1) Old history
It is believed, that the Berger Picard is the oldest of all French sheepdogs and that they arrived to northern France in the 9th century with Franks. There is no certainty about the breeds ancestry, but it is very likely that they are somehow related to other sheepdogs from neighboring regions, such as Briard and Beauceron. Some people believe, that they might be related to Dutch and Belgian Shepherds.
The Picardy region has always been known as a great agricultural center and home to miles of rich pastureland, so its no wonder that local farmers and cattlemen needed a skilled sheepdog. And their favourite is definitely the Berger Picard. And indeed, the Berger Picard with their high energy level, intelligence, problem solving ability, hard working temperament and alertness make excellent sheepdogs.
The Berger Picard has a very descriptive name, because the French word Berger means a shepherd and the Picard is the French region where the breed originated. You can also call them Picardy Shepherd, or just Picards.
The Berger Picard is not only a great herder. Just like many other sheepdogs, they love human companionship. This breed can be described as loyal, sensitive, playful and sweet tempered dog. They do make good companions for kids or other household pets, especially if they are raised together from the puppyhood. This is also very intelligent dog who learns new commands fairly quikcly, but on the other hand, they can be stubborn from time to time and alert and reserverd with strangers, which is why proper early training and socialization is needed.
According to the Berger Picard club of America, this breed was used to smuggle matches and tobacco across the Franco Belgian border in their crisp coat. The tobacco would be put in goatskin pouches, hairy side up, and attached to the dog’s shaved back.
This is a medium sized, athletic and well muscled dog breed with average height between 22-26 inch which is 56-66 cm and weight is typically between 51-71 pounds, which is 23-32 kg. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
As you can probably imagine, Berger Picard needs daily physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy. But not only that, you should also occupy their mind. They will love to go on any outdoor adventure, long walks, hikes, some of them like swimming. You should accompany these activities with some task oriented playtime or training sessions. And Berger Picards are great adepts for various dog sports, like agility, flyball, herding trials, tracking, obedience or even lure coursing. If you will not provide them with enough exercise, they might become pretty noisy and destructive.
The harsh and crisp coat is water resistant and in medium length, around 5-6 cm. The coat comes in a range of fawn and gray shades, including light fawn, dark fawn, gray, gray with black highlights, blue gray, gray red, and brindle. Great fact is, that the grooming needs are minimal and only ocassional brushing is needed.
9) In apartments
You might think, that this dog is only suited to live on farms or in houses with big yard. Well, that is not the case and if you will provide the Berger Picard with enough exercise, than they can happily live indoors. They just love their people and they want to spend as much time with them as possible, so if you are indoors, they will probably want to be indoors as well. They are also not big shedders and they do not have much of the typical doggy odor, so that is a big advantage for apartment living.
The Berger Picard is relatively healthy dog breed with average lifespan between 12-14 years. Of course, just like all the dogs they can suffer from some health problems, for example from hip dysplasia, collie eye anomaly or progressive retinal atrophy.