The Berger Picard, also known as Picardy Shepherd, is a French breed that has been around for centuries. Originating from Picardy in Northern France, these dogs have a rich history as working herding dogs and companions. The Berger Picard exhibits a rugged, rustic appearance. Known for its shaggy eyebrows and erect ears, this medium to large-sized breed is quite distinctive. Its weather-resistant double coat ranges in color from fawn to brindle.
|Breed Name||Berger Picard|
|Size||Medium to Large|
|Coat Type||Wiry, Double coat|
|Life Span||12-14 years|
|Temperament||Loyal, Good-natured, Alert|
|Diet||High-quality dog food|
The Origin and History of the Berger Picard
Ancestry of the Breed
The Berger Picard is thought to be one of the oldest French sheepdogs. With similarities to the Beauceron and Briard breeds, it is speculated that they share a common ancestor.
Historical Significance in France
The Berger Picard was a common sight in rural France, where its exceptional herding abilities were put to good use. Unfortunately, World Wars took a toll on the breed, but dedicated enthusiasts helped to revive its population.
Role in World Wars
During both World Wars, the Berger Picard population suffered drastically due to the battles on French soil. Thankfully, dedicated breeders managed to save the breed from extinction.
Physical Characteristics of the Berger Picard
Size and Weight
This breed is medium to large in size, with males standing 24-26 inches at the shoulder and females 22-24 inches. They typically weigh between 50-70 pounds.
Coat and Colors
The Berger Picard has a thick, wiry, and weather-resistant double coat. Common colors include fawn and brindle.
One of the distinctive features of the Berger Picard is its erect ears and naturally shaggy eyebrows. These, coupled with a muscular body and a tail that forms a J when relaxed, add to its unique look.
Understanding the Temperament and Personality
Berger Picards are known to be loyal, good-natured, and alert. They can be reserved with strangers but are not typically aggressive.
Interaction with Humans
While this breed may seem aloof at times, they are very loyal and protective towards their family. They tend to form strong bonds with their human companions.
Interaction with Other Animals
As herding dogs, Berger Picards generally get along well with other animals. Early socialization is vital to ensure they can coexist peacefully with other pets.
Berger Picard: Health and Lifespan
Common Health Issues
Like all breeds, the Berger Picard can be prone to certain health conditions. Hip dysplasia, eye problems, and certain heart conditions are among the few to look out for.
Lifespan and Factors Affecting It
The average lifespan of a Berger Picard is around 12-14 years. Regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and plenty of exercise can contribute to a longer, healthier life.
Importance of Regular Vet Checks
Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to catch any potential health problems early. They also provide an opportunity for vaccinations, dental care, and general health advice.
Caring for a Berger Picard: Diet, Exercise, and Grooming
A balanced diet that fulfills the nutritional needs of the breed is crucial. High-quality dog food, either commercially prepared or home-prepared with your vet’s supervision, is recommended.
Being a working breed, the Berger Picard requires regular physical and mental stimulation. Daily walks, playtime, and puzzle toys can help keep them healthy and content.
The Berger Picard’s wiry coat needs regular brushing to prevent matting. However, they are considered a low-shedding breed.
Training a Berger Picard
Basic Training Tips
Training should start early, be consistent, and use positive reinforcement techniques. Berger Picards respond well to reward-based training.
Socialization and Training Challenges
Berger Picards can be somewhat reserved, making early socialization crucial. Patience and consistency are key in overcoming training challenges.
Training for Special Roles
Due to their intelligence and agility, Berger Picards excel in various dog sports, such as agility trials, obedience, and of course, herding events.
The Joy of Breeding and Puppies
Basics of Breeding Berger Picards
Responsible breeding involves health testing, finding suitable mates, and caring for the pregnant female. It’s essential to ensure you’re producing healthy and temperamentally sound puppies.
Caring for Puppies
Berger Picard puppies require plenty of care, including feeding a balanced diet, ensuring they get enough exercise, and starting training and socialization early.
Selecting a Good Breeder
When looking to get a Berger Picard puppy, it’s essential to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament over appearance or profit.
The Berger Picard in Competition
Dog Shows and Competitions
Berger Picards are no strangers to the show ring. They’ve made appearances in many major dog shows and have performed quite well.
Performance in Herding and Agility Trials
With their working history, Berger Picards excel in herding and agility trials. These events showcase their intelligence, speed, and agility.
Achievements and Awards
Over the years, Berger Picards have won numerous awards in various competitions, further attesting to their exceptional abilities.
Adoption and Rescue of Berger Picards
Where to Adopt a Berger Picard
There is various Berger Picard-specific and general breed rescue where you can adopt one of these dogs.
Things to Consider When Adopting
Adopting a dog is a big commitment. Consider your lifestyle, household environment, and the needs of the Berger Picard before bringing one home.
Stories of Rescued Berger Picards
There are countless heartwarming stories of rescued Berger Picards finding their forever homes. These stories highlight the resilience and adaptability of this breed.
Activities and Fun with Your Berger Picard
The Berger Picard is a versatile breed that loves the outdoors. Their history as working dogs means they have plenty of energy for hikes, walks, and runs. Plus, they’re always up for a game of fetch or frisbee in the park.
While they do love their outdoor time, Berger Picards can also enjoy indoor activities. Puzzle toys, hide-and-seek with treats, or simple obedience games can keep them mentally stimulated and satisfied even when inside.
Traveling with Your Berger Picard
Preparation and Tips
Traveling with your Berger Picard can be a wonderful experience. However, it’s important to ensure they’re comfortable and safe. Always have a secure carrier or car harness, bring enough food and water for the journey, and don’t forget their favorite toys or blanket to help them feel at home wherever you go.
Whether you’re heading to a dog-friendly beach or planning a camping trip, it’s crucial to consider the environment and amenities of your destination. Check whether the area has safe spaces for your Berger Picard to walk and play, and ensure there’s a local vet nearby in case of emergency.
With its unique appearance, charming personality, and rich history, the Berger Picard makes for a fascinating breed. Their loyalty and versatility make them well-suited to various roles, from working dogs to family pets. While the Berger Picard is undoubtedly an amazing breed, potential owners should understand the commitment these dogs require. They need regular exercise, mental stimulation, and above all, a loving home.