The Berger Picard got its start in AKC in 2015, after growth in the US and Canada for approximately 10 years prior to its acceptance in the Herding Group. Known as a rustic, moderate, balanced, and medium-boned dog that tended to its flocks of sheep, as well as tending cattle and ducks in the areas surrounding its homeland of Picardy, France; the Berger Picard has become a treasured working pet in today’s modern society due to its easy coat care, charming looks, and most importantly, its amazing versatility and the close bond created with its people.
Most breeders of Berger Picards in the US really take the time to pair puppies with owners and families that are active and plan to add a dog to their home for some sort of daily work or activity. A good fit is anyone willing to put in the work to socialize the pup at an early age, ensure safety and consistency in training goals, and give the dog an outlet for its desire to work. There are some phenomenal owners working hard with their Picards in herding, gaining advanced Herding Titles and Dual Championships.
Berger Picards are impressive to see as they work sheep; and our breed club, The Berger Picard Club of America, hopes to add more competitive herding venues for both the public and judges to observe what the breed’s founders worked so passionately to preserve.
Imagine a tireless, floating gait, with good reach, and a level back with the head held just above the topline; alert, naturally pointed ears working to hear both the shepherd for direction and any interlopers or danger ahead; moderate bone and strong, balanced leg angles in order to provide flexibility and agility, as well as the soundness to work all day; dark eyes so as not to scare the sheep; and a strong muzzle (and will!) to keep their charges in line; the shaggy, crisp, untrimmed coat providing great protection from both the cold climate and from heavy brush, easily shaking off water and dirt; the heart to keep a flock in an “invisible fence”; and the loyalty to protect both herdsman and sheep from any danger.
Today, you’ll be happy to know that the same moderation, balance, eagerness, and talent to work in the field has provided our breed with the opportunity to shine in just about every single sport and venue that the AKC has to offer for you and your dog to enjoy. In just eight short years, Berger Picards have titled at the highest levels in dog sports. From BIS winners and Dual Herding CH, to MACH, PACH, OTCH, RATCH, and FCAT, there are very few sports where this breed does not make its presence known. This year at our National Specialty, that versatility was awarded in a ring presentation. In the future, I am quite sure the versatility program will expand.
There are Berger Picards currently training and competing in Agility, Obedience, Rally, Dock Diving, Disc Sports, Scentwork, Barn Hunt, FastCat and Coursing Ability, Herding, Trick Dog, Protection Sports, Tracking, and Therapy work. Some are being used in Europe for SAR and Ring Sport as well. While the Picard is a bit of an independent thinker, the breed is willing to please and thrives on the current positive, balanced training philosophies. Many first-time owners go on to compete in several AKC sport venues because they’re having so much fun learning together.
Some Picards have been known to become intuitive alert dogs for their owners; with quite a few reports of them learning to alert their diabetic owners to low and high blood sugar as well as other problematic scents such as skin cancers. They seem to do this naturally because of the close bond with their beloved family members. While they exhibit this bond with their own family, they can be aloof with strangers; for this reason most breeders would not recommend them to go through the rigors of a formal service dog training program.
Picards have also been great ambassadors for the purebred dog community in schools. Many schools use Because of Winn-Dixie in their reading curriculums for 2nd-3rd graders, and quite a few owners have volunteered their dogs to provide planned opportunities to teach children about the breed as well as general dog care in the schools. Others have exhibited their talents as demo dogs for 4-H classes, reading programs, and even some very special dogs work with young children in daycare.
I hope all Berger Picard owners, dog aficionados, and judges take away something from this article. Berger Picards are truly a working-class herding dog: eager to please, eager to play, and eager for their owners’ admiration. Their structure indeed has a purpose, and in today’s modern times that is to enjoy whatever sport you and your dog like to participate in the most. Their comical nature and handsome good looks have brought great admiration from other dog breed owners and even more Picard lovers into the fold. It also seems that for the vast majority, once you live with a Picard, you are hooked for life.
When the training is fun, you will have a willing partner for whatever sport you choose. Many first-time owners of Picards are also new to AKC sports, including Conformation; so judges, please be kind and patient, and we hope you enjoy judging our breed, as well as lending a hand and a kind word to those newbies. I extend a hearty kudos to all who have taken the leap and worked hard to show the world just how smart and well rounded the Berger Picard can be.
Are you looking for a Berger Picard puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?
Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Berger Picard dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Berger Picard Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the loyal Berger Picard dog breed with articles and information in our Berger Picard Breed Magazine.
Berger Picard Breed Magazine - Showsight
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