Rugged in appearance, of medium build, energetic yet dignified, this shaggy-haired sheepdog has earned its reputation as a reliable worker.
Beneath well-arched eyebrows, its intelligent, wide-awake eyes dart back and forth in lively fashion, alert to everything around it. In days gone by, no sheep could stray beyond the dog's scan, no predator move in unnoticed or unchallenged. Today, farm machinery and modern transportation are eliminating more and more of this guardian's ancestral duties. Nevertheless, the breed still takes well to training and participates eagerly in working and defense trials, where it can display its skills with competence and style.
The Berger Picard's rough, dry outer coat, together with its fine and dense undercoat, provide waterproof protection against the worst weather conditions. The breed is loyal, stubborn at times, and spirited when the situation calls for it. It has always been a favorite in the pastures of northern France . When the task was to protect the flocks, the light-colored Berger was especially valued, because it was easy to distinguish from predators at night. The breed has gradually been transformed into a companion dog, though its tough past as a sheep-dog hardly prepared it for domestic life. Yet it does adapt easily and makes a calm and well-mannered house-pet.
Origin of Berger picard
The Berger Picard is descended from ancient sheep-dog breeds known in France for many centuries. Paintings and engravings from the Middle Ages depict medium-size, well-built dogs with hard, long hair, which greatly resemble the present Berger Picard. However, the history of this dog remains unclear. It is known only that the present type was perfected by breeders who retained the essential characteristics of the ancient sheepherders.
The Berger Picard was first shown in 1863. Selective breeding began after 1898, but the Berger Picard nearly disappeared during the First World War. It was officially recognized in 1925 and, by 1948, breeders had again established a fixed type.
Characteristics of Berger picard
General appearance: lively, well built, elegant.
Height : 60 to 65 cm (231/2 to 25 ½ in.) for the adult dog;55 to 60 cm (21 ½ to 23 ½ in.) for the bitch.
Weight: not specified.
Head: well proportioned. Slight stop. Well-arched brows do not cover the eye. Slightly arched forehead. fairly round cheeks. Muzzle strong, not too long. Black nose. Lips tight and lean. Slight mustache, small beard. Powerful, well-developed jaws.
Eyes: medium size, almond-shaped, not prominent. Dark, never lighter than hazel.
Ears: medium size, broad at the base, set fairly high, always erect, the tips slightly rounded.
Neck: strong and muscular, good length, clearing the shoulders well, carrying the head proudly.
Body: brisket deep but not lower than the elbow. Level back. Solid loin. Belly slightly raised. Shoulders long, oblique, muscular.
Tail: hairy, hanging. At rest, slight curve at the tip reaches the hocks.
Forequarters: legs well balanced, lean.
Hindquarters: long, well-muscled thighs. Solid, supple legs. Hocks slightly bent. Leg bones are hardy and lean.
Feet: rounded and short, well closed, arched. Nails strong and short. Pads firm.
Coat: hard, semi-long, rough and brittle outer coat; neither curly nor flat. Insulating undercoat of fine, dense hair.
Color: gray, gray-black, gray with black highlights, gray-blue, gray-brown, light or dark tawny, or a mixture of these shades.
Faults: head disproportionate, lacking definition, insufficient or over-abundant hair. Skull flat or dome shaped. Sloping forehead. Cheeks too full, flaccid. Muzzle too long, too thin, or too thick. Drooping flews.
Poor bite. Ears too big, set on too low, or too close together; badly carried. Expression tired or evasive. Tail carried low or missing. Coat too long or too short, curly or very flat, soft or woolly. White, black, pied, or excessive white markings on the chest or feet are unacceptable.
Practical information about Berger picard
In the city, the Berger Picard is susceptible to chronic eczema. Dogs ten years of age and older may also be plagued by advanced osteoarthritic problems. Companion dogs should be groomed daily with a hard brush and a large-tooth comb. Do not comb the coat when it is wet as this might rip out tufts of hair.