A traditional French herding breed, dating back to the Renaissance manuscripts of 1578, the Beauceron was differentiated from its long-haired cousin, the Briard, by Pierre Magnin in 1863. Originating from the French plains of Beauce, as its name would indicate, the Beauceron was traditionally utilised as a working dog, herding sheep and cattle in the fields, whilst guarding the farm property against intruders. Other roles included military service, incorporating the detection of mines, combat support, running messages, discerning scents to find wounded soldiers and transporting ammunition and food. Over recent years, the breed has been gaining popularity in North America and Western Europe as a companion dog and watch dog.
Within the 'working' branch of canines, the Beauceron is athletically built with muscular legs, a well defined head, high-set drop ears, a fringed tail and smooth double coat in colour variations of black, grey, tan or mottled harlequin. Further features include two tan spots above the eyes and either side of the muzzle, as well as tan colouration of the lower legs; the French also refer to the breed as 'Bas Rouge,' meaning 'Red Stockings' for this reason.
Maintaining its early herding instincts and strong prey drive, the modern Beauceron is uncommon as a household pet, but still widely seen on farms across Europe. This is not a fair reflection of the breed's nature, however, as the Beauceron is a loyal, affectionate and obedient dog, vigilant to change and threat and protective of its family. In general, a healthy Beauceron will weigh anything up to 50 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when shown appropriate care.
Alongside skin allergies and dermatomyositis, an inflammatory condition that affects muscles, skin and blood vessels, the Beauceron is susceptible to gastric tortion, a common ailment in large-chested breeds, and potentially fatal if left untreated for too long. Besides this, the breed is typically healthy and resilient, prone to no known genetic diseases.