Life span: 10-14 Years
Height: 60-65cm (Male); 55-60cm (Female)
Weight: 50-70 pounds
This breed is considered to be one of – if not the – oldest French sheepdogs, dating as far back as 800 A.D. They are highly intelligent and relatively easy to train, especially with positive reinforcement. They are also very energetic, making it perfect for an active family!
The Berger Picard has a double coat made up of a hard overcoat, and a soft and dense undercoat. Its coat is shorter on the head and longer on the face, specifically on the eyebrows and snout, giving it a mustache. The hair is usually straight but might also be wavy and comes in any variation of the colors gray and brown, along with some white marks on its chest and toes. Its eyes can be hazel or brown with a black nose.
Known as the oldest of the French sheepdogs, this breed has records dating back to 800 A.D., where it is though he arrived with the Celts at northern France and at the Pas de Calais. Its ancestors are unknown and while some believe it is related to the Beauceron and the Briard, others believe it is more similar to the Dutch and Belgian Shepherds. It almost became extinct during World War I and II, and are still rare, with approximately 5,000 dogs of this breed left in the world. In 2006 the Berger Picard Club of America was created, although it was not accepted as the official parent group by the American Kennel Club until 2011. In 2007, the Berger Picard was accepted into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service and into its Miscellaneous group in 2013, leading to the breed standard’s recognition in 2014. In 2015 it was accepted into the Herding group, leading it to being able to compete in all of the AKC’s events.
This breed is highly intelligent and loves challenges. Due to this, they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are very wary around strangers and require a lot of early socialization. Usually, the Berger Picard is quiet around the house, but due to its pack nature, it cannot be left alone for long or will begin to bark non stop. It gets along with other pets and children and loves being with its family. When taken outside to exercise, keeping it on a leash is a must. Training can be relatively easy, although they can become stubborn at times, and the same goes for food, in which the Picard might not like all that is given to it and might need a specific diet to give it all the nutrients needed.
The Berger Picard is a very healthy breed, as it has not been crossbred as much, and will rarely suffer any diseases. The known diseases for this breed are:
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
During shedding season, their coat should be brushed daily or every two days. Otherwise, brushing should be done monthly, and bathing occasionally with a special shampoo for its rough coat hair. Their nails should be trimmed regularly. They are highly energetic and need daily exercise and mental stimulation or it might result in destructive behavior. They enjoy spending time with their owners and family activities are very much encouraged for this breed, including hiking, swimming, playing with a ball, etc. This breed needs early socialization and early training. They can be relatively easy to train, as they aim to please their owners, however, they can be a bit stubborn sometimes. Positive reinforcement works better with this breed than treats.