Beauceron Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Beauceron Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
This old French breed may look like a cross between a German Shepherd and a Doberman Pinscher, but it is most definitely purebred! I've owned two Beaucerons myself.
This is a confident, steady-tempered, usually serious dog.
Athletic and agile, he needs hard exercise (running, hiking, fetching). A walk around the block is most assuredly not enough. Too much confinement and too little exercise can lead to destructive behaviors and rambunctiousness, especially in youngsters.
Mental exercise (advanced obedience, agility, herding, Schutzhund) is just as important to this highly intelligent breed.
Matching his stern appearance, the Beauceron is usually keen-eyed and watchful, aloof and discriminating with strangers. Socialization must be early and frequent so that his watchfulness doesn't shade into suspiciousness or aggression. Shyness is unfortunately present in some lines.
Most Beaucerons are territorial with other animals, but usually good with the pets in their own family, if raised with them.
Beaucerons were bred to be herding dogs, so they might try to poke or push people and other animals – this is an attempt to move them along or gather them together! Beaucerons like to control everyone and everything. They require a confident, consistent owner who knows how to lead.
If you want a dog who...
- Is large, athletic, and ruggedly handsome
- Has a short easy-care coat
- Looks stern and imposing, and makes a vigilant watchdog
A Beauceron may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Aggression or fearfulness toward strangers in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- Aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
- Waiting lists (hard to find) and a high price tag
A Beauceron may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Beaucerons have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Beauceron to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Beauceron
If I was considering a Beauceron, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Beaucerons MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored – which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Beaucerons can make a shambles of your house and yard.
I don't recommend this breed if you want a casual pet for your family. Beaucerons were never intended to be simply household pets. Get them involved in herding, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or schutzhund (protection), or carting, or a similar canine activity. They must have physical outlets for their energy and mental outlets for their intelligent minds.
- Providing enough socialization. Most Beaucerons have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to biting. Some Beaucerons go in the opposite direction – without enough socialization, they become fearful of strangers, which can lead to defensive biting.
- Potential animal aggression. Beaucerons can be fine with the pets in their own family. But many individuals are dominant or aggressive toward strange dogs of the same sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.
- The strong temperament. The best Beaucerons are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Beaucerons are very dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things.
To teach your Beauceron to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Beauceron Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Potential health problems. Bone and joint disorders are much too common in Beaucerons. You need to avoid irresponsible breeders who haven't x-rayed their dogs' hips and elbows before breeding them. See Beauceron Health for more advice.
- Finding one and paying the price. This breed is not common and breeders are charging a lot for them.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.