Beauceron Temperament

“Rustic” is word you will hear Beauceron fanciers use.  Rustic is defined as rural, simple, or plain, in other words – no frills. When a Beauceron walks into a room, it commands attention; a large dog, not too sleek, ears erect, eyes bright, almost wolf like.

Part of the rustic scene with the Beauceron owners is the way they show their dogs.  There is no stacking in the ring, and the dogs are shown on a loose lead.  Beauceron handlers are often asked to trot their dogs for extended periods of time in the show ring.  Why extended trotting sessions?  In its rustic setting as a herder, the Beauceron was, and is required to move to 30 miles a day, acting as a “living fence” around a flock, or herd.

The “Beauceron trot” is an extension of the normal trot in which the dog’s back becomes lower, its legs extend, and the feet barely skim the ground.  If in the show ring two Beaucerons are tied structurally, the first place dog will be the animal who is judged to hold and have the best “Beauceron trot.”

Beaucerons go through a unique process in reaching breed goals. This process begins when the dog is at least one  year old, and is presented to more than one judge at a Journee du Beauceron (“day of the Beauceron”); this is the equivalent to a Regional show in France. At the Journee, the dog is first measured with a “toise”, an instrument that takes extremely accurate measurements at specific points on a dog’s body. The Beauceron’s measurements are recorded, and the dog moves on to the next station. Here the animal goes “one on one” with a very experienced judge, who examines the dog meticulously and checks its movement.  At this juncture, the judge is insuring the Beauceron meets the standard.

The Beauceron and its handler then move on to the next station: Temperament Testing.  An experienced working dog judge who is well versed in reading dogs’ body language will fire shots, threaten the dog with a baton, and observe the dog’s interaction with the judge and its handler.

The Beaucerons to this point have been measured, judged to insure they meet the standard, and have been temperament tested.  During the judging and testing the dogs have been rated insufficient, good, very good, or excellent.

Only dogs rated excellent in conformation, and temperament move on to the final step, that of competing in various classes i.e. young male, working dog, open male, open female etc. All Beaucerons in this phase are rated against the standard, and as mentioned before are trotted for an extended period of time.

The dog most exemplifying the standard and with the best trot wins!  All Beaucerons entering this final ring phase are awarded a Cotation 3.

Owning a Beauceron

Beaucerons are big working dogs ranging from 70 to 110 lbs. in weight. They enjoy their exercise, and are extremely athletic. If you want a Beauceron and do not have much room outdoors, or live in an apartment, a smaller female is recommended.

If you are not an experienced trainer, and are not going to use the dog in one of the hard working sports (Ring, Schutzhund, Protection) stay away from high drive males. You are asking for trouble with extremely dominant puppies, unless you know what you are doing. Dominant male puppies which can be handled as pups, become dominant male dogs which cannot be handled as adults.  Without a working outlet, dominant large males cause major problems, especially if you think you are going to use the dog in a protection role.

Think before you buy!

Breeding for Profit

If you see “Beauceron,” “rare breed,” and dollar signs, you are not the first person to try to ride the breed for the big bucks.  The big bucks are not there, as several people have discovered after investing in a “breeding pair.”  Your initial outlay for the purchase of a stud or brood bitch is just the beginning.  You’ll need at least $3,000.00 more per litter to cover stud fees, transportation of the bitch, ear cropping for the puppies, initial shots and worming, feeding of the puppies and the adult(s) with quality food, advertising, registration of the litter – and all this is if no problems occur. If there are delivery problems with the pups, then be prepared for a large Vet bill!

The Beauceron is not a flashy film star Dalmatian, or a cute wrinkled up Shar Pei.  There is not a big demand for Beaucerons, so do not look on the breed as your gateway to fortune.  People who truly want this tremendous, versatile breed of dog desire quality dogs, not a non-standard, non-working dog, bred under the most uninformed conditions, to supplement someone’s income.

Beaucerons and Children

As a rule, dogs and children should always be supervised by a responsible adult. No dog should ever be left unattended with young children, and Beaucerons are no different.

While many Beaucerons are very tolerant and gentle with children, the simple fact is that Beaucerons are large, powerful dogs and even a young pup can easily knock a child down and injure them.

As with any dog, early and ongoing socialization is vital to establishing a positive association with children. Be sure to ask the breeder what their particular dogs are like around children or, better yet, observe their dogs interacting with children or ask for a videot showing their dogs interacting with children.

Keep in mind that some dogs may not be as tolerant with unfamiliar children as they would with children they know and trust.

Important Documentation

Registration Papers

When buying a show puppy, ask the breeder if you will be receiving full or limited AKC registration papers.  Limited registration means the dog cannot be shown in AKC conformation events and any puppies he or she produces will not be eligible for AKC registration. The dog can participate in any other AKC sport.

Even if you don’t plan to show or breed your dog, if it is a show-quality puppy, ask what conditions must be fulfilled in order for the breeder to change this to full registration – your plans could change!

Most breeders offer a limited registration for their pet quality puppies

The breeder must register each puppy with the AKC – so it’s common to receive this documentation after puppy has already gone home. You should also receive a three-generation pedigree, showing your puppy’s lineage.

Sales Contract

Make sure the breeder has a sales contract that covers all the items of importance: health guarantees, replacement/refund policies, and under what circumstances each can be invoked.

If a problem arises with your puppy, you may wish to include the option of having the breeder replace the puppy or give you a refund. If the breeder has acted with due diligence in selecting their breeding, but still a serious genetic issue arises, you may not want a replacement puppy from a related breeding or a repeat breeding of the same pair.  These are considerations that should be addressed in the contract before you sign it. A good contract will clearly state what the breeder will do to correct a problem

Health records

The breeder should also supply you with the puppy’s health records from their veterinarian.

Pet Quality vs Show Quality

Prices for puppies will vary based on many factors,  including:

  • “Show” or “pet” quality
  • Whether the ears have been cropped
  • What titles the sire and dam have achieved
  • What their previous puppies have accomplished.

The only difference between pet and show quality is the presence of an undesirable fault that would prevent the dog from  becoming a successful show dog (Such traits also mean that a responsible breeder will generally not breed the dog).

If you are not interested in showing or breeding your dog, a pet quality puppy is usually less expensive but is still every bit a Beauceron. Unfortunately, there will always people who try to capitalize on a situation where the demand for pups exceeds the quality of pups being produced, so be careful. A higher price tag is not always a sign of quality, just as a lower price is not always a “good deal”.

If you are seeking a show quality puppy, know the breed disqualifications and don’t buy a puppy that has one. Also keep in mind the disqualifications that apply to all breeds, such as not having two descended testicles in a male.

Examine the parents for a disqualifying fault. If there is one, the puppy may not have the fault but can be carrying the gene for it. If you plan to breed your puppy some day, this would not be a good choice for your future breeding stock since the fault(s) can show up again in future generations

Interviewing Breeders

Of course, you’ll want to interview potential breeder(s) and request references from previous puppy buyers. Don’t be surprised if the breeder interviews you as well – take this as an indication that the breeder really cares for their puppies and wants to find them good homes.

  • Be honest with the breeder about how much time and energy you can devote to the dog. He/she is trying to ensure the puppy will be a suitable match for your lifestyle.
  • Ask the breeder(s) if they are members in good standing with the American Beauceron Club (you can also contact us to verify their current membership status). If  they are members in good standing with the ABC, they will likely also have signed the club’s Code of Ethics, which requires them to apply ethical breeding practices and to follow a certain standard of care when raising their puppies and dealing with puppy buyers. (e.g. providing a written sales contract, health guarantees, etc.) Even so, don’t assume this guarantees healthy, happy and stable puppies. You still need to do your research by checking references, talking with other buyers from that breeder and attending events where their dogs are being shown or in a trial.
  • Ask the breeder why they chose these particular dogs to breed and what health testing has been done on the sire/dam. Ask if there is any history of allergies or other known health problems in either the dam or the sire or any of their offspring (if either has been bred before).
  • Find out how many litters the female has had. Does the number indicate that she has had a litter each time she comes into season (usually twice a year) without any breaks  between litters? A bitch should not be bred more than twice out of every three seasons. Some breeders of working bitches limit breeding to age two, four and six.
  • Ask the breeder the age of the sire and the dam. Each should be a minimum of two years of age. Because this breed is slow to mature, many breeders will wait until the dogs are at least three years of age before breeding.
  • Ask for the parents and grandparents permanent OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) number. If you have the registered name, AKC registered number or the OFA number, then you can check the OFA website for the actual hip ratings. If the parents or grandparents are imported from another country, ask to see proof of hip clearance from that country’s registry.
  • If you want to participate in a sport, try to select a breeder whose dogs are successfully competing in the sport that interests you.
  • Ask the breeder if you will be receiving full or limited AKC registration papers. If limited registration, ask what conditions must be fulfilled in order for the breeder to change this to full registration.
  • Understand your sales contract and verify that the breeder will supply you with the puppy’s health records from their veterinarian, the individual AKC registration papers for the puppy, and a three-generation pedigree.
  •  Ask for references and be sure to contact them.

Meet The Sire and Dam

While it is not always possible to meet the sire and dam, you should make every attempt to do so. The breeder may not always own the stud dog so ask for photos or a video if you are unable to meet him. If you cannot visit the breeder, ask if it is possible to obtain a video and/or photos showing the following:

  • The dam relaxing in the home.
  • The dam interacting with people, other dogs and/or animals, both ON and OFF their own property.
  • The puppies interacting with the dam and their littermates.
  • Puppies interacting with people.
  • Ask for the same kind of video and/or photos of the sire.

Pay careful attention to the dam’s temperament but realize that if the puppies are young, the dam may be protective of them. You may want to meet the dam separately so you can see what she is like when her pups are not around. Keep in mind that she is raising your future dog. If the temperament of either the dam or the puppies is overly shy or aggressive, you should reconsider buying one of these puppies.

You can get a good idea of what a puppy will look like as an adult if you see its sire and dam.  You will normally see the dam with her pups, but the stud may be in France or clear across the US.  Ask to see pictures of the stud, make sure they show front, side, and backside.  This is critical if you intend to breed your pup when it becomes an adult: good pedigrees do not automatically mean good conformation! Of course, you should insure that both the sire and dam have been x-rayed.  The Beauceron is not prone to hip dysplasia, but there are some lines out there with lax hips. Ask to see proof of x-ray results. Insure the sire and dam have been  “Confirmed” by a French judge, and ask to see the French papers; a reputable breeder will have them.  “Confirmation” insures the sire and dam fall within the standard, and demonstrate all the Beauceron characteristics.

Beauceron Care and Training


Beaucerons shed like any other dog. The Beauceron has a double coat – the undercoat being relatively soft and lighter color, with the top coat being rough and water-proof.

There is no hiding the fact that a large black dog lives in your house, especially during shedding seasons. A good brushing every day during shedding seasons and a weekly brushing the rest of the time will go a long way in keeping your Beauceron looking its best.


Ask the breeder what they feed and recommend. Be sure it is a quality food and one that you can readily obtain for your dog. If you want to change the food, you will want to do so gradually.


The Beauceron requires firm but fair training and handling on a consistent basis. There is no one “right method” for all dogs, but whatever method you choose, be sure it accounts for the fact that this is a highly intelligent, and sometimes independent, breed.

The importance of early and proper socialization and consistent training cannot be overstated. It is also important to understand that Beaucerons do not tolerate harsh treatment from anyone, especially strangers. Therefore, it is best to avoid harsh training methods – particularly those that involve physical corrections, since these methods generally do not work well with this breed.

Although the Beauceron is a very versatile breed that can excel in just about any activity available to dogs, they can be rather “pushy” and require an owner who can provide leadership, training and socialization. If you plan to participate in a particular sport, look for a breeder who has produced dogs that are successfully competing in that sport. Keep in mind that well-behaved dogs that are successfully competing in any sport have had a lot of training to reach that level.

Buying From A Reputable Breeder

There are relatively few Beauceron breeders in this country, so it is important to be patient when searching for a pup. The puppy closest to your home might not be the right one for you, so you may want to expand your search. Many breeders are willing to ship a puppy to a buyer, and most puppies travel quite well. There are also transport services that will drive the puppy to you anywhere in the Continental USA.

Stay away from puppy mills, pet stores (which may acquire their dogs from puppy mills), and puppy brokers (people who charge a fee to find a puppy or connect you with a breeder).  Puppies from these sources may be more readily available and/or slightly less expensive, but they can cost you dearly in the long run, with health and temperament issues. This is not the time for bargain-hunting. Your new puppy will be a member of your family for his/her lifetime, so you’ll want to invest wisely.

Take time to become familiar with the breed standard before you buy.

The breeder should know and understand the standard, and strive to produce puppies that are as close to the standard as possible in terms of health, conformation (appearance and structure) and temperament.

Ask the breeder why they chose to breed these particular dogs. Responsible breeders only breed when they are convinced that their knowledge, experience, and devotion to ‘their’ breed will produce exceptional puppies that are correct in temperament and conformation. They breed to preserve and enhance the characteristics and qualities that make the breed unique. In short: they breed to improve the breed.

It may take some time to find the right breeder with an upcoming litter. Be prepared to wait – and be assured that it will be worth your while!

Finally, a responsible breeder will be there for you throughout the lifetime of the dog, to support you and help with any problems you might encounter with the dog. If, for any reason, you cannot keep the dog, a responsible breeder will always take the dog back, regardless of its age (and many, indeed, include this as a requirement in your purchase contract).