The earliest record of what is believed to be the breed of dog now known as the Beauceron is found in a Renaissance manuscript in the year 1578. It is believed that the Beauceron descended from a hardy ancient canine designated by paleontologists as the “Chien des Tourbieres” from the French Jura, and was originally domesticated and employed as larger game hunting dogs (bear, boar, and stag.) From these duties they took early to the tasks of flock guardian and herding dog. The Beauceron’s role as esteemed companion and protector is also recorded in royal portraiture, where they are portrayed as companions to kings.
The Beauceron, sometimes referred to as the Berger de Beauce or “Bas Rouge” (red stocking,) was included in the first French Canine Exposition held in Paris in 1863 by the Imperial Society of Acclimation. In 1897 the first club for the “chiens de berger” (herding dogs) was formed. During this period, both the Beauceron and the Briard were considered to be of one breed with different coat types. In 1911 a separate club for the Beauceron was formed and the breeds divided. This club, Club des Amis du Beauceron, continues its stewardship of the breed today in France.
It is not surprising that the Beauceron is almost unknown outside of France, as it is truly rare by any standard. To add to the picture, the breed faced near extinction twice during the century due to both world wars where they were used not only as sentry dogs but also as bomb dogs and message carriers. Most recently, the breed was rebuilt following World War 2 primarily from approximately 50 select specimens.
In France the Beauceron must be confirmed (a detailed conformation evaluation) and pass a character test (general conduct, conduct under gunfire and attack on handler) with acceptable ratings being Excellent (awarded only when a dog is exceptional for his age) and Tres Bon (awarded when a dog is generally correct and excelling in courage.) Should the dog be scored Bon or insufficient they may be reconsidered in 6 months or denied breeding privileges altogether.
In the USA the Beauceron was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1994. In January 1996 the Beauceron was accepted into the AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) for registration. (They could not be shown in AKC events at this time.) Sept 1, 2001 AKC accepted the Beauceron into the Miscellaneous Group and they were allowed to be shown in the Miscellaneous classes and participate in the performance sports (agility, obedience, herding, etc).
Finally, after all the necessary requirements were completed by the parent club, North American Beauceron Club (now American Beauceron Club.) On June 28, 2007 the Beauceron was moved into the AKC Herding Group and was able to compete for AKC Championship points. This was a banner day for Chateau Rocher, as our Arco du Chateau Rocher went Best of Breed at this historic show, was awarded a 4 point Major and went on to win Group 3 becoming the first Beauceron to place in the AKC Group.
Arco du Chateau Rocher
AKC Ch, UKC Gr Ch , Mex Ch, World Ch and Champion of the Americas 2007, PT,TT,CGC
Best of Breed Westminster 2008