The Berger Picard (pronounced as ‘bare-zhay-pee-carr) is an old French breed of dog. It is said that these dogs arrived in northern France together with the Celts sometime around 800 AD. Some sources even claim that the Picard can be traced from the time of Christ.
In 1899, the Berger Picard was first shown at an exhibition in France however, the President of the French shepherd dog club refused to include the said dog in the competition.
By the 1900s, the Berger Picard was regarded as its breed, and its first breed standard was drafted in 1922 followed by breed recognition in France in 1925.
Today, the Berger Picard remains to be a rare dog, especially after World War I and II – the time when its population was extremely devastated.
During the 1st World War, the Picard dogs were used as patrol dogs and inbreeding to enhance the German shepherd dog breed.
As a result of food rationing during the 2nd World War, the Berger Picard was nearly wiped out, as it was impossible to restore the breed in poor conditions. There was a shortage of food, and only those dogs who could fend for themselves, survived the hard times.
The breed was first restored in 1953 after a very serious breeding effort with the dog survivors. In 1956, the French club” Les Amis du Berger Picard” was formed.
In its native country, there are only about 3,500 registered dogs of the said breed, and every year, approximately 250 puppies are being added to the list. Outside of France, it is estimated that there are only 4,000 additional Berger Picard dogs.
Traits and Behavior
The Berger Picard is an independent dog that can take care of itself. It thrives well with other dogs and is generally friendly to both humans and animals. It is a charming and curious dog with lots of courage.
Being a very intelligent breed, there is no limit as to what the Picard can do with the right amount of training.
In France for herding sheep, as well as police, avalanche and rescue dog. Since its senses are very heightened, albeit it has an excellent sense of smell, it is used in France as a police dog, sheepherder, as well as a search and rescue dog.
As a herding dog, it is very much used to working independently, and are accustomed to making decisions without its shepherd.
The Berger Picard is good at problem solving and mental tasks of any kind. It can be the perfect companion when it comes to any adventure in the wild or jogging, biking or hiking.
Snow, rain and drizzle do not trouble the Berger Picard. It enjoys being out in all weathers. Also, it is a great swimmer.
Pet Care and Diseases
These dogs belong to a healthy breed with a naturally tousled look. It requires no special grooming as its coat does not shed very much. Just a little brushing a few times a month is enough.
There are some French farmers, who do trim the hairs around the ears to get a nicer and sharper silhouette on those areas. It is up to the individual to assess the need for it.
Although it is said to be a strong dog, some health concerns have been observed by its owners, such as:
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems (Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA)
At 6-12 months, the fur around the eyes grows rapidly, making them prone to conjunctivitis due to the dirt getting into the eye. The best intervention is to keep them clean and dry.
The Berger Picard will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It will enjoy swimming, running while the dog owner is riding a bike, and even just a nice long walk.
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 candid smile. Their natural tail normally reaches the hock and is carried with a slight J-curve at the tip.
The medium-length, weather-proof coat is harsh and crisp to the touch, not excessively long with a minimal undercoat.
Coat colors come in a range of fawn and gray shades, including grey-black, gray-blue, light or dark ruddy or a mixture of the two colors.
There can be small white spots on the chest. A Berger Picard can never be completely white or black.
The breed is expected to live for 13-14 years. A litter may consist of 2-10 puppies. Berger de Picardie and Picardy Shepherd are its other names.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to Berger Picard. Click this link: http://picards.us/