Berger Picard (Berger de Picardie)

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fawn, fawn with dark overlay, fawn & brindle, grey
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Pros Cons
  • gentle and playful
  • great family companion        
  • good guardian
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • needs a family with an active lifestyle


The Berger Picard is a frisky, biddable and lively dog that specialises in herding and drives livestock in its native France. The dog is considered to have existed in this country since time immemorial but its first mentioning appeared only in the Dark Ages. It is characterised with rustic appearance, affable yet naughty demeanour, and outstanding working talents.

The Berger Picard existed in France for hundreds of years and it was mainly developed in the northern coastal part of Picardy. Dog’s experts advance several theories as to how this breed initially arrived in Picardy. One group suggests that it was imported to this area by the Gauls, which belonged to Celtic tribes and inhabited France before the Roman occupation. It’s marginally probable that it was developed by the Romans who were indisputably very competent in dog’s breeding. The vast majority of dog’s historians are agreed that the Berger Picard was introduced to the region by the Franks. These people massively migrated to the Roman Empire in the IV and V centuries and rapidly turned into the strongest and plural group settling in the territory that nowadays consists of Belgium and Northern France, including the area of Picardy. During this period the breed was most likely brought to this region.

The Berger Picard proved to be very effective in its herding and driving duties so it was primarily used by farmers and shepherds in Northern France. It was also oftentimes assigned to guard a livestock from such dangers as wild animals and looters. Gradually this dog spread beyond its place of origin and was periodically portrayed on pieces of art from the whole France. It was bred exclusively for working abilities and it wasn’t designated for the role of a show dog.

However the Berger Picard was exhibited at the very first French Dog Show in 1863 but received recognition as a distinct breed only in 1925. In the wake of two World Wars French economy virtually laid in ruins. Most of native breeds were at hazard of complete disappearance. Fortunately the population of the Berger Picard suffered at a lesser extent because it continued serving local farmers during war times and it was also utilised by the military people.

Thanks to its robustness and excellent character of the Berger Picard it quickly restored its previous number. It’s still viewed as rare breed but its long-term well-being is pretty secured. The dog enjoys the growing popularity in its homeland and over time it will definitely win hearts of dog’s lovers in other countries. The United Kennel Club (UKC) granted its recognition to the Berger Picard in 1995. And in 2013 the breed was provisionally accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC).


The Berger Picard is a low-aggressive, playful and affectionate dog, which adapts well to family life. It is certainly a people-oriented breed meaning it craves for constant companionship of its family and tends to suffer from intense separation anxiety if left alone for a long time. The breed is usually kind and patient with children provided it has been correctly socialised with them. However, it’s poorly suited for families with young children since it can accidently hurt them while playing.

In most cases this dog remains indifferent and wary in the presence of strange people. It decisively requires serious training to learn the basic rules of behaviour in human society. The Berger Picard is renowned for its protectiveness and it usually makes a wonderful personal guardian, which will without a shadow of doubt sacrifice its own life for the sake of its family. Thanks to its vigilance it will make a fabulous watchdog. The breed will also reliably guard your house but it will apply to violence only as the last resort.

The Berger Picard isn’t predisposed to canine-aggression but it should be socialised with other dogs. The breed is able to co-exist peacefully with one or several other canines but it would rather prefer to live as a solely dog. As a herding dog the Berger Picard is pretty accepting of other species of animals including a household cat. Nonetheless it’s worth to remember that it may exhibit substantial prey drive when things concern stray cats or other unfamiliar animals.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• eye problems.

The Berger Picard’s coat is easy to groom though at the first glance it may seem otherwise. This dog should never be taken to a professional groomer. Actually it needs to be brushed only once or twice a month. Its coat is considerably less prone to tangling and matting than the coat of many other breeds. Frequent bath should be avoided since water can remove natural oil which covers its skin and hair. The breed sheds insignificantly and mainly lacks specific dog’s odour.

The training of the Berger Picard requires very little efforts because it’s remarkably intelligent and capable dog. It usually shows excellent results in competitive obedience and agility. Nevertheless this breed is considerably less eager to please than most herding dogs. The Berger Picard used to solve multiple and complex problems while attending to its herding responsibility. This moulded it into a strong-willed and self-assured dog, which requires strong and consistent leadership.

The handler should earn the dog’s obedience by a firm but somewhat gentle treatment. This breed learns much faster if motivated with plenty of foods incentives and mild encouragements. The Berger Picard doesn’t respond well to training techniques, which are based on offences and physical abuse.

The Berger Picard is a very hard-working dog and is able to endure very strenuous physical activity. It should receive plenty opportunities to burn its excessive energy on a daily basis. This dog will readily join in any outdoors activity including jogging, hiking and camping.

The breeds’ energetic temperament and natural inquisitiveness makes it an outstanding companion dog for families who prefer active lifestyle. The Berger Picard should never be treated as a couch potato since without appropriate amount of exercise it will turn into destructive, disobedient, fidgety and aggressive animal.