The French Temperament Test

In France, the beaucerons are judged based on 2 separate exams. Morphology (conformation) and temperament. They must compete in both portions in order to move on to the overall show, and to receive cotation ratings through the French Beauceron Club. Each Beauceron must first receive an excellent temperament test rating before it can receive a conformation rating. A dog not receiving an excellent in temperament, cannot receive an overall evaluation of Excellent +. A dog without an overall rating of Excellent + is not considered for placements. An excellent rating means that they scored an excellent in each of the four portions of the temperament test.

France puts a lot of emphasis on temperament, and without a specific rating in France dogs are not to be bred. It is important that the temperament of the Beauceron be maintained, and carefully selected for.

“So how does the French temperament test work?”

“What are the four sections of the test?”

The evaluation of the dog’s temperament begins when the dog is walked into the temperament testing area, or ring. Upon entering, the judge places a special collar and lead on the dog and the judge has begins the evaluation of sociability of the dog, which is one of the four areas of evaluation. The handler and judge continue to check the dog in, by checking for a tattoo or microchip. Then the dog is lead to the center of the ring where the next phases of evaluation begins.

At no point in time is the owner allowed to give commands to the dog, or interfere with their behavior or reactions during the testing. They should remain on a loose lead in the ring at all times.

The second phase of the testing is the dog’s reaction to gunfire. The judge stands a certain distance from the dog and fires the gun. The judge is evaluating the initial reaction, as well as the recovery behaviors of the dog.

Next, the dog is evaluated by being threatened by a stick. The judge will approach the dog in a threatening manner while waving and tapping the stick. Again, the judge evaluates the initial reactions, and any recovery actions the dog might exhibit.

Lastly, the dog is scored on general behavior. This is evaluated the entire time the dog is in the ring, until the judge removes the special collar and lead at the end of the test.

The Beauceron Temperament

“He is alert and energetic with a noble carriage. A formidable dog with a frank and unwavering expression, he always demands respect wherever he goes.” “The Beauceron should be discerning and confident. He is a dog with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient. The Beauceron possesses an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please his master. He retains a high degree of his inherited instinct to guard home and master. Although he can be reserved with strangers, he is loving and loyal to those he knows. Some will display a certain independence. He should be easily approached without showing signs of fear.” –The AKC Written Standard

The written standard for the Beauceron has the exact short excerpt above to describe the Beauceron temperament. The American Beauceron Club, its members, and breeders should all strive to maintain not only health, structure and function of the Beauceron, but also correct temperaments.

Beaucerons should never be aggressive or fearful when presented to judges in the show ring. Recently there has been cases of questionable temperaments being awarded within the AKC show ring, and this is something we need to be very conscious of.

When judging Beaucerons it is important to not just consider structure and function but also temperament. The standard states, “Temperament: Frank approach and self-assured; never mean, timid, or worried. Although reserved with strangers, the character of the Beauceron should be gentle and fearless. Any display of fear or unjustifiable aggression is not to be tolerated.

An incorrect temperament should be faulted. If there are 2 dogs of equal quality, the dog with the correct temperament shall be awarded the win. An incorrect temperament would be considered a severe fault.

In the case of puppies, it is always important to be patient. Beauceron puppies can sometimes be quite stubborn about showing their teeth, or a bit over exuberant and do not like to stand still. Again, they should never be fearful or aggressive, but remember to take your time and remain calm. Sometimes giving the puppy a moment to do something else, such as the down and back, might take their mind off the dental exam enough that they come back and perform it like a seasoned show dog.

Please also see the page discussing appropriate exam techniques and approaches.

Evaluating White on the Beauceron Chest

 

“How should I judge the white spot? Is it the area created by fur or should I judge skin pigmentation?” I have been approached by several judges lately, who have voiced concerns about how they should evaluate white on the breed’s forechest. There has also been some social media discussion on the subject.

First, while white does not affect the dog’s ability to work, it should be noted that the Beauceron is genetically a black dog and white is the single most undesirable outcome – a lack of pigmentation. Some discreet white is generally permissible as there are varied reasons for why lack of pigmentation can occur. However, breeders should pay attention in their breeding stock, as the cause for prominent spots or patches is genetic and far more common in our breed than one should want; worse, the trait can express itself drastically from one generation to the next. Using hair dyes to hide such faults is neither permitted in the show ring nor does it aid in maintaining a quality breeding program.

What is too much? What amount of white is permissible?

The standard states: Disqualification: Any color other than Black and Tan or Harlequin. Complete absence of markings. Well-defined, quite visible white spot on the chest 1″ in diameter or larger.

When some white is present, the spot must remain discreet, and should be faulted with increasing prominence. White in the form of a spot is easily sized – if it fits under a US quarter coin it does not exceed the standard. However, we often see stripes running from the forechest to the sternum. A slender strip on the forechest – the width of a pencil or less – may be 3 inches long and still be considered discreet. Such marking is more obvious in a black and tan dog than a harlequin; however, both coat colors must be treated equally and judges should pay attention to it. Any white on the chest should be penalized. the thicker a stripe becomes the more (severely) it must be penalized, up to, and including, a disqualification (at 1” width).

When judging the Beauceron, presence of white must be considered when deciding between two dogs of equal quality and preference must be given to the dog with the least amount of white.

Emphasis – from a Judge’s Perspective

By Alain Thevenon,
Multiple French National Specialty CAB judge

The standard describes the distinctive features specific to the Beauceron. But one must be able to comprehend the “whole” dog because each individual trait put together does not constitute general breed type.

The Beauceron is a rustic breed, “in the raw” as you would say. He doesn’t require any care or grooming. A quick brushing session can be useful when the dog is shedding or if the dog got dirty.

The coat is a major characteristic. The cover must be dense. Undercoat must be easily visible on the shoulder or on the thigh for example. The coat is short but not “Doberman short” and it is neither fine nor soft. The markings are characteristic. The Beauceron is also named “Bas Rouge”. The length of the coat is clearly defined in the standard and the Beauceron must have fringes on both sides of the neck, on the back of the front legs, on the back of the thighs and under the tail. Thinking of a Beauceron without the required fringes would lead to a drift downward in the breed and encourage promoting and producing a dog whose appearance has lost its distinctive breed type.

I see pictures of cropped Beaucerons in countries where this practice is still allowed. I often deplore the many bad crops that are done on some of these dogs. So, for instance, if we combine flared-up ears [i.e. crops seen in Boxers and Dobermans] with a soft coat and an excessive size, you can only imagine what kind of dog this will be. Certainly not a Beauceron.

The Beauceron is not a gazelle. It is of a substantial size but not a giant. One must abide by the standard and be respectful of its definitions.

The movement is easy and natural. No need for exaggerated strides. The head is carried forward and must be accompanied by a good ground covering.

Regardless of the dog being static or in movement, the presentation must remain plain, simple and natural. The presentation of a dog stacked on his front with an exaggerated protruding elongated neck is not typical of this breed. One must imagine a working dog with a harmonious and plain silhouette.

Breed Standard (France)

This information is provided by “Les Amis du Beauceron.” the French breed club.  It can be found on their web site in both French and English.

The Berger de Beauce, also called Beauceron or “Bas Rouge” (red stocking) is a dog of harmonious proportions, strong, with short coat. Height is about, 65 to 70 cm for males, 61 to 68 cm for females.

It is a powerful dog with a solid bone structure. Muscles are well developed without being heavy. The head is rather long. Look is frank, expressing liveliness and brightness.

Natural ears droop. On the inner side of rear legs the Beauceron has “dewclaws,” more or less developed. The tail is long, forming a slight hook in the end. The coat is smooth on the head and legs, short, thick and firm on the body.

The most common color is “black and tan”. The tan shows in high stockings on the legs toning down progressively as they rise. Tan is also present on both sides of muzzle, above the brow ridge, on the chest, under the neck and tail. Some black marks, called “charbonnures” (coal marks), can exist on the legs.

These are the characteristics of the Beauceron or “red stocking”. There is a second variety called “harlequin”. The coat has black and grey (blue) hair in equal parts, with tan markings

In addition to aptitudes as a guardian or as shepherd dog, the Berger de Beauce is a very clever and versatile dog. It is a faithful dog, affectionate (and loving) towards family.

FCI – Standard N°44 / 09.11.2006 / GB

BEAUCE SHEEP DOG (“BEAUCERON”, “RED-STOCKING”) BERGER DE BEAUCE

TRANSLATION: John Miller, Raymond Triquet.

ORIGIN : France.

UTILIZATION : Sheepdog and Guard Dog.

CLASSIFICATION FCI : Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs). Section 1 Sheepdogs. With working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMIMARY : “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 : Franc approach and self-assured. The expression is candid, never mean timid or worried. The character of the Beauceron should be gentle and fearless.

 

HEAD :

The head is well chiselled with harmonious lines. Seen in profile, the top lines of skull and muzzle lie roughly in parallel planes.

CRANIAL REGION :

Skull : Flat or slightly rounded from one side to the other. The median groove is only slightly marked, the occipital protuberance can bc 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 / Teeth : Strong teeth with a scissor bite.

Eyes : Horizontal, slightly oval in shape. The iris should be dark brown, and in case never lighter than dark hazel even if the tan is light coloured. For the harlequin variety, wall eyes are admitted.

Ears : High. Ears are semi-raised(semi-drawn up) or falling. They must not be stuck to cheeks. They appear flat and rather short. The length of the ear must be equal in the middle of the length of the head

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

 

BODY :

Top line : The back is straight. The loin is short, broad and well muscled. The croup is only slightly inclined.

Withers : Quite visible.

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 : Upright when seen from the front or in profile.

Shoulder : Sloping and moderately long.

Forearm : Muscled.

Feet : Large, round, compact. The nails are always black. The pads are hard but nevertheless resilient.

HINDQUARTERS : Upright when seen from profile and from behind.

Thigh : Wide and muscled.

Hock joint : Substantial, not too close to the ground, the point situated roughly at 1/4 the height at the withers, forming a well open angle with the second thigh. Metatarsals (Rear Pasterns) : Vertical, slightly further back than the point of the buttock.

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 / 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.

COLOR :

  1. a) Black and tan (Black with tan markings) : “red stockings”. The black is pure black and the tan, red squirrel colored. 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.
  1. b) 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 white spot on the chest is tolerated.

 

SIZE :

Height at the 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.

ELIMINATING 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).
  • Uncropped ears totally upright and rigid.
  • 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).

Any dog presenting in a obvious way anomalies of physical or behavioral order will be disqualified.

NB : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

 

Breed Standard (U. S.)

General Appearance

The Beauceron is an old and distinct French breed of herding dog, developed solely in France with no foreign crosses. Dogs were bred and selected for their aptitude to herd and guard large flocks of sheep as well as for their structure and endurance. Beaucerons were used to move herds of 200 to 300 head traveling up to 50 miles per day without showing signs of exhaustion. The ideal Beauceron is a well-balanced, solid dog of good height, well-muscled without heaviness or coarseness. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness, exhibiting the strength, endurance and agility required of the herding dog. He is alert and energetic with a noble carriage. A formidable dog with a frank and unwavering expression, he demands respect wherever he goes. Dogs are characteristically larger throughout with a larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine, but without weakness in substance or structure. The Beauceron should be discerning and confident. He is a dog with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient. The Beauceron possesses an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please his master. He retains a high degree of his inherited instinct to guard home and master. Although he can be reserved with strangers, he is loving and loyal to those he knows. Some will display a certain independence. He should be easily approached without showing signs of fear.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Size: Males 25½ to 27½ inches; bitches 24 to 26½ inches at the withers.
Disqualification: Height outside of maximum or minimum limits.

Proportion: The Beauceron is medium in all its proportions, harmoniously built with none of its regions exaggerated in shortness or length. The length of body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is slightly greater than the height at the withers. Bitches can be slightly longer than dogs. Correct proportion is of primary importance, as long as size is within the standard’s range.

Substance: Powerful, well built, well-muscled, without any sign of heaviness or clumsiness. Dogs lacking substance should be severely penalized.

Head: The head is long, well chiseled with harmonious lines without weakness. The head must be in proportion with the body, measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput it is about 40% of the height at the withers. The height and width of the head are each slightly less than half its total length. The skull and muzzle are of equal length.

Expression: The gaze is frank, alert, and confident.

Eyes: The eyes are horizontal and slightly oval in shape. The eyes must be dark brown, never lighter than dark hazel. For the Harlequin, walleye is acceptable.
Disqualification: Yellow eyes. Walleye in the Black and Tan.

Ears: The ears are set high, and may be cropped or natural. The cropped ear is carried upright and is neither convergent nor divergent, pointing slightly forward. The well-carried ear is one whose middle falls on an imaginary line in prolongation of the sides of the neck. The natural ears are half pricked or drop-ears, they stand off the cheeks. Natural ears are flat and rather short, their length is equal to half the length of the head.

Disqualification: Natural ears carried upright and rigid.

Skull: The skull is flat or slightly rounded near the sides of the head. The median groove is only slightly marked and the occipital protuberance can be seen on the summit of the skull.

Stop: The stop is only slightly pronounced and equidistant from the occiput and the tip of the nose.

Muzzle: The muzzle must not be narrow, pointed, or excessively broad in width.

Planes: Seen in profile the top lines of the skull and muzzle are parallel, and the junction of the two forms a slightly pronounced stop midway between the occiput and the tip of the nose.

Nose: The nose is proportionate to the muzzle, well developed and always black. In profile, the nose must be in line with the upper lip.

Disqualification: Split nose, nose color other than black or with unpigmented areas.

Lips: The lips are firm and always well pigmented. The upper lip overlaps the lower lip without any looseness. At their juncture, the lips form very slight but firm flews.

Teeth: A full complement of strong white teeth, evenly set, and meeting in a scissors bite.

Disqualification: Overshot or undershot with loss of contact; absence of three or more teeth (the first premolars not counting).

Neck, Topline and Body

Neck: The neck is muscular, of good length, united harmoniously with the shoulders, enabling the head to be carried proudly while standing in an alert posture.

Topline: The back is straight and strong. The withers are well defined. The loin is broad, short and muscular. The croup is well muscled and slightly sloped in the direction of the attachment of the tail.

Body: The length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock is slightly more than the height of the dog at the withers.

Chest: The chest is wide, deep, long, and descends to the point of the elbow. The girth of the chest is greater than the height at the withers by more than 20%.

Ribs: The ribcage extends well back with long, flexible, and moderately curved ribs. The abdomen is moderately drawn up but still presents good volume.

Tail: The tail is strong at the base, carried down, descending at least to the point of the hock, forming into a slight J without deviating to the right or to the left. In action, the tail can be carried higher, becoming an extension of the topline.
Disqualification: Docked tail, or tail carried over the back.

Forequarters

The construction of the forequarters is of the utmost importance, determining the dog’s ability to work and his resistance to fatigue. The legs are vertical when viewed from the front or in profile.

Shoulder: The shoulders are moderately long, muscular but not loaded, with good layback.

Forearm: The forearms are muscular.

Feet: The feet are large, round, and compact with black nails. The pads are firm yet supple.

Hindquarters

The angulation of the hindquarters is balanced with the forequarters. The hindquarters are powerful, providing flexible, almost tireless movement. They are vertical when viewed from profile and from behind.

Legs: The thighs are wide and muscled. Hock joint is 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. Metatarsals are upright, slightly further back than the point of the buttock. When viewed from behind, metatarsals are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other.

Feet: The feet are large, round, compact, and the rear toes turn out very slightly.

Dewclaws: Double dewclaws form well separated “thumbs” with nails, placed rather close to the foot.
Disqualification: Anything less than double dewclaws on each rear leg.

Coat

Outer coat is 1¼” to 1½”, coarse, dense and lying close to the body. It is short and smooth on the head, ears and lower legs. The hair is somewhat longer around the neck. The tail and back of thighs are lightly fringed. The undercoat is short, fine, dense and downy, mouse gray in color and does not show through the outer coat. The Beauceron is exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming.
Disqualification: Shaggy coat.

Colors

Black and Tan: The black is very pure; the tan markings are squirrel red; the markings are: dots above the eyes; on the sides of the muzzle, fading off on the cheeks, never reaching the underside of the ears; two spots on the chest are preferred to a breastplate; on the throat; under the tail; on the legs the markings extend from the feet to the pasterns, progressively lessening, though never covering more than 1/3 of the leg, rising slightly higher on the inside of the leg. Some white hairs on the chest are tolerated.

Gray, Black and Tan (Harlequin): Black and Tan base color with a pattern of blue-gray patches distributed evenly over the body and balanced with the base color, sometimes with a predominance of black.

Disqualification: Any color other than Black and Tan or Harlequin. Complete absence of markings. Well-defined, quite visible white spot on the chest 1″ in diameter or larger. In the Harlequin: too much gray; black on one side of body and gray on the other; head entirely gray.

Gait

Movement is fluid and effortless, covering ground in long reaching strides (extended trot). Strong, supple movement is essential to the sheepdog. In movement the head is lowered approaching the level of the topline. Dogs with clumsy or inefficient gait must be penalized

Temperament

Frank approach and self-assured; never mean, timid, or worried. Although reserved with strangers, the character of the Beauceron should be gentle and fearless. Any display of fear or unjustifiable aggression is not to be tolerated

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.

Note: Males must have two normal testicles properly descended into the scrotum.

Disqualification:

Height outside of maximum or minimum limits.

Split nose, nose color other than black or with unpigmented areas.

Overshot or undershot with loss of contact

Absence of three or more teeth (first premolars not counting).

Yellow eyes.

Walleye in the Black and Tan.

Natural ears carried upright and rigid.

Docked tail, or tail carried over the back.

Anything less than double dewclaws on each rear leg.

Shaggy coat. 

Any color other than Black and Tan or Harlequin. 

Complete absence of markings. 

Well-defined, quite visible white spot on the chest 1″ in diameter or larger.

In the Harlequin: too much gray; black on one side of body and gray on the other; head entirely gray.