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Berger Picard Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Berger Picard

Berger Picard Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Berger Picards are obscure dogs with an interesting history. If you mention the name Berger Picard to the average dog owner, you will likely be met with a blank stare. These dogs are not as well-known or as well-loved as dozens of other breeds. However, those who take the time to learn about the Berger Picard will be surprised by their intelligence, energy, and versatility. These dogs can be loyal companions and are perfect for people looking for a healthy and low-maintenance companion.

Breed Overview

Height:

21–26 inches

Weight:

50–70 pounds

Lifespan:

12–13 years

Colors:

Fawn, brindle

Suitable for:

People looking for a unique and loyal herding dog

Temperament:

Independent, hardworking, and alert

Berger Picards are old European farm dogs with interesting personalities and an independent streak that will appeal to busy dog owners. These dogs have been a part of the European countryside for hundreds of years and have slowly made their way across the Atlantic to the United States in recent decades. These dogs are of medium build, have a thick wiry coat, and are adept problem solvers. These dogs are very observant and will learn mannerisms and habits better than other dogs.

Berger Picard Characteristics

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
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Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Berger Picard Puppies

Berger Picard puppy
Chiot Berger Picard 1 (Image Credit: Peyot, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The best way to get a Berger Picard puppy is to source one from a reputable breeder. Berger Picards are not very common in the United States. There are more Berger Picard breeders in Europe, especially France, than there are in the United States, but determined buyers can find a breeder near them through a variety of databases. Not only are Berger Picards not common in the US, but they are also not very well known, which means that most shelters and rescues might not even know when they come into possession of a rare Berger Picard, making it hard to keep an eye out for them through local resources.

Due to their independent natures, the socialization of Berger Picard puppies is highly recommended for the best results.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Berger Picard

Berger Picards are described as independent problem solvers. They get this reputation from their time as versatile farm dogs, where they were tasked with a variety of different jobs, from herding sheep to alerting farmers to the presence of strangers. Berger Picards are extremely loyal and eager to please, but they are not super-loving. These dogs like to work alone and are used to spending long hours by themselves outside, so they don’t need constant attention or companionship to keep them happy. That means that they will be happy doing their own thing for most of the day but will appreciate praise and attention from time to time.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Usually. Berger Picards can be great family dogs in the right situation. Berger Picards needs a family that is willing to provide enough physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy while indoors. However, their independent nature and propensity for herding might not make them great for families with small children. Some Berger Picards can be nippy, especially when they are young. Many herding breeds nip to get animals to go where they need them to, and it is not unheard of for Berger Picards to nip small children in an attempt to herd them. These dogs will likely be better for families with older children than families with young children or babies.

Berger Picard
Image Credit: Picardzucht, Pixabay

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?  

Sometimes. Berger Picards are able to get along with other pets, including dogs and small animals, but not all of them will. Due to their independent and lonely nature, these dogs might not enjoy the company of other dogs. They might also have the urge to herd or protect small animals, as is their nature. Most Berger Picards will do fine in families with additional pets, but some individuals might not take kindly to a multi-animal household.

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Things to Know When Owning a Berger Picard:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Berger Picards do not have any specific dietary requirements. You should be feeding your dog high-quality formulated dry food for the best results. Balancing your Berger Picard’s caloric intake with its lifestyle will be important to provide them with everything they need. Active Berger Picards will need more calories than older, less active dogs. However, if your Berger Picard is not active, you need to reduce calories to prevent obesity. Berger Picards are prone to obesity, and the number one cause of obesity in Berger Picards is excess calories.

Berger Picard
Image Credit: Dora Zett_Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Berger Picards were bred to be pasture dogs, meant to roam around pastures all day. This means that these dogs have a lot of stamina, and they need an outlet for their energy. Berger Picards do not need lots of high-intensity exercise, but they do need long sessions of low-intensity exercise to keep them happy and healthy. You should take your Berger Picard on at least one long walk per day (along with one short walk), if not two long walks per day. Berger Picards will also benefit from a large yard where they can roam around. If these dogs do not receive enough mental and physical stimulation, they can get mischievous, which can lead to destructive behaviors at home. Berger Picards who do not get enough exercise can also get anxious and unhappy.

Training 🎾

Berger Picards can be a mixed bag to train. They are energetic and stubborn, but they are also eager to please and motivated by praise. Some Berger Picards will develop bad habits early, which can be hard to break, but if you start training right away, you should be able to shape them into the dog you want through consistent training, treats, and praise. Some Berger Picards will take to training easily, while others will require more feeling out and finesse. Due to their independent nature, these dogs do not respond to negative reinforcement, and using harsh or angry tactics can cause them to dig in rather than respond to training.

berger picard running
Image Credit: TMArt, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Berger Picards have very minimal grooming needs. They have a thick undercoat that keeps them warm and a rough overcoat that prevents them from getting too dirty. Their topcoat is even water resistant. Berger Picards will shed during shedding seasons (spring and autumn), and during these times, regular brushing will help keep the dead fur from covering your home. Otherwise, you should only need to bathe and brush your dog once per month to keep their coat fresh.

Health and Conditions🏥

Berger Picards are very healthy dogs. They have no major health issues to be concerned about. Most Berger Picards will live long and fruitful lives. Obviously, any dog can develop unforeseen health issues, but most Berger Picards will avoid these due to a robust constitution. These dogs do not have any major red flags or recurring health problems. The only thing that appears on the Berger Picard’s health panel is a small risk of hip dysplasia.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TESTMale vs Female

Female Berger Picards are visibly smaller than males. Females stand two to three inches shorter and can weigh 20 pounds less than males. Males are more robust and muscular than the females. If you want a larger dog, choose a male. If you want a smaller dog, then choose a female. Outside of these basic size differences, there aren’t many major changes between males and females in terms of personality or behavior.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Berger Picard

1. A Staple of the French Countryside

The Berger Picard is an ancient breed that came to the old region of Gaul through roaming bands of Celts. Since that point, the Berger Picard became a staple of the French countryside. Rural French living has been a part of the culture for centuries, and the Berger Picard, being a robust herding and pasture dog, became an integrated part of this culture. This dog is synonymous with French country living. While it is not very popular in the United States, it is instantly recognizable to large portions of the French population.


2. The World Wars Almost Drove the Berger Picard to Extinction

World War I and World War II decimated large portions of France. Idyllic countrysides were turned into violent battlefields. Unfortunately, many dogs did not survive the wars. The Berger Picard, who lived in some of the bloodiest areas of both World War I and World War II, were decimated. The population was so low after the wars that the dog nearly went extinct. A concerted effort was launched to rescue and foster the remaining dogs so that the breed could survive into the future. Prior to World War I, Berger Picards were extremely common in the French countryside, but their numbers heavily diminished after the fighting.


3. The Berger Picard’s Name Is Derived From Its Home Region

Berger Picards might evoke the image of the famous Captain Picard from Star Trek, but their name is much older than the groundbreaking sci-fi television show that it evokes. The dog actually derives its name from the region of France that it hails from, Picardy. Picardy is a rural region of Northern France filled with the types of pastures that Berger Picards thrive in.

Berger Picard
Image Credit: Picardzucht, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Berger Picards are French herding dogs with a long and twisting history. From being a staple of the French countryside to the verge of extinction, these dogs have endured a lot and continue to thrive in the 21st century. These dogs can be fun, loyal, and loving. But they can also be independent, nippy, and stubborn. Their unique history, appearance, and temperament will attract many dog owners looking for something a little bit out of the norm, and they will fit into most households that are prepared to deal with their quirks.

Sources

Featured Image Credit: TMArt, Shutterstock

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