Picardy Shepherd Dog
Breed Type: Working
Country of Origin: France
Popular Names: Berger Picard, Berger de Picardie
Height: (At the withers) Males 59 – 64 cm, Females 54 – 59 cm
Weight: 23 – 32 kg
Best suited as: a working dog or companion to an active family
Lifespan: 13 – 14 years
This rare shepherd is known for its smiling appearance and shaggy coat.
The Picardy Shepherd is an elegant yet shaggy dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. They have upright, high-set ears that are wide at the base, and long eyebrow hair that arches over their eyes. They have a natural smiling appearance. Their hock-length tails have a slight J-curve at the very end.
They come in brindle and fawn with a wide variation of shade in those two colours. Some may have white markings on chest and toes. The medium-length outer coat is wiry and coarse, made to withstand harsh weather conditions. It has a slight undercoat.
The Franks brought the Berger Picard to the Pas de Calais and northern France in the 9th century. It is considered to be one of the oldest of the French Sheepdogs. Its origins are unknown – some believe them related to the Belgian and Dutch Shepherds, while others believe they share common ancestry with the Beauceron and Briard.
The breed was extremely popular as a farm dog in North-Eastern France, and the concentrations of dogs in the area where WWI and WWII trench fighting occurred almost caused the breed to become. Careful breeding increased their numbers, but they are still very rare today, even in their native country.
They were used to smuggle matches and tobacco across the Belgian-Franco border because the goatskin pouches stayed concealed in the shaggy fur. Picardy Shepherd Dogs appear in the movies Are We Done Yet, Because of Winn Dixie, and Daniel and the Superdogs. Dogs resembling Picards appear in paintings, woodcuts, engravings, and tapestries dating back hundreds of years.
They are great with children, love human companionship, and make good guard dogs with their protective nature. They rarely bark. They are energetic, love to work, and respond well to obedience training. They are laid back and calm, for the most part, and are reserved with people until they get to know them.
This breed needs a lot of socialization in the puppy years, but tends to be friendly with other animals of all kinds. They excel at herding cattle and sheep. They are athletic and have a great sense of humour. They can be prone to separation anxiety.
Some can be picky eaters so it sometimes takes a bit of time to learn what each dog does and does not like.
Care and Grooming
This is a very low-maintenance dog. Besides occasionally hand stripping the ears, no clipping or trimming is ever required. A bi-weekly brushing to keep away tangles is enough. They do not shed very much at all and don’t have much of a dog smell. Their only other maintenance requirements involve clipping the toenails as needed, brushing their teeth weekly, and bi-weekly inspection of their ears to check for wax, debris, and signs of irritation.
Picards love being outside in nature, but can adapt to living in cities as long as they get enough outdoor exercise and indoor mental stimulation. They love to swim, run, walk, play fetch, and trot alongside a cyclist or jogger. They do well at flyball, showmanship, tracking, agility trials, obedience, tracking, lure coursing, Schutzhund, herding events, and ring sports. At least one hour of rigorous exercise or two hours of more sedate exercise each day is required to keep this energetic dog happy and healthy. A bored dog can become destructive, aggression, and trouble-making. They do not enjoy a sedentary lifestyle.
The breed is very hardy overall. They live to about 14 years with very few health concerns. Health issues to be aware of include hip dysplasia and eye disorders. A reputable breeder will have screened all breeding stock for these problems and should not offer affected animals.
Suitability As A Pet
These dogs make great companions for singles, families, and active older people. They love to work and play and are still useful as herding dogs. They are best for experienced dog owners but novices who plan to spend a lot of time in obedience training will be successful with a Picardy Shepherd. All owners must have no problem dedicating a lot of time to activities and play with this breed.
Picardy Shepherd Dog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Picardy Shepherd Dog Organisations in the UK
Dog Lovers Registration Club UK
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