This breed stands 61 to 70 cm (24 to 27.5 inches) in height and weighs 30 to 38.5 kg (66 to 85 pounds). Its standard colouring is black and tan as well as black, tan and grey (harlequin). Other colours, such as the once prevalent tawny, grey or grey/black, are now banned by the breed standard. The coat is short, close and smooth except on legs, tail and flanks, where there is a slight fringe. The Beauceron is an old and distinct French breed of herding dog, developed solely in France with no foreign crosses. Dogs were bred and selected for their aptitude to herd and guard large flocks of sheep as well as for their structure and endurance. Beaucerons were used to move herds of 200 to 300 head traveling up to 50 miles per day without showing signs of exhaustion. The ideal Beauceron is a well balanced, solid dog of good height and well muscled without heaviness or coarseness. The whole conformation gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness, exhibiting the strength, endurance and agility required of the herding dog. He is alert and energetic with a noble carriage.
Despite their foreboding appearance, Beaucerons are tolerant by nature and do well in family situations. The breed will usually not tolerate harsh physical treatment from adults. They are gentle with children and older people, and this is especially true of dogs that have grown up with children. Beaucerons are sociable with other dogs they know, but are territorial and will often not tolerate an intruder. They get along well with cats if introduced at an early age. Being herding dogs, they instinctively try to herd livestock. The Beauceron is still used extensively for herding and protecting sheep and cattle. The high drive, high performance attitude of this breed serves many ranchers well with their seemingly endless energy. Many police forces throughout the world are now relying more on their canine units, and many of these previously used breeds in police K-9 work. They are used in apprehension of criminals (tracking and bite work), personal protection, narcotics detection, riot control, search and rescue, body recovery, prison security and secured escort. France's military forces still train Beauceron as do some other countries, whose K-9 trainers have been impressed with the breed.
The Beauceron is generally a healthy, hardy breed. Some lines are prone to bloat and like any breed over 40 pounds, the Beaucerons are prone to hip dysplasia. Ninety-five percent of all breeders in the U.S. breed only hip certified stock.