Category Archives: Before You Buy

Selecting A Breeder

Sonata and Pups

When selecting a Beauceron breeder for your new puppy, the breeder should be interested in the welfare of the breed and puppy. Not the money that the puppy will bring. Beware of profit orientated breeders. Ask yourself a few questions.

You want these answers to be “yes”

1. Were the Beauceron puppies born on the premises?

2. Does the breeder insist that the puppies be at least eight weeks before being placed?

3. Did the breeder seem happy that you are asking questions?

4. Did the breeder ask you lots of questions? Questions about your lifestyle, family, experience with dogs and other pets, why you wanted a dog? Did you feel a bit like you were applying for a million dollar mortgage?

5. Did the breeder ask you whether you planned on breeding?

6. Will the breeder be available to offer advice and support for as long as you have your Beauceron?

7. Does the breeder make you feel comfortable calling for advice?

8. Did the breeder go over some of the problems some people have with the Beauceron?

9. Is the breeder a member of the American Beauceron club?

10. Are the sire and dam of the Beauceron puppies each at least two years old?

11. Were both sire and dam tested for any genetic health problems before the breeding? Hip dysplasia etc. The dogs tested will have an OFA number (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).

12. Does the breeder have information on the health testing of most of the immediate relatives of the sire and dam?

13. Did the breeder volunteer information on the health testing, and volunteer proof?

14. Does the breeder offer a guarantee against genetic health problems?

15. Did the breeder explain that a guarantee is not a promise that a genetic health problem won’t occur, but a promise about what will happen if it does?

16. Is the guarantee at least two years long?

17. Does the guarantee allow you to keep your Beauceron?

18. Does the guarantee allow you to choose at least a partial refund instead of another Beauceron?

19. Is the dam a family pet (meaning does she live in the house as part of the family)?

20. Have the Beauceron puppies been introduced to children? To other animals?

21. Is the breeder concerned enough about the welfare of the dog to promise to take it back (no matterhow old) if you can’t keep it? (Not necessarily pay you, the purpose is to avoid the dog being placed in an animal shelter, ensure good placement)

22. Does the breeder believe it is important to keep in contact with puppy buyers to verify the level of success in producing a healthy dog of correct temperament?

23. Does the breeder intend to follow up on the dog as it matures and ages?

24. Does the breeder consider himself or herself a dedicated hobbyist to the Beauceron breed?

25. If the breeder advertises do they focus on the important qualities such as health and temperament.
You want these answers to be “no”:

1. Did the breeder state or imply that puppies would be arriving from off premises?

2.  Will the breeder agree to sell a puppy less than 8 weeks old?

3.  Was the breeder reluctant to answer questions?

4.  Did the breeder seem to be defensive in answering questions?

5.  Does the breeder charge different prices for dogs with or without papers?

6.  Did the breeder claim that his or her lines were entirely free of genetic health problems?

7.  Do you feel pressured into buying a puppy? Do you feel like the breeder is trying to “sell” the puppy (as in persuading you to buy)?

8.  Does the breeder promote the Beauceron puppies as gifts or offer some special incentive in price to encourage a sale?

9.  Does the breeder have more than two breeds available? How many dogs of each breed do they have (beware of a high number)? Are they able to socialize and care for that number of dogs or are they mostly just “kennel dogs”.

10. Does the breeder consider himself or herself to be a professional in the business of breeding?  That is “professional” in the sense of making money, profit, or income to be distinguished from “professional” in the sense of serious, dedicated and knowledgeable.

11. Does the breeder charge different prices depending upon the sex of the puppy?

12. If the breeder advertises do they seem to focus on superficial qualities like color or size while ignoring health testing?

13. Does the guarantee require the dog die or be euthanized because of the health problem?

14. Does the health guarantee require that you return the puppy?

15. Is the guarantee limited to a replacement puppy from the same breeder?
A Beauceron and other pure bred puppies should be matched to their prospective owners. Each breed has certain personality traits that will not necessarily apply to other breeds. Unfortunately, animal shelters are full of pure bred dogs that didn’t act the way their owners thought they should. These dogs are acting the way they were bred to act. The problem lies with the owner that didn’t take the dog to obedience classes, didn’t know the breed traits before buying their puppy, and didn’t get their puppy from a responsible breeder. Dogs are like children and deserve a stable and loving home for their entire lives. If you think that you might have to give up the dog in the future because of a lifestyle change then do yourself and the dog a favor, buy a new TV instead.

What You Should Know Before You Buy


Just look at the picture above. Who could ask for anything sweeter than a Beauceron puppy? Before you grab the newspaper or get on the internet, it would be wise to take into account a few facts. I will give you a few things to consider, but don’t let this be your only source of information. Please visit my links page for web sites that have other information about the Beauceron.

The little sweetheart you see above was about 6 months of age when this photo was taken. He is already pretty well behaved and was housebroken within a week from the time he went to his new home. The Beauceron is extremely smart and has a burning desire to be with his owners at all times. The puppy above is Black/Tan in color but they also come in a Grey/Black/Tan variety that we call a Harlequin (actually a merle). Hair is relatively short but that doesn’t mean they don’t shed. Beaucerons are what I would term a medium shedder. Twice a year they will shed more than at other times but I would certainly not say they shed heavily. However, they do shed all the time. Please note also that this 6 month old puppy has really large feet. They really stand out in a crowd. Of course, when this dog is fully grown those feet will not look large at all. They will be needed to support the 85 to 105 pound dog that you have selected.

Beaucerons were developed to herd and act as guardians. Herding requires a dog that can think and react accordingly. They must be able to do the job by themselves, and yet, when directed must obey without hesitation. In order to fulfill these requirements the dog must be intelligent and loyal without question. While they are not herding your flock they must be by your side at all times. Now, if you don’t have a flock, guess where your dog will be. You quickly find that they are equally at home on your bed or sharing private moments in your bathroom. They are great at helping you prepare dinner, or if you made the mistake of feeding them under the table, helping you eat dinner. When you get your Beauceron, do yourself and the dog a favor and purchase a crate to keep him in. It really makes it easy to housebreak the dog and later in life will give you some private moments.

All dogs evolved from wolves and they still retain many of the traits of wolves. All dog families have a hierarchy that the dogs know about. Unfortunately, many times the owners are not aware of this hierarchy and this usually ends up poorly. Dog families have a leader and everyone else is subordinate to that leader. There is also a second in command, a third, and so on. In families where the humans are the leaders you will normally have a well adjusted dog and few problems. We have all heard of the dog that is totally devoted to his master but urinates in other family members shoes or growls at them when they get too close at dinner time. This is a dog that knows who his leader is but thinks he is second in command and above everyone else. Then there is the dog that is the leader. He pulls on the leash, demands to be taken outside, does not mind anyone, and bites. This dog doesn’t just bite strangers, he will bite everyone. We have all seen this behavior in many different dogs. Usually, the behavior is tolerated by the owners in a small dog because it is too small to hurt anyone. These dogs are totally obnoxious and no fun to be around. Now as for the Beauceron, don’t forget this dog will weigh around 90 pounds. That type of behavior in a 90 pound dog is not only unacceptable, it’s dangerous. It doesn’t matter that you have had dogs all your life, everyone should attend a basic obedience class with their new dog. It will teach your dog some things but more importantly it will teach you how to handle your dog. Before I forget, not all obedience instructors are the same. Ask some questions about their training and experience. You don’t want an instructor that specializes in small submissive breeds. They should have some experience with large dominate dogs also.

The Beauceron is naturally wary of strangers. They will watch strangers closely and be hesitant to approach without encouragement. Don’t mistake this for fear. Quite to the contrary, while the Beauceron will not be happy with a stranger in their space, they will not hesitate to take positive action if they or their family are threatened. These dogs make excellent police dogs because of their intelligence and willingness to wade into a fight. This means that they should be heavily socialized from birth. They need to be put into unusual circumstances as puppies to develop confidence and willingness to approach other people. Dogs that don’t get out to meet people many times end up without confidence and bite out of fear.

Beaucerons are generally healthy but do have some issues as do all breeds of dogs. Please look at our health page and do your homework so that you know what are the health issues of the breed. The breeder that you get your puppy from should have done the necessary screening of the parents. Ask for proof of the screening in the form of a certificate or an independent source like the internet. Ask about health issues in the pedigree that may not have a screening test. When you do this, you are at the mercy of the breeder so be careful. Ask for recommendations from previous puppy buyers.

So, from whom should you get your dog. There are people that will tell you to only get your dog from France, that there are no good dogs in the United States. While it is true that the gene pool in the U.S. is small, it is equally true that all the dogs or their ancestors in the U.S. came from France. The price for a dog is higher here than in France because of supply and demand. However, if you want a cheaper dog from France, be prepared to pay for your trip to examine the kennels and transportation of the puppy. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to deal long distance. Generally, you will get a better dog if you purchase from a breeder that shows their dogs. They are interested in producing better looking and healthier dogs than are breeders that are only trying to make a profit. A show dog breeder normally will keep a dog they want to show and sell the rest that may have minor imperfections. This means high quality dogs available at reduced prices. Naturally, if you want a show dog, expect to pay more.

Questions that I haven’t answered? Please write or call me directly.

Why AKC Registration?

As dogs developed, some of them displayed certain traits that humans found desirable. That may have been color, coat type, or an ability to work with sheep. Humans discovered that if two dogs with the same traits were bred together, more of the resulting puppies displayed the desired traits. Over time, all the puppies displayed the desired traits and a breed was born. The American Kennel Club recognizes over 165 different breeds or dogs that, when bred, produce the same desirable traits. If you want a dog that will probably grow up acting in a certain manner or having a particular appearance, then you want a purebred dog.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a dog registry only. It does not guarantee health or make any other guarantees. It does make every effort to ensure that when you purchase a purebred dog with an American Kennel Club certificate, you are getting a dog from purebred parents. Many mutts make great pets and we have gotten several pound puppies that gave us lots of love. If you can accept a dog for what it is, then please look toward rescuing a dog from your local animal shelter. There you may find both mutts and purebred dogs that fit your needs. However, if you need dogs that behave in a certain manner, then select an AKC registered dog.

In recent years numerous registries for purebred dogs have emerged. You can look in any newspaper or shopper flyer and find ads for dogs registered with previously unknown registries. There are a number of reasons for this recent upsurge in registries but in most instances, it boils down to money. The AKC has implemented some new rules over the last few years to ensure that when you buy a purebred dog with an AKC registration, you get a purebred dog. The AKC requires that when sires are used frequently, they have a DNA test to ensure the puppies are from that sire. For example, let’s say you buy a Siberian Husky puppy registered with XYZ. Your puppy grows up and looks like a Siberian but weighs 100 pounds. This is not normal for a Siberian. Male Siberians should weigh no more than 60 pounds. So what happened? It could be that a Siberian female was bred with an Alaskan Malamute male. Malamutes regularly weigh over 100 lbs. Both breeds have similar appearances  but not the same breed characteristics. Your puppy is not purebred, it is a mixed breed. By requiring DNA testing, the AKC can determine if the puppy has the same DNA as the sire. Every month the American Kennel Club cancels the registration of entire litters because DNA testing proves that the sire was not the dog that it was reported to be. AKC also requires all dogs in a kennel be positively identified. That means dogs should have a tattoo, microchip, or some other means of unique, permanent identification. Breeders must also keep detailed records indicating parents, date of mating, number of puppies born, sexes, and where the puppies went. AKC also has inspectors that travel to kennels to ensure these requirements are met and that dogs are being kept in an acceptable manner. All this costs money and so its more expensive to register a dog with the AKC.

Some other registries have a form that is mailed to the registry in which the breeder attests to the parentage and there is no follow up to ensure pure breeding. This is a simple process requiring little money and is preferred by many commercial breeders. When you have a hundred breeding dogs, every penny counts. So test this yourself. Look in your local newspaper and see how many different registries there are. Call some of the breeders and ask why they chose the registry they did. Go to a local pet store that sells puppies and find out what puppies are coming from registries that you never heard of.

So the question is: Do you want a puppy with the breed traits you selected them for, or a puppy that looks purebred?

Beauceron Health Considerations

The following information is based on personal experience and information from other sources. We are not qualified veterinarians; you should do your own research as well as talking with your own veterinarian. All information given is to the best of our knowledge and we are not responsible for any misinformation.

Genetic Disorders In Dogs

Dogs are no different than humans when it comes to getting sick and having health problems. All dogs come from a single source; their heritage can be traced back to the wolf. As dogs developed they sometimes had physical variations that humans found desirable. As an example, there may have been a dog with spots that were attractive. That dog was then bred with other dogs that had a similar genetic variation. As these dogs continued to be bred, the recessive gene that caused the spots was concentrated in the offspring until all of them had the same characteristics. In other words, spots. This is the way that all purebred dogs were developed and is what gives us the individual breeds. Unfortunately, not only are the desirable genes concentrated but also some undesirable ones as well. This is why some breeds are more prone to genetic problems than others.

When a dog has a recessive gene for deafness, that doesn’t mean the dog will be deaf. However, if that dog is bred to another dog that has the recessive gene for deafness, the probability of the offspring having deafness is increased. When two dogs with the same recessive gene are bred, then, according to averages, one half of the litter will carry the deafness gene but not become deaf. One fourth of the litter will have the deafness gene and be deaf. Another one fourth of the litter will not have the gene and will not be deaf. When responsible breeders test their dogs for genetic defects such as deafness, they do not breed dogs that display deafness and increase the chances that their offspring will not carry the gene.

This is  a very simplified explanation of how different breeds of dogs are created genetic defects are passed to offspring. All pure bred dogs have genetic defects that are more prone to occur in their specific breed. When you consider getting a dog, you should be aware of the individual breed’s propensity to produce specific genetic defects. Do not consider getting a puppy whose parents have not been screened for the common genetic defects in that breed.

Genetic Disorders In Beaucerons

Beaucerons are no different than any other pure bred dog and have certain issues that should be screened for when possible.

Like many large breeds, the Beauceron is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. This is a genetic defect that causes pain and lameness. Some dogs are only slightly dysplastic and no action is required; others may require surgery or even euthanasia.  Dysplasia in the Beauceron occurs in about 14 percent of the breed. A reliable check for dysplasia cannot be done before the age of 24 months and there should be a record of it with the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals or OFA. When buying a puppy, check to ensure the parents have been screened for hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that your puppy will not develop dysplasia but your odds are better.

While no significant genetic eye problems are known in the Beauceron, it is a good idea to make sure that the parents had a CERF exam before breeding. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation records the results of eye exams for dogs and maintains the record for one year after which time the dog should be reexamined.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM is a serious disease that causes inflammation and weakening of the heart muscle. Although there is evidence that the condition is hereditary, there are still many things unknown about the condition. DCM can occur at any age and as of yet, there is no genetic test. Some breeders have their dogs tested for heart disease but since it may not show up until late in life, testing is of limited value. It is more important to know the health history of ancestors and if any have DCM problems then a decision must be made based on prevalence and how far back it occurred. Of course this will depend on the cooperation of the breeder and if your dog develops the disease, it doesn’t mean the breeder was aware of any issues.

Bloat or Gastric Torsion is commonly found in large breeds of dogs. Some breeds like the Great Dane have a high likelihood of developing this serious problem. It is the second highest cause of death in many breeds, and would be the highest if we could eliminate cancer. Fortunately, Bloat is not highly prevalent in the Beauceron. However, to reduce the risk of Bloat, feed your dog smaller amounts at least twice a day. Keep activity levels low for a least an hour after meals. Keep a close watch for swelling in the abdomen. If Bloat does develop, medical attention is critical and should be given within the first hour. After an hour, the chance of survival is poor. There is no known genetic test for Bloat and you should consider ancestry before obtaining a puppy.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a separation of the joint cartilage from the bone, usually in the shoulder although it can happen in other joints. It is believed to be a genetic defect that causes a weakness where the cartilage attaches to the bone. It is prevalent in large fast growing dogs and occurs during the first year. Caught early enough the effected dog can be kept confined and activity limited so the cartilage may heal. However, a condition that has progressed requires surgery. It is important during the first year of life that a puppy not be allowed to jump from heights or other activities that put stress on the shoulders since this can bring on the condition in a growing puppy. Ask your breeder about history.

The Beauceron is a fairly healthy dog and you should not be discouraged by the health issues mentioned here. Beaucerons do have other issues but they are relatively minor in occurrence. It is best to ask your breeder about history and any known problems with their particular line of dogs.