The Berger Picard, also known as the Picardy Shepherd, is a breed of dog that originates from France. They are named after the Picardie region in northeastern France where they were used by shepherds for centuries. It has close ties with other French herding breeds, such as the Briard and Beauceron. The breed nearly became extinct after the two World Wars but was saved from oblivion through the dedicated efforts of breed enthusiasts. The Berger Picard was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1994, and by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2015. According to the AKC, the Berger Picard falls within the herding group, reflecting their history as working dogs.
The Berger Picard is generally a healthy breed, but can suffer from cataracts, ectropion, elbow dysplasia, entropion, hip dysplasia, Multidrug resistance-1, progressive retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosuria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Berger Picards are known for their intelligence, energy, and loyal nature. They are good-natured dogs with a slightly mischievous and stubborn streak. Picards are excellent with children and can be good with other dogs if properly socialized at a young age. They require mental stimulation as well as physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. As a herding breed, they may exhibit herding behaviors and might be protective of their families.
Berger Picards are not known to be barkers, but they can be reserved with strangers and have a strong sense of territory, which makes them good watchdogs. Despite their somewhat scruffy and rustic appearance, they are quite elegant and athletic, excelling in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and herding trials. They have a double coat that contains a soft, dense undercoat and a shaggy, wiry, waterproof topcoat. They have a shedding season and should be brushed every day to two to remove dead hair.
Berger Picards made appearances in three movies: "Because of Winn Dixie," "Daniel and the Superdogs," and " Are we Done Yet? The most well-known Berger Picard is Winn Dixie of the "Because of Winn Dixie" movie.
The Berger Picard was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1994, and by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2015.
The UKC states that some scholars think that the breed was introduced by the Celts, yet others believe it is descended from dogs of Asian tribes who invaded Europe in the Middle Ages.