Berger Picard/Picardy Sheepdog
He hath a share of man’s intelligence, but no share of man’s falsehood. – Sir Walter Scott
The Berger Picard, or Picardy Sheepdog, has its origins in France in the early medieval period in the second Iron Age. Berger is the French word for shepherd and Picardy is the region of France where they originate. He was bred to herd sheep and cattle.
It is believed that a dog with the same characteristics as the Picardy Sheepdog was introduced by the Celts during the great invasions around 400 B.C. Various sources agree that these dogs are the origin of many current herding breeds.
The shepherds and farmers of the last century called this dog a “Pik-haar” which meant hard hair. Over time the name became Berger Picard. The Berger was nearly extinct after World War II and is still very rare; only about 3500 Berger Picard exist on the European continent and some 250 are in North America.
Photos displayed courtesy of Anne Saucier, Élevage des Picardiers, Quebec
The Berger Picard is a medium sized dog, standing between 23 and 25 inches (60-65 cm) high and weighing from 50 to 70 pounds (22.7 to 31.7 kg). His characteristic griffon type coat is weather proof. Approximately 2 inches (5 to 6 cm) long, his coat is harsh and crisp and covers a fine undercoat. Coat colours display a wide range of shade variations including light fawn, dark fawn, grey, greyish-black, grey with blackish tinge, blue-grey, reddish-grey, or a mixture of all these shades.
The Picard has a hardy but elegant shape, is robust, strong and well built, and possesses an intelligent, alert and lively look. His ears are naturally erect, high-set and quite wide at the base. He has thick eyebrows over dark and expressive eyes. His tail reaches to the hock and is carried low with a slight J-curve at the tip.
His intelligent and sensitive personality make him a wonderful family dog. He is very gentle with children if properly socialized. Although they are reserved towards strangers, they are affectionate with their owners and get along happily with other animals. They do require a lot of attention from their owners and are loyal and devoted companions.
A sturdy looking dog, the Berger Picard is a multi-talented animal, energetic and hard working. He is a protective watchdog and a good guard dog but not an excessive barker.
The Picard has a good disposition for obedience training although he is known for his stubborn streak if training gets boring. He possesses a lively personality with an assertive disposition so he should have training and plenty of positive socialization particularly in early life. These dogs love being on the job and respond wonderfully to praise.
Endurance and flexibility allow him to perform well in agility sports. His sweet disposition ideally suits him for work as a therapy dog.
His life expectancy is approximately 14 years.