The Berger Picard, also known as the Picardy Shepherd or Picardy Sheepdog, is an ancient French herding breed that has been around for centuries. The breed originated in the Picardy region of northeastern France, where it was primarily used for herding and guarding livestock, particularly sheep. Its exact origins are unclear, but it is believed to have descended from ancient herding dogs brought to the region by the Celts. Over time, the Berger Picard nearly faced extinction, but thanks to dedicated breed enthusiasts, it was revived and gained popularity.
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: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Berger Picards are known for their intelligent, independent, and loyal nature. They are hardworking dogs with a strong herding instinct, and their protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs. While they are affectionate with their families, they can be reserved with strangers, making them wary of unfamiliar people and situations. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure they grow up to be well-adjusted and confident dogs.
The Berger Picard gained international recognition when it was featured in the movie "Because of Winn-Dixie" (2005), based on the popular children's novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo.
The breed's name "Picard" comes from the Picardy region of France, where they were initially bred and developed.
Berger Picards have a unique appearance with their shaggy beard, bushy eyebrows, and erect ears, giving them an endearing and expressive face.
Due to their rarity, the Berger Picard was only recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2015, making it one of the newest additions to the AKC's list of recognized breeds.