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A Brief History
Berger Picard, like most of today’s French herding breeds, originated from the dogs brought to
northern France and the Pas de Calais, during the second Celtic invasion of Gaul around 400
BC. Throughout the Middle Ages, sheepdogs resembling Berger Picards have been depicted in
tapestries, engravings and woodcuts.
Although the Berger Picard made an appearance at the first French dog show in 1863, the
breed's rustic appearance did not lead to popularity as a show dog. Even though Picards
continued to be shown and participated in defense and guarding trials, the breed was not
officially recognized in France until 1925.
With its population concentrated on the farms of northeastern France sandwiched between
Normandy and Paris, the Picardy Shepherd, as it is known in some countries, was decimated by
the ravages of the World Wars and the breed was reduced to near extinction.
In the late 1940’s several devoted fanciers scoured Picardy looking for well-typed subjects to
rebuild the breed. The Picards’ easy care and happy, though mischievous, temperament has the
breed back on the road to recovery.
Nevertheless its numbers are still limited, even in its native country. Today, in France there are
approximately 3500 dogs and in Germany approximately 500 of this breed.
The Berger de Picard was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1994. It was
added to the AKC’s FSS in April 2007.
At present there are a little over 150 Berger Picards in the United States and Canada.
The Berger Picard is a medium-sized, well-muscled dog, slightly longer than tall with a tousled
yet elegant appearance. Their ears are naturally erect, high-set and quite wide at the base.
Their eyebrows are thick, but do not shield their dark frank eyes. They are known for their
smile. Their natural tail normally reaches to the hock and is carried with a slight J-curve at the
tip. Their weather proof coat is harsh and crisp to the touch, not excessively long with a
minimal undercoat. Coat colors fall into two colors, fawn and gray with a range of shade
Height: 21-25 1/2 in./53-65 cm.
Weight: 50-70 lb./23-32 kg.
Life expectancy: 13 to 14 years
Recognized Registries: FCI, UKC, ARBA, FSS of the AKC as of April 2007
The Berger Picard's attributes include a lively, intelligent personality and a sensitive and
assertive disposition that responds quickly to obedience training. By and large Picards are laid
back and mellow but they are known for having a stubborn streak and being reserved towards
Picards are energetic and hard working, alert, loyal and sweet-tempered with children. They
are happiest when they have a job to do. They also have a protective nature, making them a
good guard dog. However, they are not excessive barkers.
The breed also has a well developed sense of humor making them an endearing companion, and
they continue to be used very effectively as both sheep and cattle herder in their native land
and elsewhere. Some have been known to have a strong prey drive.
Health Maintenance: Berger Picards due to lack of over breeding are a relatively healthy,
disease free breed. Hip dysplasia is known, but not common because the dog is not super
heavy. Nevertheless a reputable breeder will have hips and elbows x-rayed and eyes certified
for hereditary diseases.
Exercise: Bred to work the fields, Picards are very athletic and revel in exercise. Exercise is
therefore a must for this breed. They enjoy swimming, running beside a bike, and a nice long
walk. The Berger Picard makes an excellent jogging companion. Otherwise boredom with give
way to destructive doggie behavior and rowdy play. The breeds' intelligence and sensitivity are
also making them increasingly popular in dog sports like Agility, Tracking, Schutzhund,
Flyball. and French Ring Sport.
Living conditions: Despite being more suited for being outdoors, Picards can do surprisingly
well in city life provided they are given enough energy releasing exercise. However, the Picard
always tries to stay close to its owner and family, so even if you have a big yard and give the
dog the choice to pick where it wants to be, it will rather stay inside with you than alone
outside. Inside the house the Picard is usually a very quiet dog, waiting for its time to go out to
run, play and sniff around.
Socialization: Like many herding breeds, Picards require human companionship and lots of it.
Since they can be demonstrative to their owners and enthusiastic friends towards other
animals, obedience training and socialization is a must. Athletic, loyal and filled with a desire
to work a long day, the breed excels in any "job" as long as enthusiasm and praise is a part of
Grooming: The Berger Picard is truly a low maintenance dog. The crisp, tousled coat does not
mat or require special care to yield its rustic appearance. Brushing should only be done once a
month. Bathing, believe it or not, is rarely done. Their fur should never be trimmed except
maybe around the ear edges. They are not profuse shedders and have no doggie odor.