Berger Picard

Type: Herding

Height: Females: 21.5 - 24 inches.; Males: 24 - 26 inches.

Weight: 50 to 70 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 14 years

Litter Size:

Country of Origin: France

Activity: Medium. Indoors, the Picardy is quiet and patient, longing to be near its master. Outside, they are working dogs designed for herding and need a lot of exercise and space to run. Exercise should be a regular part of this dog's routine. Walks, swimming, running beside a bike or using them as jogging buddies would be ideal exercises. Berger Picard's excel in agility and tracking sports.

Watch-dog: Medium

Guard-dog: Medium. They are alert with intruders and will stand their ground, but are known to be fairly friendly.

Description: A rare breed, the Berger Picard (pronounced Bear-zhay Pee-carr) was the star dog of the film, Because of Winn-Dixie. Berger Picards, or the Picardy Shepherd, first made itself known in France as a guarder of flocks. Often thought to be a mutt, Berger Picards are quite the opposite as they are thought to be the oldest known French breed. Berger de Picards are known in France to be the best worker with sheep and cattle alike. Picardy Shepherds are closely related to that of the Briards and Beaucerons, also from France. Few specimens of this breed are found in the United States, but receive high praise from their original country. They are rowdy when they play, are hard workers, and require a lot of human companionship as well as exercise. Berger Picards have naturally upright ears, are all shades of gray and fawn, and have a scruffy looking appearance. Their rustic look is often mistaken for being a mixed breed. They are medium sized dogs who enjoy children, are intelligent and independent in mind. They are a strong, hard working dog that tends to be vocal. The best owner for the Berger de Picard would be an active, dog-experienced owner in a rural home.

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Other Names: Berger de Picard, Picardy Shepherd

Colors: Picardy Shepherds have the range of gray and fawn in their fur, and white sometimes appears on their chest and toes.

Coat: Berger de Picards have a double coat that is quite shaggy and medium length. The undercoat is soft and dense while the outer coat is rough, like that of a terrier. Berger Picards have eyebrows, a mustache and a beard. The Berger's coat is weatherproof.

Temperament: The Picardy is affectionate, energetic, good with children and a working dog. They are active, friendly, intelligent and tend to be vocal. They require human companionship, are rowdy at play, and remain alert and brave in the face of intruders. The Berger Picard is a reliable dog that often has a sense of humor.

With Children: Yes, Berger Picards are very good with children, almost always reliable.

With Pets: Yes, they are enthusiastic and friendly towards other animals.

Special Skills: The Berger de Picard is skilled at herding, working, and as a family pet.

Care and Training: The tousled outer coat does not require much special care, as it does not mat. This creates the rustic look the Berger maintains. The most one could do for their coat is to brush it regularly. Fur around the eyes should be maintained in order to keep the Picardy's eyesight available.

Learning Rate: High. Picardy Shepherds are intelligent, obedient, and learn quickly.

Special Needs: Exercise, positive training, socialization.

Living Environment: The Berger Picardy does best with an active, dog-experienced owner living in a rural area. Originally bred for herding, this breed does well in an athletic environment where its master can be with it most of the time and have a job to do.

Health Issues: The Berger de Picard is a fairly healthy breed, as it has not been over-bred and is fairly rare. Possible health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).

History: Said to be the best in herding and guarding flocks of sheep and cattle, the Berger de Picard is probably the oldest French herding dog still around today. The breed was most likely introduced by the Celts to France in the Pas-de-Calais region next to the Somme in northern France. It is thought that this breed developed from the treasured Briards and Beaucerons of France. In 1899 the Berger Picard was entered into a dog show in Amiens in which the judge refused to recognize them due to their rustic, mixed breed look. The breed did well in its native France until the World Wars struck and the trench warfare in France took a large toll, in which the breed almost went extinct. Only until the 1950s did the breed revive again and continue its crusade in France. These days there are only around 100 Berger de Picards in America, 500 in Germany, and about 3500 in France. Most of them reside there to this day as herding dogs. A few have appeared in show rings, and five in particular have appeared in the movie Because of Winn-Dixie.

Class: Herding (UKC)

Registries: FCI, UKC, CKC