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  • Temperament: Loyal, Good-Natured, Observant
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 141 of 194
  • Height: 23.5-25.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years
  • Group: Herding Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Berger Picard standing facing left.
Berger Picard standing facing forward
Berger Picard standing in three-quarter view
Berger Picard coat detail.
Berger Picard

Find a Puppy: Berger Picard

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Berger Picard is an ancient breed developed by the farmers and sheep herders of the Picardy region of northern France. They are medium-sized, sturdily built & well-muscled without being bulky, slightly longer than tall, with distinctive erect natural ears, wiry coat of moderate length, and a tail reaching to the hock and ending in a J-hook. Movement is free and easy, efficient, and tireless to allow them to work all day on the farm and in the fields. They are lively and alert, observant, quietly confident, and can be aloof with strangers, but should not be timid or nervous. This is a rustic, working shepherd’s dog, without exaggeration or refinement.

HEAD

Strong, without being massive; rectangular overall and narrowing slightly from ears to the eyes, and again from eyes to nose when viewed from above. The correct length of head, measured from occiput to nose, should be about the same length as the neck. Expression – Alert and observant, spirited, confident, pleasant. Eyes – Medium size, oval shaped and turned forward; neither round nor protruding. Eye color is medium to dark brown, but never lighter than hazel. Darker eye color is preferred. Eye rims are tight-fitting and fully pigmented. Disqualification – Yellow eyes. Ears – Moderately large (4 to 5 inches long), broad at the base, tapering to a slightly rounded tip, and set rather high on the skull. Always carried naturally erect, and turned forward.

BODY

Chest deep but not exaggerated, reaching to the level of the elbow but not beyond. Prominent prosternum blends smoothly into the sternum. The lowest point of the sternum is at the level of the elbow, and from that point, the sternum slopes gradually up towards the loin to give good depth and length to the ribcage. Ribs are well sprung from the spine for the upper one-third, then flattening as they approach the sternum, neither slab-sided nor barrel-shaped. Belly slightly tucked up. Loin strong but not overly long.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulder blades are long and well laid back, covered by lean and strong muscle. The length of the upper arm balances the shoulder blade, placing the elbow well under and close in to the body. Forelegs are straight and strong, without being bulky. Viewed from the front, legs are parallel to each other with toes pointing straight forward. Pasterns slope slightly to a compact, rounded foot with well arched toes and strong, black nails. Pads are strong and supple. Dewclaws may be removed or left on.

HINDQUARTERS

Angulation of the thigh and stifle balance the front assembly, and are well muscled, providing powerful, tireless, and effortless movement. Rear pasterns are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. With a correctly angulated rear, the toes of the hind foot land just behind a perpendicular line dropped from the point of rump. Feet are rounded with well arched toes and strong black nails, as in front. There should be no dewclaws on the rear legs.

COAT

Harsh and crisp to the touch, neither flat nor curly, often with a slight wave. Undercoat is soft, short, and dense. The shaggy, rough coat of the Picard is distinctive, and should never be wooly, soft, or so profuse that it hides the outline of the dog. Ideal length is 2 to 3 inches over the entire dog, with coat naturally somewhat shorter on the top of the head. The coat accents on the head and neck which give the Picard its distinct look, known as “griffonage”, include rough eyebrows, moderate beard and moustache, and a slight ruff on the front and sides of the neck, framing the head, all of moderate length.

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berger picard illustration

About the Berger Picard

You can spot a Berger Picard a mile away thanks to his erect ears standing 4 to 5 inches high, a wavy fawn or brindle coat, and a strong tail that tapers to a distinctive J-hook. Males stand as high as 26 inches, and females as low as 21 inches. The eyes are dark and glistening, and the rectangular head is furnished with shaggy eyebrows, beard, and mustache— the very image of a sagacious and worldly Frenchman.

The Berger Picard is an ideal companion for athletic owners. Their rugged constitution, agility, and boundless energy make them eager partners in all kinds of sports, games, and outdoor pastimes. Exercise is a must; prolonged idleness and neglect will likely lead these sensitive, super-smart dogs to destructive behavior.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Berger Picard

Find a Puppy: Berger Picard

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Berger Picard Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Berger Picard should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Berger Picards are athletic, active canines, so be mindful that your dog is getting enough good nutrition to meet his needs. Conversely, some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Berger Picard’s double coat consists of a soft, dense undercoat for insulation covered by a shaggy, wiry, waterproof topcoat. During shedding season, brushing every day or two with a rake and a slicker brush will remove the dead hair before it ends up on the floor and furniture. The rest of the year, a Picard only needs to be brushed once a month. The breed should be bathed only occasionally, and shampoos formulated for crisp coats are recommended. As with all breeds, the Picard’s nails should be trimmed regularly.

EXERCISE

Bred to work in the fields, the Berger Picard is active and athletic, with plenty of stamina and drive. This high-energy breed needs lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation. The Picard must have a good outlet for all his energy, or he may become destructive and unhappy. Owners should expect to go on at least one long walk every day. Picards also make excellent companions on hikes and bike rides, and they enjoy swimming and playing fetch. Many Picards participate in agility, tracking, obedience, Schutzhund (protection), flyball, French ring sport, rally, and herding competitions.

TRAINING

As with all breeds, early socialization and puppy training classes are a must. Training should begin as early as possible to prevent bad habits from developing. Picards have a stubborn streak, but they are very intelligent and eager to please, so training is usually fairly easy. They are more likely to respond to praise and affection than to food, and are unlikely to respond to harsh training methods.

HEALTH

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
Berger Picard
Berger Picard
Berger Picard
Berger Picard
Berger Picard
Berger Picard

History

France remained an agricultural nation long after the Industrial Revolution began in other parts of Europe. And even today, livestock and dairy are integral parts of the French national character. Among the many pasture dogs developed by French shepherds over the centuries, the Berger Picard (bare ZHAY pee CARR) might be the oldest.

This rustic herder was reputedly brought to northern France by the central-European Celts who invaded Gaul in prehistory. While not every authority buys into this theory, all can agree that the Picard is a breed of great antiquity, with close family ties to such French herders as the Briard and Beauceron.

The breed’s name is derived from its home region, Picardy. (In some countries, the Berger Picard is known as the Picardy Shepherd.) Picardy, today part of the Hauts-de-France region, has always been known as a great agricultural center and home to miles of rich pastureland. It comes as no surprise, then, that the farmers and cattlemen of the region took such pride in their indigenous sheepdog. It was exhibited in France’s first dog show, in 1863, and by the turn of the century dedicated breeders were at work fixing the Picard’s breed type.

The 20th century’s two world wars decimated the European populations of many breeds, but the ravages of war were especially hard on the Picard. Picardy, in the valley of the river Somme, was the site of ferocious battles in both wars, turning serene pastures into killing fields. The Picard nearly went extinct, but this spirited and assertive dog, though still rare, has made a comeback in recent years. The breed’s visibility was boosted when a Berger Picard played the title role in the 2005 movie “Because of Winn Dixie.” The breed received another splash of recognition in 2015, when the Berger Picard Club of America was admitted to the American Kennel Club.

Did You Know?

The Berger Picard has been assigned the Herding Group designation. They were brought into the FSS program in 2007.
The first Berger Picards were shown together in the same class with Beaucerons and Briards in 1863 but it was more than 50 years later in 1925 that the Picard was officially recognized as a breed in France.
There have been several unsuccessful attempts in the past 20 years to establish the Berger Picard in North America. The current influx of Picards is greatly attributed to the use of the Internet, which provided the means of communication between European breeders and American buyers.
The correct French pronunciation of Berger Picard is bare zhay pee carr. Berger is the French word for shepherd and Picard is the region in France where they are from.
Picardy, the region of northern France between Normandy and Paris, was particularly ravaged during both world wars, which accounts for the scarcity of this local herding breed.
Berger Picards can be seen in three current movies, "Because Of Winn Dixie," "Daniel And The Superdogs," and "Are We Done Yet?" but Picards are often mistaken for another canine actor, the Wirehaired Portuguese Podengo Medio, another scruffy looking rare breed
From the April 2014 board meeting - the Berger Picard Club of America is the official parent club for the Berger Picard and to accept the Berger Picard into the AKC stud book on June 1, 2015. The breed will be eligible to compete in the Herding Group beginning July 1, 2015. There will be an open registry for the breed until July 1, 2020.
From the February 2012 board meeting - the Berger Picard was approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class effective January 1, 2013.
From the October 2011 board meeting - the Berger Picard Club of America will serve as the AKC parent club to represent the Berger Picard.
From the January 2009 board meeting - the Berger Picard was approved to compete in AKC companion and performance events effective July 1, 2009.
From the April 2007 board meeting - two new breeds were added to the Foundation Stock Service program - the Berger Picard and the Swedish Lapphund.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Berger Picard is an ancient breed developed by the farmers and sheep herders of the Picardy region of northern France. They are medium-sized, sturdily built & well-muscled without being bulky, slightly longer than tall, with distinctive erect natural ears, wiry coat of moderate length, and a tail reaching to the hock and ending in a J-hook. Movement is free and easy, efficient, and tireless to allow them to work all day on the farm and in the fields. They are lively and alert, observant, quietly confident, and can be aloof with strangers, but should not be timid or nervous. This is a rustic, working shepherd’s dog, without exaggeration or refinement.

HEAD

Strong, without being massive; rectangular overall and narrowing slightly from ears to the eyes, and again from eyes to nose when viewed from above. The correct length of head, measured from occiput to nose, should be about the same length as the neck. Expression – Alert and observant, spirited, confident, pleasant. Eyes – Medium size, oval shaped and turned forward; neither round nor protruding. Eye color is medium to dark brown, but never lighter than hazel. Darker eye color is preferred. Eye rims are tight-fitting and fully pigmented. Disqualification – Yellow eyes. Ears – Moderately large (4 to 5 inches long), broad at the base, tapering to a slightly rounded tip, and set rather high on the skull. Always carried naturally erect, and turned forward.

BODY

Chest deep but not exaggerated, reaching to the level of the elbow but not beyond. Prominent prosternum blends smoothly into the sternum. The lowest point of the sternum is at the level of the elbow, and from that point, the sternum slopes gradually up towards the loin to give good depth and length to the ribcage. Ribs are well sprung from the spine for the upper one-third, then flattening as they approach the sternum, neither slab-sided nor barrel-shaped. Belly slightly tucked up. Loin strong but not overly long.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulder blades are long and well laid back, covered by lean and strong muscle. The length of the upper arm balances the shoulder blade, placing the elbow well under and close in to the body. Forelegs are straight and strong, without being bulky. Viewed from the front, legs are parallel to each other with toes pointing straight forward. Pasterns slope slightly to a compact, rounded foot with well arched toes and strong, black nails. Pads are strong and supple. Dewclaws may be removed or left on.

HINDQUARTERS

Angulation of the thigh and stifle balance the front assembly, and are well muscled, providing powerful, tireless, and effortless movement. Rear pasterns are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. With a correctly angulated rear, the toes of the hind foot land just behind a perpendicular line dropped from the point of rump. Feet are rounded with well arched toes and strong black nails, as in front. There should be no dewclaws on the rear legs.

COAT

Harsh and crisp to the touch, neither flat nor curly, often with a slight wave. Undercoat is soft, short, and dense. The shaggy, rough coat of the Picard is distinctive, and should never be wooly, soft, or so profuse that it hides the outline of the dog. Ideal length is 2 to 3 inches over the entire dog, with coat naturally somewhat shorter on the top of the head. The coat accents on the head and neck which give the Picard its distinct look, known as “griffonage”, include rough eyebrows, moderate beard and moustache, and a slight ruff on the front and sides of the neck, framing the head, all of moderate length.

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berger picard illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 057
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Brindle Check Mark For Standard Mark 051
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014

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