Discover the Berger Picard: France's Endearing Shepherd

Berger Picard

The Berger Picard (or Picardy Shepherd) is a charming and rustic breed that captures hearts with its distinctive appearance and spirited personality. This medium-sized shepherd dog, hailing from France, is both a historical working breed and a delightful companion. This article explores the Berger Picard in detail, from its origins to what it takes to live with this unique breed.

Breed Summary

 Country of Origin: France

AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 144 of 196
AKC Classification: Herding Group
UKC Classification: Herding
Exercise Requirements: ˃40 minutes
Height: Female: 21.5-23.5 inches.; Male: 23.5-25.5 inches
Weight: Female: 50-70 lbs.; Male: 50-70 lbs
Physical traits: Medium-sized, Muscular, Long
Coat: Length: Long
Characteristics: Thick and tough, well-suited to inclement weather
Colors: Light fawn, dark fawn, gray, gray with black, blue-gray, gray red, and brindle.
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate
Personality traits/Temperament: Loyal, Good-Natured, Observant
 Energy Level: Veru energetic
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Origin of the Berger Picard

The Berger Picard is one of the oldest French sheepdog breeds, believed to have been introduced to the Picardy region by the Celts around 800 AD. Despite its ancient lineage, the breed narrowly escaped extinction after both World Wars and has remained relatively rare. This breed's resilience and distinctiveness have preserved its heritage and role as a shepherd dog.

Appearance

Characterized by its rugged, wiry coat and expressive, elongated face, the Berger Picard stands out among herding breeds. It typically features a fawn or brindle coat that's rough to the touch and requires minimal grooming. The breed's most notable traits include a strong physique, standing around 21.5 to 25.5 inches at the shoulder, with upright, pointed ears and a lively tail.

Temperament

The Berger Picard is known for its lively and assertive nature, combined with a streak of mischief and endearing stubbornness. It forms a close bond with its family and can be reserved around strangers. This breed is intelligent and quick to learn but requires consistent, positive training methods to harness its natural herding instincts positively.

Health Outlook

Berger Picards are generally healthy with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. However, they can be prone to common canine ailments such as hip dysplasia and eye problems. They can also experience skin and hair issues, such as dry itchy skin. A premium dog shampoo can alleviate these symptoms, promoting a healthy coat and skin, reducing itchiness, and enhancing the dog's overall comfort.

Nutritional Requirements

A balanced diet tailored to their active lifestyle is crucial. High-quality dog food that meets their energy needs is recommended, along with a complete healthy multivitamin to support their joint health, coat condition, and immune system.

Exercise Requirement

This breed thrives on activity and requires substantial daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. Their exercise regimen should include long walks, runs, and plenty of playtimes, preferably in a large, secure area.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Berger Picard

Pros:

  • Highly intelligent and trainable.
  • Loyal and protective, making excellent family pets.
  • Relatively low grooming requirements.

Cons:

  • Can be stubborn, requiring an experienced owner.
  • Needs a lot of exercises, not suitable for sedentary lifestyles.
  • Can be aloof with strangers and needs early socialization.

Space Requirements

Berger Picards do best in environments where they can roam and play. A home with a large yard is ideal, though they can adapt to smaller spaces if given enough exercise.

Suitability for Elderly

Generally, Berger Picards are not recommended for the elderly due to their high energy levels and strength unless the owner is active and experienced with dogs.

Suitability for Kids

They are good with children, especially when raised with them from puppyhood. Their playful and gentle nature makes them excellent companions for families with kids.

Cost

The cost for a Berger Picard puppy typically ranges from $1,200 to $2,500, depending on the breeder's reputation and the region.

What Should the Owner Be Like?

The ideal Berger Picard owner should be active, patient, and committed to providing regular exercise and mental stimulation. Experience in handling dogs with strong personalities is beneficial.

Fun Facts

  1. The Berger Picard gained some fame in the United States after appearing in the film "Because of Winn-Dixie."
  2. Despite their shaggy look, Berger Picards are known for their minimal shedding, making them a great option for those with allergies.

Conclusion

The Berger Picard is a lovable and loyal breed that thrives under the care of an active owner who appreciates its energy and independent nature. With the right care and training, the Berger Picard can be an excellent companion, providing affection and entertainment to its family.

Are you familiar with the  Berger Picard or have this wonderful breed in your family? Share your stories in the comments!

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