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Judging the Beauceron


This article was originally published in Showsight Magazine, January 2013 issue.


Judging the Beauceron

This article was written based on a program used in judge’s education presentations.

First and foremost the Beauceron is a herding dog and must be of a structure that would give the impression they could herd a large flock of sheep all day long. The Beauceron is a well balanced dog, well muscled without heaviness or coarseness. Dogs are characteristically larger with a larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are distinctly feminine but without weakness in substance or structure. The Beauceron should be confident with no trace of timidity. Although they can be reserved with strangers they should be easily approached without showing signs of fear.


Males 25½-27½” and Bitches 24″-26″.

Disqualification: Over or under size.

Proportion: “Medium” in all proportion. Length of body slightly greater than height. Bitches can be slightly longer than dogs.

Substance: Powerful, well built, well muscled, without sign of heaviness or clumsiness. Dogs lacking substance should be severely penalized.


Long and well chiseled, in proportion with the body. The length of head is about 40% the height of the dog. The height of width of the head are slightly less than half the total length. The skull and muzzle are of equal length. Seen in profile, the top lines of skull and muzzle lie roughly in parallel planes.

Skull: Flat or slightly rounded near side of head. Stop: Slightly pronounced and equidistant from occiput to tip of nose.

Muzzle: Proportionate, not narrow, pointed or excessively broad.

Ears: Set high. May be cropped or natural no preference to be given to one style over the other. Natural ears are half pricked, ½ the length of the head.

DQ: Natural ears upright and rigid.

Nose: Proportionate to the muzzle, well developed, never split and always black.

Eyes: Horizontal and slightly oval, dark brown, never lighter than dark hazel. Walleye (blue, light blue, particolored) acceptable in harlequin.

DQ: Yellow (bird of prey) eyes, walleye in black/rust dogs.

Lips: Firm and well pigmented. Slight but firm flews.

Teeth: Scissor bite preferred, level tolerated. DQ: Overshot or undershot with loss of contact. Absence of 3 or more teeth, first premolars not to count.

Neck: Muscular and of good length, united harmoniously with shoulders.

Topline & Chest

Topline: Straight and strong. Withers are well defined. Loin is broad, short and muscular. Croup is slightly sloped in direction of tail attachment.

Chest: The chest is wide, deep, long and descends to the point of the elbow. Girth of the chest is greater than the height at the withers by 20%. (In Europe they measure the dogs and record in a written critique). Ribcage extends well back with long, flexible and moderately curved ribs.

Body & Legs

Body: The length of the body from the point of the buttock is slightly more than the height of the dog at the withers.

Forequarters: Legs are vertical when viewed from front or in profile, shoulders are moderately long with good layback, feet are large, round and compact. Nails are black.

Hindquarters: Angulation balanced with forequarters, vertical when viewed from rear or side, upper thigh broad and muscular, hock at a point roughly ¼ of the height at withers, forming well open angle with lower thigh. Metatarsals are vertical, slightly further back than the point of the buttock. When viewed from behind, metatarsals are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Feet are round and compact, toeing out slightly. (A French judge once showed me that if you measure around from the inside dewclaw to the outside toe, the center of that measurement of the foot is what points forward.)

Dewclaws: Double dewclaws on each rear leg. Two separate toes with nails placed close to the foot. (When examining for the dewclaws if they can be clearly visualized it is not necessary to handle them as one would “feel” for them on a Briard.)

DQ: Anything less than 2 dewclaws on each rear leg.


In repose the tail is carried down and descends at least to the point of the hock. It forms a slight “J” without deviation to the left or right. In action the tail can be carried higher, becoming an extension of the topline.

DQ: Docked tail or tail carried over the back. ((Some will relax (straighten) their tail when standing still but the “J” will reappear as soon as they move.))


Movement is fluid and effortless The head is lowered approaching the level of the topline. Dogs with clumsy or inefficient gait must be penalized. They must give the impression that they could cover a lot of ground throughout the day without becoming exhausted.

Coat & Colors

Coat: Short and smooth on head, ears an lower legs. Longer on body 1¼”-1½”. May be longer around neck. Tail and thighs are lightly fringed. The undercoat is short, fine, dense and downy, preferably mouse gray, very tight, and does not appear through the coat. The Beauceron is to be shown in its natural state with no trimming or sculpting.

DQ: Shaggy coat. (In 30 years, I have never seen a shaggy coated Beauceron.)

Black/Rust color: Black is pure and rich. Rust markings range from tan to rust colored. The French standard (and the AKC standard since it follows the French standard) states the markings should be “squirrel red”. I personally prefer the term rust because even though the squirrels in Europe may be red, the squirrels in the western United States are for the most part gray except the ground squirrels which are a light tan color.

The rust markings are: Spot over each eye, on the sides of muzzle, on chest with two patches preferred over solid breastplate, throat, under tail and on lower legs. Pencilling of black on toes and blending of black on the leg markings is allowed. (The rust markings in general tend not to have crisp edges but rather blend in the transition from black to rust. The markings need not be excessive but they need to be there.

DQ: Complete absence of markings (solid black dog), clearly marked, solid white spot on chest more than 1 inch in diameter. White hairs are tolerable.

Harlequin color: The harlequin is a blue merle. They have the black/rust base color with the blue/gray patches distributed over the body in a balanced pattern. The gray can be light to dark and the black hairs are interspersed within the gray. There can be more black than gray. Rust markings are the same as the black/rust dog.

DQ: Head entirely gray (without the blend of the black), too much gray (again without the blend of the black), black on one side gray on the other. Clearly marked, solid white spot on chest more than 1″ in diameter. The harlequin tends to darken with age. Some more than others. They are born very brightly marked then the gray blends with the black as they get older. Some retain more of the demarcation between the black and the blue/gray blend and others get more of a roany look to their gray markings but the markings are still there.


The Beauceron is self assured with a frank approach, never mean, timid or worried. They can be reserved with strangers but should be gentle and fearless. Any display of fear or unjustifiable aggression is not to be tolerated. Dogs that can’t be examined should be excused.

Beauceron Disqualifications

  • Height outside of standard
  • Split nose, color other than black, unpigmented areas
  • Bite overshot or undershot with loss of contact
  • Absence of 3 or more teeth, first premolars not counting
  • Yellow eyes, wall eye in black/rust
  • Natural ears carried upright and rigid
  • Docked tail, tail carried over the back
  • Anything less than double dewclaws on each rear leg
  • Shaggy Coat
  • Any color other than Black/rust or Harlequin
  • Complete absence of markings
  • Well defined, solid white spot larger than 1 inch in diameter
  • In the Harlequin too much gray, black on one side gray on the other, head entirely gray