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Dobermanns V Beaucerons

Aren’t Beaucerons just… woolly Dobermanns?!

I’m sure most who own a Dobermann have never had to correct anyone on what’s on the end of their lead…. however, most who own a Beauceron, probably hear confusion on the daily! Comments such as “I didn’t know Dobermanns came in that colour!” are rife on the morning walk if they have a Harlequin – which is the breed’s merle patterning!

So why are they so easily confused? Well, firstly Dobermanns are more commonly recognised and to an untrained eye, Beaucerons fit the bill for what they expect the breed to look like. They both come in black with rust coloured eyebrowns (eyebrowns?! Well that’s going to be my new name for tan points!), muzzle and socks. In fact there’s a nickname for the Beauceron (Bas-Rouges) which means red stockings! They are similar in size, with a few pounds or inches difference in height and weight so look very very alike.

However, if we’re going on colour alone, Dobermanns will never come in merle naturally. Whereas Beaucerons, like mentioned above, come in “harlequin”. And likewise, Dobermanns can occur as “rust and tan”, which is a lovely chocolate brown with again, “eyebrowns” haha.

Dobermanns can also come in dilute colours such as fawn and blue. But the Beauceron will only be some form of the black and tan, or the merle or harlequin.

So now, let’s delve into the history. Dobermanns were developed by, interestingly, a German tax collector! Louis Dobermann desired a strong, alert and courageous protector, and a thief deterrent as a companion whilst he was at work. Starting with a Pinscher foundation, certain breeds were added like ingredients in order to create the perfect recipe of intelligence from the German Shepherd, speed from the Greyhound, toughness of character from the Rottweiler, as well as the tracking ability of the Weimaraner and loyalty of the Manchester Terrier. Once he was happy with his results, the breed was recognised by the German Kennel Club in 1899. Nowadays modern Dobermanns are used by the armed forces and the police as guard dogs, trackers, sniffer dogs and more, due to their natural instinct to perform these jobs. However these days most are just excellent family dogs.

But what about the Beauceron? Well, they are a much much older breed, that unfortunately hasn’t really found it’s popularity outside of France yet. And, they were designed to herd… which brings me to the following breed traits that are both a dead giveaway for their original purpose.

If you are not aware of what a double dew claw is, it’s a selectively bred feature where two extra toes develop on the hind pasterns (or legs). They exist to strengthen the wrist, in order to climb up slippery or steep slopes and keep their balance. Breeds such as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Icelandic Sheepdog and the Briard to name a few, all have them to help them perform their original purposes such as climbing mountains or making short sharp manoeuvers quickly. There is even a breed with extra special double dews on the front paws too – the Norwegian Lundehund – to help them scale almost vertical cliffs after Puffins! Beaucerons were designed to move large herds, and to fiercely guard the homestead, and so the double dews helped them maintain stamina and the pace for hours without losing grip or slipping on the Northern French terrain. So, if you’re up close and personal and wondering if it’s a Beauceron or a Dobermann, take a look at the back feet to see if it has any extra toes!

If you’re not wanting to get too close, the fur is also a dead giveaway! Beaucerons have a rougher and thicker coat, much more like a Rottweiler – which helped them keep warm and dry in all weathers whilst moving their flocks. In fact they kinda look like if a Dobermann needed a slight haircut! This fur does come with its drawbacks however, as they do shed much much more than the glossy coated Dobermann.

In short – if it’s chocolate coloured – Dobermann, if it’s merle – Beauceron, if it’s glossy coated – Dobermann, if it has extra toes – Beauceron! It also goes without saying that there are also countries that do allow cropping and docking of the two breeds – cropping for both breeds was to protect their ears as they protected their homes, flocks or owners, but the Dobermann is the only one of the two breeds to ever be docked. So if the breed has a short nub tail – it’s probably a Dobermann as the Beauceron should always have a full tail.

Both breeds are extremely loyal to their person, and both were originally some form of watch dog so highly protective. They are also both described as clowns, with a sense of humour, which means that with a strong and stable consistent leader, both breeds will excel and be an amazing and fun loving companion.

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