History and Origin: May also be referred to as the Picardy Shepherd. Quite possibly the oldest of all the herding breeds. Origin dates back to the 9th century. Developed in France in the Picardy region which was a huge farming area. Used extensively by farmers and sheep ranchers to herd sheep and cattle. Genetic studies definitely link them to the German Shepherd Dog and Bergamasco. Breed numbers fell drastically during the two great wars due to battles in the Somme area. Fanciers rescued the few that could be found and saved the breed from extinction. The book and movie ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ brought stardom to the Berger breed but it is still considered to be rare. Recognized by CKC in 1992 and by AKC in 2015.
General Appearance: a medium large breed, rectangular in body shape, large prick ears, large black nose, long tail that has a ‘J’ crook at the end. Rough tousled coat, eyebrows, beard and moustache. A rustic appearance that is fully adapted to country living as his history dictates. Strong and solid, not a refined dog. Working dog suited for long days as a guardian and herder. Size: Males 23 ½ – 25 ½ inches Females 21 ½ -23inches weight 50-70 lbs (head study courtesy of Faye Unrau photography)
Coat and Colour: Double coated. Top coat is wiry and shaggy, rough and brittle feeling, 2-3 inches in length. Neither flat nor curly but may be wavy. Dense under coat. Eye brows, beard, moustache and ruff around neck are distinctive to the breed and referred to as ‘griffonage’. Colours are: Fawn, fawn charbonné (fawn with charcoal), fawn or grey brindles. The coat is always in its natural state, not orderly, trimmed, or sculpted. Rugged looking. Impressive appearance.
Feeding: Should do well on a good quality kibble fed twice daily.
Training and Obedience: early socialization and puppy training is important. Sensitive and intelligent, Picards can excel in many canine events including agility, rally, obedience, herding, flyball, tracking, barn hunt and search and rescue.
Activity: An active breed that is athletic and sturdy. Will require at least a long daily walk on leash or a run in a secure fenced area. A good breed for active owners who enjoy hiking, jogging, cycling and competitive dog sports.
Temperament: loyal loving and devoted family dog. Courageous, lively and confident. Reserved with strangers. Keen and playful. Good natured. Kindly.