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Canine Genetic Testing

Sarah Price

So, you want to have your dog’s DNA analyzed. Whether it is for fun, if you are concerned about health issues, or you are just curious, there are currently numerous options in this burgeoning industry, and more appear every day. This article provides a short summary of some of the available options and basic information so that you can make an informed decision about what method to use to meet your goals.

Domestic dog chromosomes ( Breen 2018: Figure 3)

Commercial Testing

Embark and PawPrint Genetics are two of the most popular for-profit genetic testing companies. Embark is more likely to have the largest Beauceron dataset (n=54, to date), currently,. As of this writing PawPrints has not responded to a request for total number of dogs in the breed tested. While there are many others, such as Wisdom Panel, they are generally not recommended by the Beauce community or even in the general dog groups. As a result of this research, I did discover that Wisdom Panel is a partner of several animal rights groups which is not appealing to me, personally.

Embark

Embark is one of the more comprehensive DNA tests that provides data on breed identification, ancestry, coefficient of inbreeding, and genetic disease risk. Embark is in a partnership with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and you have the option to contribute your dog’s results to their ongoing research. Embark also contributes funding to animal shelters for genetic testing and is the official DNA test of the Westminster Kennel Club. More importantly, Embark is the only company that has an option for sequencing the entire genome, although it does cost more. Embark provides reports for your veterinarian, OFA, and allows you to download the raw data for use in other genetic analysis programs (e.g., Plink). In other words, your dog’s genetic data is yours.

The downsides of Embark are several, but may or may not be deterrents depending on your goals or dog. It does not have an accurate merle gene test (actually, no one does except for Tilia Laboratories) but rather reports a heterozygous E-locus results. Embark focuses on a lot on breed identification, which in the case of a purebred dog is not particularly useful. However, if you run the test as an owner (not breeder) it does provide percents of shared genetic material with other dogs in their database. As more dogs are tested, you will receive notifications as new relatives are identified. So not only do you receive genetic relatives, you also get a Coefficient of Inbreeding based on DNA rather than calculated from pedigrees. The Breeder’s kit does not provide genetic relatives, however you will still receive COI information for each dog tested. Another nice thing about Embark is that as their testing evolves, your results are updated. Each dog’s DNA profile is archived permanently which means it is available in perpetuity.

Example of half sibling shared DNA and locations of identical regions by chromosome.

Embark also tests for around 170 genetic markers associated with canine diseases. To be fair, no genetic markers have been identified as associated with specific conditions, however there are some markers that may be of import to you and your veterinarian when making decisions about health care.

Paw Print Genetics

Paw Print Genetics is a very popular test with breeders, primarily because you can test for specific panels of genetic diseases. They do not focus on breed identification, and because they partner with so many dog clubs and associations it is very popular in the purebred dog world. If you are looking to test for specific diseases, this might be the better test for you.  Paw Print test panels can be cheaper, but not everything is included in one package so if you order multiple panels, or get into coat testing, etc., the cost can quickly skyrocket. The panels can be searched and purchased by breed (although, no Beauceron specific tests are available at this time), disease (e.g., DCM-specified to Doberman Pinscher), or symptom. Relative to Embark, some of the tests require or suggest blood samples over a buccal swab, which is an added expense as it must be obtained by your vet’s office. For instance, many of the coat related panels require a blood sample. They do offer discounts for multiple tests. The other aspect where Paw Print has a leg up over Embark is that a veterinarian reviews all test results and is available for counseling.

Paw Print Genetics does not bank sample material. However, according to their website any excess sample is stored for future testing. For instance, if a test becomes available for a Beauceron-specific ailment, you could ask if there is enough stored material to run a panel at a future date. Given this, Paw Prints does reserve the right to use excess sample in anyway they see fit.

Both companies allow for sharing of results online (shareable link), both have DVMs and PhDs on staff, double check results, and OFA accepts test results from both. However, Paw Print Genetics has vets/doctors overseeing testing, has a laboratory onsite, and will check results using different methods.

Comparisons of pricing and samples between Paw Print and Embark for some panels (https://timberidgegoldendoodles.com/paw-print-vs-embark/ ).

Academic/Non-Profit Testing

Another way to contribute to genetic research is through the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Dog Genome Project. They are currently studying a multitude of health issue (canine kidney cancer, epilepsy, osteoarthritis, Addison’s disease, somatic cell carcinomas, retinopathies, and venereal tumors) as well as morphological research (body size, hair type and color, and skull shape). They are interested in rarer breed submissions and if you would like to contribute, you can contact them at dog_genome@mail.nih.gov.

Darkwin’s Ark is a citizen scientist project, meaning you are a contributing member to data collection and analyses. You can get on a wait list for a free test, or pay for a swab kit. The Beauceron is not yet included in their database, but they are always looking for rare breeds and more participants.

The CHIC DNA Repository banks your dog’s DNA sample and archives it along with corresponding genealogical and phenotype information (provided by you) for future testing and research specifically aimed at inherited diseases. You can submit a cheek swab ($5) which will be stored at the UC-Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab, or a blood sample ($20; obtained by a veterinarian) which will be curated at the University of Missouri’s Animal Molecular Genetics Lab. While parent clubs can contact the bank about specific research or opportunities, the final determinations are made by the respective laboratories and their researchers. UM is where the ABC’s DCM samples are curated for future research. You can find a list of diseases tested for here, and a list of genetic conditions accepted by OFA/CHIC from other companies, by breed, here.

Breed Genetic Research

There are also opportunities to contribute to studying the genetic composition of the Beauceron. Recently, Better Bred started a group for Beaucerons. They are a for-profit group that compiles samples of breeds and produces a report on the genetic health of the breed population, level of inbreeding, and other information geared toward breed management rather than health. They have opened up sample submission for Beaucerons and once the sample reaches 30-50 participants they will produce a preliminary report. At 100 participants, they will run the full analysis and provide a final report. If you want to see an example, the Berger Picard report is available online. The “research” phase costs $50 per sample and after that phase is completed, the cost of the test increases to $80. If you are interested in contributing, there is a Facebook group for the Beauceron community. Currently, seven dogs have contributed DNA samples.

Embark also launched a similar program and the ABC could submit a request to partner with the company to learn about the state of the breed, genetic health research and testing specific to the breed, and other genetic information. Since your Embark data is owned by you, the owner of the dog, any data is permissible for use and could be incorporated into any studies undertaken at the direction of the ABC.

Word of Caution

No matter which company you decide to utilize you should be aware that any health data resulting from the analysis of your dog’s DNA should be taken with a grain of salt. While the science of understanding the genetics of inherited diseases is making great strides, it is evolving and not a complete science–yet. Rather, you should view it as a contribution to future findings and research with the added benefit of learning about your dog’s genetics. There are programs like the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs which allow you to search for the best tests by breed or issue, as well as by ailment. Also, you should be aware that your dog’s health information is protected under HIPAA just like your own health information.

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ABC’s First AKC Canine Ambassador

With the support and endoresement of the American Beauceron Club, member Victoria Paul is now an AKC Canine Ambassador. The AKC’s Canine Ambassador Program provides a link between the world of purebred dogs and children. Ambassadors are available to provide lessons and programming regarding the many facets of the purebred dog world, everything from grooming to showing and competition. Schools and other groups can search for an AKC ambassador by club or location to come and provide lessons on a variety of topics.FB IMG 1504821067499

To become an Ambassador, you must complete an application and be a member in good standing with the breed’s parent club. The breed club’s President, Vice President, Treasurer, or Secretary must write a letter of support recommending you as an ambassador. Victoria says the application is fairly easy, but make sure you are comfortable speaking in front of people! Also, a breadth of experience and knowledge regarding the purebred dog world is helpful too. The AKC provides information and support for ambassadors once they have been approved, with everything from lesson plans to handouts, to how to get your program jumpstarted.

Congratulations Victoria and we know you will do us proud as a representative of the ABC and the Beauceron breed.

Victoria, along with her two Beaucerons Luna and Solo, are available in the San Antonio, Texas area. You can contact her through the AKC Canine Ambassador Directory website by searching for her name or the American Beauceron Club. 

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.

So You Think You Want A Beauceron

The Beauceron is a wonderful and versatile breed. Before deciding whether the Beauceron is  the right breed for you, take the time to meet some dogs and speak to their owners. One way to learn about the breed is to join the American Beauceron Club (AKC parent club), which provides members the opportunity to meet and discuss the breed with fellow Beauceron owners and fanciers from across the country.

The ABC holds a yearly Journee du Beauceron (“Day of The Beauceron”). This French style dog show, exclusively for Beaucerons, is held at various locations each year. At the Journee, Beaucerons are rated and critiqued on their structure and temperament by expert French judges. Attending a Journee will give you the opportunity to meet many Beaucerons and  help you decide if this is the right breed for you.

If you cannot attend the Journee, learn about the breed by talking with as many breeders and owners as you can. Be sure to meet Beaucerons of various ages to get an overall sense of the breed as well as the energy levels of both young and mature Beaucerons.

Although they are obedient and relatively easy to train, the Beauceron requires an experienced, dedicated and active owner. They can  be overwhelming for a novice owner.. Beaucerons have strong personalities and a need for both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Under-stimulated dogs can become destructive as well as difficult to handle, and may exercise their frustrations on you or your home. The decision to add a Beauceron to your household should be well thought out and agreed to by every family member.

Health Concerns in Beaucerons

No breed is completely without health problems. Ask the breeder what health testing they have done on the sire and dam and if they are aware of any health issues in their lines (parents, grandparents and great-grandparents). Even among the most responsible breeders, health issues may arise. How a breeder responds to such problems is a more accurate indication of how reputable the breeder is.

A few health issues to be aware of include:

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
The primary abnormality in canine hip dysplasia is varying degrees of hip joint laxity, (looseness of hip joint), subluxation (partial dislocation of the hip joint), and severe arthritic change (a degenerative condition).

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
A disease of the heart muscle which causes the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Typically, both the ventricle (lower chamber) and  the atria (upper chamber) enlarge and the ventricle loses its ability to contract and pump blood out to the body or the lungs.

Eye Problems
There is a range of eye problems that can affect dogs. A yearly ophthalmologic examination by a certified veterinarian eye specialist is recommended for all breeds of dogs.

Allergies
Allergies can be either food-based or environmental. The most common food allergens are beef and milk products, cereals (wheat, corn, soy), chicken and eggs.

Gastric Dilation and Bloat
This condition occurs mostly in large breed dogs with deep chest cavities. Gas in the stomach causes it to swell. In some cases, the stomach rotates on its axis (known as torsion), closing off both ends of it. This condition can be life threatening to the dog if not treated immediately, usually through surgical intervention.

Osteochondrosis Desiccans (OCD)
OCD is a hereditary disease due to a defect in the cartilage overlying the head of one of the long bones. It is usually found in the shoulder or elbow joints and rarely affects the hocks or stifles. The condition is characterized by cracks and flaps in articular cartilage, which cause inflammation, joint instability, pain, lameness, and degenerative joint disease.

The Beauceron

The Beauceron, also known as Berger de Beauce and Bas Rouge, is the largest of the French sheepdogs and was developed solely in France with no foreign crosses. The Beauceron is closely related to the longhaired Briard or Berger de Brie.

The first mention of a dog which matches the Beauceron’s description is found in a manuscript dated 1587. In 1809 Abbé Rozier wrote an article on French herding dogs. It was he who first described the differences in type and used the terms Berger de la Brie for long coated dogs and Berger de la Beauce for short coated dogs. The name Beauceron was used for the first time by Pierre Megnin in his 1888 book on war dogs and the first Berger de Beauce was registered with the Societe Central Canine in September 1893. The French Club Les Amis du Beauceron (CAB), was founded in 1922 by Pierre Megnin and he together with Emmanuel Boulet developed the original breed standard for the Beauceron. The CAB has since guided the development of the breed in its native France, always keeping a watchful eye on the preservation of the breed’s herding and working ability.

During the early part of the 19th century large flocks of sheep were common and the Beauceron was indispensable for the shepherds of France; two dogs were sufficient to tend to flocks of 200 to 300 head of sheep. Sheep production experienced a sharp decline during the later half of the 19th century and by the second half of the 20th century was only a phantom of its past. With the decline in sheep and advent of corralling them rather than moving them from graze to graze, sheepdogs became for the most part obsolete. In an effort to preserve and save the breed, the French breed club for the Beauceron, Club Les Amis du Beauceron (CAB), promoted the breed in other fields, specifically in the area of protection of home and family. The breed served valiantly during both World Wars as messenger and mine detection dogs and has experienced a significant increase in popularity post World War II.


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Today, the breed is still utilized as a herding dog, working both sheep and cattle, but is also used as a personal protection dog, for tracking, police and military service and Search and Rescue. Looking for a true athlete with a steady disposition, uncanny ability to focus on the task at hand, agility and obedience enthusiasts in Europe and in the United States have successfully turned to the Beauceron as a competition partner.

The Beauceron is a dog of substance, is an active and serious working dog, with exceptional endurance, keen intelligence and obedience. Loyal and strongly devoted to his master, he is also a faithful family companion. Since the Beauceron has a well developed guarding instinct and is naturally distrusting of strangers, he lends himself well as a protector of house and home. His build, bearing, frank and unwavering expression demand respect wherever he goes.

Although easily trainable and obedient, the Beauceron is not a dog for novice owners. These dogs have strong personalities and coupled with a strong need for both physical and mental outlets, this breed more often than not requires an experienced, dedicated and active owner. Under-stimulated dogs become difficult to live with and destructive. The decision of adding a Beauceron to ones household should be a well-contemplated one and although puppies are not readily available it is advisable to remain patient when selecting a breeder and puppy.

Today’s Beaucerons physically bear little resemblance to the dogs of the late 19th century. The Beauceron of yesteryear was more petit in its build, with a shorter, hard and close lying outer coat. Next to black-and-rust and harlequins a variety of coat colors existed, such as reds. Today’s standard recognizes only black-and-tan and harlequin as coat colors and the breed has added substance to its build. Although heavier in build today, the breed remains a natural athlete, without bulk or heaviness, moving effortlessly and with a noble carriage.

The French writer Colette was a devotee of the breed and labeled the Beauceron “the country gentleman”. She described them as “affectionate, playful, superb with children, absolutely and deeply attached to their masters. But at the same time, there is something mysterious about a Beauceron. They are like some people who don’t talk much but have a strong presence. They have a dimension, a depth, I have not found in other dogs.” This is the essence of the Beauceron, then and now.

History of the Beauceron


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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 1587, 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 its longhaired cousin, the Briard or Berger de Brie.

In 1809, a priest, Abe Rosier, wrote an article on these French herding dogs.  It was he who first described the differences in type and used the terms Berger de la Brie and Berger de la Beauce.

In 1809, a priest, Abe Rosier, wrote an article on these French herding dogs.  It was he who first described the differences in type and used the terms Berger de la Brie and Berger de la Beauce.

The Society 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. Paul Mégnin differentiated between the Shepherd of the Brie and the Shepherd of Beauce. Assisted by M. Emmanuel Ball, M. Paul 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. Paul Megnin.

The French army also used the Beauceron. 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.


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The last modification to the French standard for the Beauceron was in 2006 and has been applied since November 9th, 2006. The minimum 5 year wait period made it possible for the breeders to adapt their breeding stock to the new standard. This is only the 6th 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 that the breed has become known outside of France. The Beauceron is gaining in popularity in many different countries, including here in the United States. Here he has attracted much attention due to his appearance and temperament.

The French writer Colette was a devotee of the breed and labeled the Beauceron “the country gentleman”. He described them as “affectionate, playful, superb with children, absolutely and deeply attached to their masters. But at the same time, there is something mysterious about a Beauceron. They are like some people who don’t talk much but have a strong presence. They have a dimension, a depth, I have not found in other dogs.”

Due to its great versatility, Beaucerons are utilized in a variety of areas. They are an eager and willing worker, whose intelligence and obedience, make them an extremely versatile and superior working dog. Today’s Beauceron is being used much in the same fashion as the German Shepherd dog in this country. While still tending sheep and cattle, the Beauceron is utilized for military and police work, Search & Rescue, handicapped assistance work, canine sports such as Agility, French Ring, Schutzhund, Obedience, Tracking, Skijoring, and of course as a family companion.

 

© Copyright 2014 American Beauceron Club. All Rights Reserved

The Country Gentleman (AKC Gazette)

For many past and present, to Beauceron authorities and fanciers, the words “Country Gentleman” have summed up the essence of the breed.  Many have indeed noticed the strong and noble carriage of the Beauceron.  Many have experienced the qualities, which earned him this epithet – his dignity, loyalty, work ethic and stoicism.

Today, I want to focus on a trait that may be disconcerting to some.  I am alluding to the gentlemanly aloofness Beaucerons can display.  It has nothing to do with being timid and insecure, yet, it is often thought of as such.

A Beauceron is primarily a working dog.  Being a shepherd, he focuses on his surroundings with an alert and watchful attitude.  He will respond with great seriousness and dedication to what needs to be done out there.  Drive, courage, steadiness and intelligence will come into play when a task is at hand.  However, the same Beauceron can display a reserved demeanor and manifest a total lack of interest in being a social, outgoing dog.  He will be polite, acknowledge the presence of a stranger with calm.  He will accept with detachment or indifference the attention that comes from unknown parties, but it does not necessarily mean he enjoys the spotlight.  In his mind, he has better things to do than to respond to the fuss lavished on him.

I have witnessed a visiting stranger jump out of a jeep, bend over a large Beauceron male that had come over to greet him, and slap him hard on both sides of his chest.  This dog did not respond in an aggressive way, he simply took one hard look at the man, walked away a few steps and never let his eyes off this “rude human.”  The dog followed his every move closely, ever so watchful. Was he timid? No!  He was vigilant, at the ready, and he clearly showed he was not interested in such familiarity.

Beauceron owners are encouraged to socialize their dogs extensively.  However, their dogs may still embarrass them by being aloof and seemingly antisocial.  Some Beaucerons have been labeled timid because they object to being touched by strangers; some may get tense; others may recoil or turn their heads away.  Who says that one has to pet dogs that you meet?  There are many ways to interact with strange dogs of any breed without having to touch them and push yourself onto them.

The serious minded Beauceron is perfectly content to be a polite, civilized companion, accepting of total strangers, as long as he is treated like the gentleman he is.

The above was originally published in the AKC GAZETTE, June 2009, and is reprinted with permission.  The author, Claudia Batson, is the AKC Gazette columnist for the American Beauceron Club. 

French Breed Club Logo

Comments on the Beauceron Standard

 

The following are comments written by M. Maurice Hermel for the FCI Standard #44 published on 10/25/06. They were approved by the Club des Amis du Beauceron (CAB) board at the Nationale d’ Elevage.

M. Hermel is the head of CAB’s Judges Committee (in charge of educating aspiring judges) and was the conformation judge at our 2007 Journée du Beauceron. His comments were translated by C. Batson

I. Main Points

The Beauceron is not a heavy dog. Many judges often tend to forget this, confusing power (one of the breeds traits) and heaviness. It is the dog seen on the logo of the Club des Amis du Beauceron that we must keep in mind when we evaluate the breed.
That is to say:

  • Strong skeleton regardless of gender
  • Top line perfectly straight
  • Underline showing a good profile with the abdomen slightly drawn up
  • Neck is well defined with an upright carriage
  • Shoulder joint well defined

Comments_1This last trait gives the dog elegance –despite his power- and goes hand in hand with an excellent angulation of the shoulder and arm. If this angle is too straight, the shoulder joint is pushed backward, the forearm is too vertical, the shoulder blade is higher, the neck is pushed forward and the dog looses its nobility. The head carriage becomes mediocre.

These points must be present in the general appearance of the dog within the standard (it is often said that the dog is a whole and that the first glance often brings the final judgment!)

II. The Head

Once more, we must never forget that: “The breed shows in the head and that all the rest follows.” (P. Megnin, 1899, one of the most famous zoologists in the world.)

The head must be without fault for the dog to be rated excellent even if the rest of the body is excellent.

The head is the last refuge of the breed’s type. The standard describes it very well, but we must specify that the head must be:

  • Chiseled with dry lips
  • Skin is tight on the skull
  • Eyelids and orbit area not thick
  • Eyes must not appear swollen or “Chinese”
  • No dewlap
  • Lips and eyelids must be pigmented

III. Chiseling
It is very important that the under orbital area be well chiseled and dry.

The head is made of two rectangular parallelepipeds fitted into one another, the bigger one for the skull, the smaller for the muzzle, making all the lines of the head parallel or perpendicular. This is expressed in the standard by:

  • Muzzle fairly square
  • Flat skull
  • Muzzle must not be sharp or receding

All these elements point to the importance of the chiseling in the Beauceron head, for if it does not appear, we are in the presence of a common head, which is not representative of the breed. (See Diagram A)

A head showing a short muzzle, concave profile of the head is not correct.

DIAGRAM A
III. Chiseling

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IV. The Eyes

Their shape is well described in the standard. We must penalize eyes that are pulled to the side and remind you of “Chinese eyes.” The expression then becomes incorrect for a sheepdog, for a frank direct look cannot be obtained with a sidelong glance or slanted eyes or narrow set eyes.

1. Eye color for the black and tan coat:

  • Dark chestnut. Both eyes are of the same color neither black, light, or yellow. Yellow is never the eye color of black dogs whatever the breed!
  • Yellow is not a very light chestnut color: it is ANOTHER COLOR.

2. Eye color for the Harlequin coat:

  • The two eyes can be blue, entirely or partially, BUT, when the iris is bicolor, the other color must exactly the same as the dark chestnut required for the black and tan dogs.

Partially yellow eyes cannot be allowed on Harlequin dogs, just as they are not for the black and tan dogs. It is very clear, yellow eyes will cause the dog to be rated “inadequate.”

V. Ears

The problem lies with the natural ears. We have to examine the ear set and evaluate its texture (thin enough.) Like the cropped ears, they are not divergent, hanging low on the cheeks and they must measure half the length of the head. The ear set tends to project the ears forward. (See diagram B)

DIAGRAM B
V. The Ears

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VI. Topline

It consists of the back and the loin. It is straight and horizontal from the withers to the iliac bone (beginning of the croup.) To achieve a correct topline, muscle mass must fill all the space between the vertebrae as they do not have apophysises of equal size. In fact they are angled in opposite directions, forward and backward. The point where their angulation changes is on the 9th dorsal vertebra which does not have an apophasis. It is also called the “anticlinal vertebra.” The first eight vertebrae are angled forward, the last four along with the lumbar ones are slanted backwards. Muscles must fill the volume between the three apophysises of each vertebra. This prevents to notice a dip of the topline at the 9th vertebra. (See Diagram C)

This must not be confused with sway back, which is a general concave curvature of the back, and far more serious.

Conclusion: A sway back is a general drop of the spine, not at all the depression seen on the 9th vertebra of a dog lacking good muscling of the back.

DIAGRAM C
VI. Topline

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VII. The Chest

It must be oval, full; long never cylindrical not at all shaped like the keel of a boat. It blends into the flanks.

The floating ribs 11th, 12th and 13th) are long permitting good volume of the chest. Short floating ribs would be an important fault.

The chest shaped like a ship’s keel is caused by the shape of the ribs and is an inherited fault. Therefore, take heed and avoid the transmission of this fault!

VIII. The Croup

It is not worth spending time on this problem. All judges easily recognize a croup that is too slanted and would change the hindquarter’s angulation.

The Beauceron is a trotter, not a runner or a canterer.

IX. Angulations

As far as they are concerned and to complete what I was stating at the start of these comments, we must be very watchful. Too straight, they make the dog taller and characterize runners not trotters. Such angulations must be penalized. (See Diagram D)

DIAGRAM D
IX. Angulations
Angles are intentionally exaggerated

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X. The Tail

Many old judges would say: “a dog is a head and a tail!”

The tail must be strong and large at the base. A thin tail is the sign of a light skeleton, which is also an important fault.

The tail should be carried in the shape of a J, we must be tolerant with a high carriage, but it must never be carried above the topline or curved over the loin.

NB: Nevertheless, it is a fault, not as important as the faults of the head, but too much tolerance of a poor carriage generalizes a fault that is very difficult to correct after it has become a habit.

XI. The Feet

One of the main faults is when the feet are not aligned. We must always be watchful of this, because this fault is repeated from parents to progeny.

Another fault is poor feet i.e. not tight, compact, in short flat feet.

NB: It is very important to examine feet in action, for it is possible to notice these faults when the dog is moving.

XII. The Coat

The markings’ color is essential for the dog to be of good quality. Markings should be deep rust. Light markings must be penalized depending on the degree of lightness. This is well described in the standard.

Disappearance: It begins with the disappearance of the spots above the eyes. This is very serious because we are leaving the black and tan type. A dog that does not have the tan spots above the eyes is becoming entirely black. Such fault shows that the dog has lost the fundamental trait of the breed.

NB: Too invasive tan markings must be penalized, but the fault is less grave than their disappearance.

Undercoat: It is one of a sheepdog’s traits. It must exist, even if it is thin. Too much undercoat is incorrect but less than it lacking. It is up to the breeder to keep an eye on this problem and choose his breeding stock wisely.

CONCLUSION:

All points covered in the standard have not been discussed in these comments, we did not want to write a “remake.” In fact, a judge knows how to respect the standard when it comes to the teeth and the dewclaws, the Beauceron standard is precise on these points.
We have only highlighted the important point-sometimes with pyrotechnical explanations, which, without being specific traits of the breed, are nevertheless essential to judge a Beauceron without committing serious mistakes.

This text will give new judges – and older judges who will take the trouble to read it- guidelines to avoid overlooking main faults in judging the Beauceron.

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.