By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 27th November 2023

Berger Picard

The Berger Picard, popularly called the Picardy Shepherd, is a breed of French sheepdogs known for their shaggy and unkempt physical appearance as well as lively personality. These medium-sized dogs are sturdily built with a square head, oval shaped eyes, erect ears, deep chest, straight forelegs, and a moderately long tail shaped like a J-hook at the tip.

Berger Picard Pictures

Quick Information

PronunciationBare ZHAY Pee CARR
Alternative NamesPicard, Picardy Sheepdog, Berger de Picardie, Bacardi Shepherd, Berger de Picard
CoatHarsh, crisp, wiry outer coat; soft, dense, short undercoat
ColorLight/dark fawn, blue-gray, brindle, gray red, gray and black
Breed TypePurebred
Lifespan13-14 years
Weight50-70 lb
HeightFemale: 22-24 inches
Male: 24-26 inches
Size of Litter2-10 puppies
TemperamentObservant, intelligent, loyal, good-natured
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inFrance
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationDRA, UKC, ACR, NKC, FCI, NAPR, CKC, ACA, AKC, APRI

Video: Berger Picard Herding Livestock


Believed to be an ancient breed of sheepdogs, the Berger Picard was imported to France by the Celts during the 5th century BC. Several illustrations of Berger Picard-like sheepdogs in woodcuts, engravings, and tapestries that are hundreds of years old have been recovered.Some experts considered that the Picardy Shepherd was related to other herding breeds like the Beauceron, Briard, as well as Belgian and Dutch Shepherds.

While it made its appearance at the first dog show held in France in 1863, the Picardy Shepherd did not become popular as a show dog because of its rustic looks. Over the years, it had participated in dog shows and herding trials but received its first recognition from the French Shepherd Club in 1925.

The breed was nearly wiped out by the devastations caused during the World Wars. Today the Berger Picard population has increased slightly with approximately 3500 dogs in France, 500 in Germany, and 400 in Canada and the US.To preserve thePicardy Shepherds in the US, the Berger Picard Club of America was set up in 2006. It received its recognition from the AKC in 2015.

Temperament and Behavior

These sheepdogs with their smart, sensitive, and assertive nature are considered a delightful companion. Thanks to their cheerful and devoted personality, they make wonderful playmates for kids in the family.

Although they are reserved towards strangers, they get along well with small pets and cats in the household. Alert to their surroundings, these dogs can be trained to be a good watchdog.

Being an enthusiastic working dog, the Picardy Shepherds love doing jobs all day without which they might grow bored or become destructive.



Owing to their agility and liveliness, the Picards need plenty of activity throughout the day. They love running in the yard, swimming, jogging, and going out for long walks. These dogs also compete in sports like Flyball, Agility, Schutzhund, and Tracking.

Since they can endure pain and stress without complaining, make sure not to overly exercise the puppies, as it could cause injury to their growing joints.


Brushing their coat once a month is sufficient to prevent matting but extra brushing during the shedding season is needed to remove their winter coat. To remove the undercoat, a coat rake can be used. General dog maintenance including trimming the nails, cleaning the teeth and ears, and occasional bathing are recommended.

Health Problems

Although hip dysplasia has occurred in some individuals, it is not considered a breed-specific health issue.Puppies are sometimes affected by eye infections, but these problems do not occur in adult dogs. However, genetic eye disorders like retinal dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy have been reported.


Since Berger Picards can be independent and headstrong, but at the same time sensitive, they should be trained early by a firm handler. If training is harsh or inconsistent, your Picardy Shepherd will not respond to your commands.

Training on livestock: Always keep a watchful eye and avoid contact between your dog and the farm animals. If you are not paying attention, your dog might think it is fine to harass your stock. Use calm, young livestock when introducing your Picard to the farm, because an older cow or sheep might be too excited and make your dog fearful. Have a stern recall command that it has been trained to obey.

Obedience: Teaching the recall or come command is a useful tool for controlling your puppy’s annoying behavior. Attach a leash to its collar and let your pup get used to the line. Keep some treats in your hand and walk your dog in the yard. After moving a few paces, start walking backward and encourage it to follow you by uttering the word come. Praise and give it the treats once it twirls around and moves toward you.


Whether you feed your Picard a natural or a commercial diet, it should consist of carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), fats, protein (fish, eggs, and meat), vitamins, and minerals. Commercial food such as dry kibble is a healthy option for your pet.

Interesting Facts

  • Berger Picards have made appearances in popular movies including“Daniel and the Superdogs,” “Are We Done Yet?” and “Because of Winn-Dixie.”
  • Christina Potter, a member of BPCA and owner of a Picard, authored “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” in 2012. It is a book giving a caricature of the life and ambitions of a Picard Chester, which has appeared in several commercials for Verizon and Company Store.
  • In 2016, a Picardy Shepherd named Gabby became the first Picard to be honored as the “best in breed” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

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