament

Frank approach and self-assured. The expression is candid, never mean timid or worried. The character of the Beauceron should be gentle and fearless.

Head

Cranial region

Head
The head is well chiselled with harmonious lines. Seen in profile, the top lines of skull and muzzle lie roughly in parallel planes.
Skull
Flat or slightly rounded from one side to the other. The median groove is only slightly marked, the occipital protuberance can be seen on the summit of the skull. 
Stop
The stop is only slightly pronounced and is equidistant from the occiput and the end of the muzzle.

Facial region

Nose
Proportionate to the muzzle, well developed, never split and always black.
Muzzle
Neither narrow or pointed.
Lips
Firm and always well pigmented. The upper lip should overlap the lower without any looseness. At their commissure, the lips should initiate a very slight pouch which should stay firm.
Jaws and teeth
Strong teeth with a scissor bite.
Eyes
Horizontal, slightly oval in shape. The iris should be dark brown, and in any case never lighter than dark hazel even if the tan is light coloured. For the harlequin variety, wall eyes are admitted.
Ears
Set high. Ears are half-pricked or drop-ears. They should not be plastered against the cheeks. They are flat and rather short. The length of the ear should be half the length of the head.

Neck

Muscular, of good length, united harmoniously with the shoulders.

Body

Withers
Quite visible.
Back
The back is straight.
Loin
The loin is short, broad and well muscled.
Croup
The croup is only slightly inclined.
Chest
The girth of the chest is greater than the height at the withers by more than one fifth. The chest is well let down to the point of the elbow. It is wide deep and long.

Tail

Whole, carried low, it reaches at least to the hock, without deviating, forming a slight hook in the form of a "J". When in action, the tail can be carried higher, an extension of the top line.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
Upright when seen from the front or in profile.
Shoulders
Sloping and moderately long.
Forearm
Muscled.
Forefeet
Large, round, compact. The nails are always black. The pads are hard but nevertheless resilient.

Hindquarters

Generality
Upright when seen from profile and from behind.
Upper thigh
Wide and muscled.
Metatarsus
Vertical, slightly further back than the point of the buttock.
Hock
Substantial, not too close to the ground, the point situated roughly at ¼ the height at the withers, forming a well open angle with the second thigh.
Hind feet
Large, round, compact. Dewclaws : By tradition, shepherds are much attached to the conservation of double dewclaws. The dewclaws form well separated "thumbs" with nails, placed rather close to the foot.

Gait and movement

Supple and free. The limbs move well in line. The Beauce Sheepdog should have an extended trot with long reaching movement.

Coat

Hair
Smooth on the head, short, thick, firm and lying close to the body, 3 to 4 cm in length. The buttocks and the underside of the tail are lightly but obligatorily fringed. The undercoat is short, fine, dense and downy, preferably mouse grey, very close, and can’t be seen through the top coat.
Colour
Black and tan (Black with tan markings) :
Red stockings. The black is pure black and the tan, red squirrel coloured.
The tan markings are distributed as follows :
• Spots over the eyes.
• On the sides of the muzzle, diminishing gradually on the cheeks, never attaining under the ear.
• On the chest, preferably two spots.
• Under the neck.
• Under the tail.
• On the legs, disappearing progressively while rising, without covering in any case more than 1/3 of the leg and rising slightly higher on the inside.
Harlequin (blue-mottled with tan markings) :
Grey, black and tan, the coat being black and grey in equal parts, the spots well distributed, with sometimes a predominance of black. The tan markings are the same as for the black and tan.
A faint while spot on the chest is tolerated.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Male from 65 cm to 70 cm, female from 61 cm to 68 cm.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.
 Size outside the standard limits.
 Too light-boned.
 Eyes too light, or wall eyes (except for harlequins).
 Split nose, of a colour other than black, with unpigmented areas.
 Overshot or undershot with loss of contact, absence of 3 or more teeth (the first premolars not counting).
 Natural ears carried totally upright and firm.
 Rear feet turned excessively to the exterior.
 Simple dewclaws or absence of dewclaws on hind legs.
 Shortened tail or tail carried over the back.
Coat :
 Colour and texture other than those defined by the standard.
 Complete absence of tan markings.
 Shaggy coat.
 Well defined, quite visible white spot on chest.
For the harlequin variety :
 Too much grey, black on one side and grey on the other, head entirely grey (absence of black).

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

Contrary to what its official name suggests, Beauceron, or Bas-Rouge, is no more born in Beauce than Briard is from Brie. These appellations devoid of scientific value were retained at the end of the last century only because they allowed to distinguish in a convenient way two dogs coming from the same very old original group, that of the French Shepherds of plain. Different in their morphology and in their dress; one was rather long-haired and the other rather short-haired; these two varieties had developed to meet distinct needs, as this extract from the Cours d'agriculture published in 1809 by Father Rozier explains: "In lowland countries, on open hillsides, and in day of the beasts of wool, the dog of Brie is the one which is used. For countries of wood or mountain hilly or strewn with thick bushes and for the night guard, finally for all the places and the moments which favor the voracity of the wolves, the shepherds will have to join to the dog of Brie more robust defenders, mastiffs of strong race. A good man is quick, bold, capable of attacking and slaying a wolf."

And the abbe pursued, giving us the first precise description of what could be the ancestor of our Beauceron: "These qualities are found in the mastiffs furnished with thick hair, the black eyes and nostrils, the lips of a dark red, with a strong head, a broad forehead, a large collar, large legs, spreading fingers, hard and short nails. The education of this dog is not the same as that of Brie's dog. She must animate him in combat."

It should not be deduced from the foregoing that the two "races" described by Father Rozier were already fixed. On the contrary, the greatest diversity; not to say the greatest heterogeneity; then had to reign in each one of them. But it is clear that an effective, though empirical, form of breeding has long been practiced by shepherds and cattle breeders to lead to the creation of two different dogs, dedicated to one of them. the conduct of the flock and, for the other, its guard and defense. The first French canine exhibition, organized in 1863 at the Jardin d'acclimatation in Paris as part of the Universal Exhibition, was very revealing in this respect, as evidenced by the official report written on this occasion by M. de Quatrefages, eminent member. of the Institute, which states: "The variety which included the greatest number of individuals was that of these dogs of tall size, with straight ears, with black hair and fawn, having all the forms of the wolf which they are called to fight. Two individuals represented the barbed scribe variety. This would obviously be Brie's dog."

This distinction between the Briard and this other dog, not named but which we sense that it can only be the prefiguration of our Bas-Rouge, is repeated twenty years later by Pierre Mégnin in his famous book The Dog, history, hygiene , medicine. Megin, a military veterinarian whose work on the French Shepherds was as determining for these breeds as the research of a Von Stephanitz on the German Shepherd or a Heim on Swiss Bouviers, quotes in fact alongside the dog Brie a variety " large size ; up to 75 cm; medium length, tawny below, brown or almost black on the back and on the head ".

In 1888, in the columns of the newspaper L'Eleveur that he himself created, Mégnin introduced for the first time the name "Berger de Beauce" to describe the old type with head and sharp edges. In 1893, in a lecture pronounced at the Society of Acclimatization, he again uses this term and declares: "We have in France at least four breeds of shepherd: the old French sheepdog, which we have named dog of Beauce, the dog of Brie, the dog of the Languedoc and the dog of the Alps or the Pyrenees."

Dog shows organized from this date use this terminology, and therefore provide for two categories, one for long-haired subjects and the other for short-haired dogs. But it was only in 1896 that there was concern to unify the type in each variety, and that was constituted at the instigation of a certain Sauret, industrialist of Elbeuf passionate about the work of Mégnin, a commission charged to determine the qualities which should be fixed in the plain French Shepherds. Gathered in the big hall of the abattoir market of La Villette under the chairmanship of a breeder, Emmanuel Boulet, this commission was made up of prominent personalities, among whom MM. Menaut, Inspector General at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dechambre, Professor of Animal Science at Alfort Veterinary School, Edwars, Director of the Museum of Natural History, and many veterinarians, breeders and farmers. It was on this occasion that the names of Berger de Beauce and Berger de Brie were definitively adopted.

A year later, Emmanuel Boulet founded the French Club of the Shepherd Dog, with the support and subsidies of the Ministry of Agriculture, and adopted a first standard Beauceron, also quite far from the one we know today 'hui. If it sets official standards, this standard does not disappear any dissension, and until the twenties amateurs and breeders will oppose on many points, in particular the length and the texture of the hair, the color of the dress , and especially the ideal size. The creation, on April 24th, 1911, of the Association of the friends of the Beauceron, at the instigation of an undisputed specialist, Mr. Siraudin, and of two famous vets, Doctors Héroult and Mégnin, makes it possible to allay the controversies and initiates the evolution of the Beauceron towards its type today: that of a "short, fat and smooth" dog with a reasonable size, as written by Siraudin himself in The Sheepdog of Beauce, a book that would become the bible of amateurs: "Do not try to be too big, 0.65 m high is good enough. After these steps, the dog becomes too big for a herder. He is heavy and more unfit for the service of the sentry."

Put to sleep during the Great War (conflict during which the Beauceron will also be of great service to the armies as estafette, sentinel, dog patrol, attack, draft, or even medical auxiliary), the Club resumes its activities in 1920, under the impetus of Dr. Hérout and his president, Mr. Dretzen. A new standard is written by Professor Paul Dechambre, and is adopted in 1921; it is the basis of the current one.

Breeding will therefore make steady progress, both in terms of quantity and quality of the products produced. The Beauceron is now one of the most appreciated dogs in our country, because this former hunter of wolves and herdsman has been able to reconvert himself in a profession where work does not fail: that of watchdog and defense, He is also very talented, since, after a period of "empty passage", he has won several titles of French champion in the specialized competitions. Results to the measure of its primary qualities: balance, courage and rusticity.

Like all the sheepdogs who actually worked; or who still work; the Beauceron is strong, enduring, hard-working. All the opposite in sum of a living room animal. But under his rough, even disturbing, he is in fact very sociable, curious, without excessive suspicion, and he knows how to be indifferent to what does not bother him or frighten him. Endowed with an independent nature, he does not show less of a total attachment to his master. It is still necessary that the latter has earned its respect. With Bas-Rouge, perhaps more than with other dogs, it is necessary to know how to proportion with discernment affection and firmness, reward and punishment.

Intelligent, possessing a perfect memory, the Beauceron will never accept the idiotic constraint, but he will accomplish without complaining the hardest missions, on the condition that he has the feeling of thus pleasing his master.

Must we be surprised at an animal whose shepherds and herdsmen once trusted the surveillance of their livestock and their farm? The Beauceron is a born guardian, and woe to him who will attempt to enter without being invited to the territory he defends. Its morphology, its size, its power make him the most effective and the most dissuasive of cerberers. If you add to that its natural rusticity that allows you to live and sleep outside if you develop a comfortable niche, we understand why it is one of the most popular dogs owners villas or isolated pavilions. It should not be kept away from home, nor systematically refuse entry to the family home. Like all shepherd dogs, which by definition have always shared the life of man, the Beauceron needs the presence of his masters. And it is by living alongside them from an early age that he will find the necessary balance to his happiness and that of his entourage.

The Beauceron does not like idleness and softness. Better to avoid acquiring one if you live a sedentary life in an apartment. This hyperactive sportsman, by nature, needs to feel useful. To keep a garden, a house, to accompany his master to his place of work, to his travels and walks, to friends, to be his accomplice in the practice of his favorite sport, everyday life offers us a thousand and one opportunities to make him understand that he is part of the family and that the family relies on him.

With the children, the Beauceron is cautious and reserved, but it is not the stuffed living that attracts the youngest - a feature that brings it closer to the German Shepherd. On the other hand, it can become a real partner for the older ones, provided that they have understood that a dog is not a toy, but an animal endowed with a personality and a certain autonomy.

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