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A Renaissance manuscript dated 1578 appears to be the earliest reference to this dog from the La Beauce plains near Paris. The Berger de Beauce or Beauceron was originally used for hunting wild boar but turned to herding and livestock guarding. In more recent times, the breed has been employed for military and police work. During both World Wars, the Beauceron served France as a message carrier and detector of both wounded soldiers and land mines. Double dewclaws on both hind legs are a unique feature of this powerful, muscular breed.
Aloof with strangers and naturally protective of their charges, Beaucerons are loyal and devoted to their masters. Bold and fearless, this is not a dog for the meek or mild-mannered. Beaucerons are normally calm and intelligent but require a strong (not harsh) master. They tend to become one-person dogs.
The Beauceron needs an outlet for its energy and is happiest when it has a job to do. Regular exercise is necessary.
A large breed, the Beauceron stands 25-28 in (64-71 cm) and tips the scales at 65-85 lb (29.5-38.5 kg).
The coat is rough, short, thick and coarse with a slight fringe on the thighs. The head carries a shorter coat than the rest of the body. Beneath the coarse outer coat is a fine, dense and downy undercoat that is usually grey.
The colour may be black-and-tan (known as Bas Rouge for the reddish-tan leg markings) or harlequin (a tri-colour with grey and black patches distributed evenly over the body).
Weekly brushing or combing to remove dead coat is advisable.