Meet the Breed: The Berger Picard

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Overview:

  • Height: 21.5"- 26”
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Historical function: Herding
  • Modern function: Herding, agility
  • AKC classification: Miscellaneous (not fully recognized in the AKC)

Physical Characteristics:

The Berger Picard, pronounced "Bare-ZHAY Pee-CARR" is also known as the Picardy and the Bacardi Shepherd. The Berger Picard is a medium-sized, well-muscled dog, slightly longer than tall. The natural tail has a slight J-curve at the tip. The overall look is one of a scruffy mutt, or an over-sized Cairn Terrier, but is actually a rare breed. The wiry coat is harsh and rugged. It is about 2-2.5 inches long all over the body. Coat colors may be, grey-black, blue-grey, red-grey, and light or darker fawn. The ears are erect, high-set and quite wide at the base. The eyebrows are thick, but do not shield the alert brown eyes. 

History of the Breed:

The Berger Picard can be traced back to the ninth century, when the Celts brought similar dogs to northern France. These scruffy-looking canines with the weather-resistant coats were used to herd cattle and sheep in France for centuries. They were also employed as mules, smuggling contraband tobacco across the French/Belgian border. By the 1900's, the Berger Picard was regarded as its own breed, named for the Picardie region in northeastern France. The first breed standard was drafted in 1922 followed by breed recognition in France in 1925. The Berger Picard nearly became extinct after World War II, especially since so many battles took place in France. The breed continues to remain rare to this day.

'Because of Winn Dixie' was a popular movie released in 2005 that introduced the Berger Picard to American audiences. The movie producers wanted a dog that looked like a mixed breed, but needed several that looked alike so that training for various scenes could be filmed smoothly. Therefore, it was decided that the Picard Shepherd was the ideal choice. 

Temperament:

The Berger Picard is lively, intelligent, sensitive yet assertive in disposition. They respond quickly to obedience training with a calm, confident leader. Picards are often easy going and mellow, but they are known for having a stubborn streak. They can be reserved towards strangers. They require a lot of socialization, especially during the first two years of their lives. 

  • Best suited for: Active families. Loves working outside but wants to be with their people.
  • Preferred living conditions: While bred for herding, this dog adapts well to city life if given appropriate exercise.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat requires combing/brushing only once or twice a month, especially during shedding season. Shedding is minimal. Bathe very rarely. The coat repels dirt naturally. Washing removes the waterproof quality. Never use conditioner. This breed has no doggy odor.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog.
  • Life expectancy: 13-14 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy, though some hip dysplasia and eye disorders have been seen.

Breed Club Links: Berger Picard Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Dog Agility Starter Kit

Have any stories about a Berger Picard? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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