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History of the Beauceron

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 1578, is the first specific mention of a dog of the Beauceron's description.

Piman de la Prahas 'Phantom'  - click for full size

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 it's long-haired cousin, the Briard or Berger de Brie.

The Societe 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. Pierre Megnin differentiated between the Shepherd of the Brie and the Shepherd of Beauce. Assisted by M. Emmanuel Ball, M. Pierre 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. Pierre Megnin.

The Beauceron was also used by the French army. 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.

Phantom  - click for full size

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.

The last modification to the standard for the Beauceron was in 1965 and has been applied since 1972**. The 5 year wait period made it possible for the breeders to adapt their breeding stock to the new standard. This is only the 5th 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 the breed has become known outside of France. The Beauceron is gaining in popularity in many different countries.

** UPDATE The French made another modification to the Standard 11/29/2001. You can view the latest standard in different languages from the Standard page.

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