The Berger Picard also known as Picardy Shepherd is a breed of dog found in French. This is an extinct breed and they are people-oriented, faithful, and if properly socialized they can make a good family pet. This breed has rustic mutt-like appearance which has prevented it from being quickly popularized and exploited in the United States. The number of Picard puppies imported to the U.S. is more than France and other countries so it is important for future owners and breeders to remain responsible. The Berger Picard Club of America was formed in 2006 to help promote and protect this breed. On July 1, 2015, the breed will be recognized in the herding group by the American Kennel Club.
They are the oldest amongst the French Sheepdogs, but this dog was brought in the 9th century to northern France and the Pas de Calais, by the Franks. Some experts said that the breed is mainly related to the more well-known breed which is Briard and Beauceron, while others believe it shares a common origin with Dutch and Belgian Shepherds.
The breeding stock of the dog was declined after the two world wars. With the population concerted on the farms of north-eastern France. The dog is an easy care and mellow, yet mischievous, temperament has started the breed back on the road to recovery. But as mentioned still limited, even I n its native country. As discussed previously, there are about 3500 dogs in France and in Germany approximately 500. At present there are approximately 400 dogs in the United States and Canada.
In year 2006 december, the Berger Picard Club of America was shaped so as to protect and promote this breed in United States. It has been documented in the Foundation Stock Service of the American Kennel Club (AKC) since April 2007. In the February 2012 in the meetings of the club it voted the breed into the Miscellaneous Group which was effective January 1, 2013. On April 22, 2014 The AKC Board voted to approve a request from the Berger Picard Club of America.
The Berger Picard weighs around 50-70lbs or 23-32kg. Males are 23.5–25.5 inches tall and females are 21.5–23.5 inches tall. The breed is a well-muscled and medium-sized; it is somewhat longer than tall with an elegant appearance. They have naturally erect ears which are high-set and are quite wide at the base. They have dark frank eyes and are known for their smile and their tail reaches to the hock. They have harsh weather-proof coat with thick long hair and it is crisp to touch. Their coat is of two colours fawn and brindle with varying shades.
This breed is lively with intelligent personality and has sensitive disposition thus responds quickly to obedience training. Picards are mellow but they have a stubborn streak and are reserved towards strangers. During the first two years of their lives they require a lot of socialization. Picards are hard working and energetic, loyal and are good with children. They are happiest to have a job. They are not excessive barkers but are notoriously picky eaters.
The breed has a good sense of humour, making them an appealing companion, and they are used very effectively as both sheep and cattle herder in their native land and elsewhere.
Like many herding breeds, Picards require human companionship and they can be demonstrative to their owners and enthusiastic friends towards other animals. They need formal obedience training and positive socialization.
Berger Picards due to lack of over breeding are a relatively healthy breed. This breed also participates in the Canine Health Information Centre and to obtain a CHIC number, dogs must have their eyes and hips checked and their blood banked for DNA plus one elective, either elbows, heart evaluated or thyroid. The breed’s life span is 12 to 13 years.
Exercise and activities
Picards are very athletic and celebrate in exercise. A good deal of exercise is a must for this breed. Otherwise boredom can result in destructive behaviour. They make an excellent jogging companion and enjoy swimming and running. This breed is popular in dog sports such as agility trials, showmanship, Tracking, Schutzhund, Lure coursing, Flyball, French Ring Sport and herding events.
The Berger Picard is a low maintenance dog. Their rough, tousled coat can rug if not brushed regularly but the coat does not require special care to yield its rustic appearance. Bathing is done rarely. Their fur should never be trimmed and they are light shedders.