The Berger Picard: Your complete guide!

The Berger Picard, a symbol of ruggedness, unwavering loyalty, and remarkable herding skills, has captured the hearts of dog enthusiasts and shepherds. With its French origins, distinctive physical attributes, and a unique set of personality traits, this breed is revered as an agile and dependable herding dog with a charming rustic appearance.

Berger Picard portrait
Lively | Rustic | Endearing
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    Everything you need to know about the Berger Picard!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed Conception18th century
    Country of OriginFrance
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)50-70 lbs (23-32 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)35-55 lbs (16-25 kg)
    Coat TypeRough double coat
    Color VariationsFawn with or without a mask
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Height (cm & in)21-25 inches (53-63 cm)
    Breed SizeMedium
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsRegular exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveModerate
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)12-14 years
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    History of the Berger Picard

    The Berger Picard’s history is one of herding and resilience in the Picardy region of France. These dogs were bred for herding livestock, particularly sheep, and became known for their hardworking nature.

    Their name, “Picard,” is a reference to their region of origin. Berger Picards are recognized for their scruffy appearance and herding talents.

    Today, they are celebrated for their herding abilities and their loyalty as family pets. They embody the spirit of skilled herding dogs in the French countryside.

    What makes the Berger Picard so special?

    Berger Picard Standing

    The Berger Picard is special for its distinctive appearance, characterized by upright ears and wiry coats. These herders are known for their versatility and loyalty, making them outstanding working dogs and loving family members.

    Berger Picards have a history as herding and working dogs in France. Their agility and herding abilities made them adept at guiding and protecting livestock. They were known for their intelligence and loyalty. Today, they participate in herding and dog sports and serve as loyal family companions, embodying their tradition as reliable working dogs.

    Berger Picards are known for their spirited and adaptable personalities. They excel in herding and are celebrated for their loyalty and intelligence.

    Their versatility and devotion to their families make them excellent companions. Berger Picards are characterized by their adaptability, devotion, and a sweet disposition, epitomizing the ideal blend of resilience and companionship.

    Berger Picards are loyal and protective. They are typically good with children and other pets but can be reserved with strangers. Early socialization is important for a well-adjusted temperament.

    Mental and physical exercise is crucial for their well-being.

    Berger Picards are medium-sized dogs with a well-proportioned and athletic build. They have a well-defined head with expressive eyes and ears that are often erect or semi-erect.

    They have a dense, wiry coat that lies close to their skin. Coat colors can include shades of fawn, brindle, or gray. Their tail is often straight and tapered.

    Males typically stand between 21 to 25.5 inches (53-65 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 50 to 70 pounds (23-32 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    Berger Picards have an agile and alert presence, reflecting their role as herding and working dogs.

    Berger Picards typically have coat colors like fawn or brindle. They may not have distinct coat colors.

    Berger Picards often have coat colors like fawn or brindle without distinct coat patterns.

    Berger Picards have a moderate shedding level. They shed consistently, with increased shedding during seasonal transitions. Regular grooming and brushing can help minimize shedding and maintain their coat.

    Berger Picards have a rough, wiry coat that requires minimal grooming. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Occasional brushing with a slicker brush is sufficient to remove loose fur and maintain coat health.

    2. Bathing: Bathe Berger Picards when necessary using a dog-specific shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-recommended solution to prevent wax buildup or infections.

    4. Nails: Keep their nails trimmed to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be beneficial.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    Berger Picards have a high activity level and thrive on physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: Berger Picards require daily exercise to stay content. Activities should be engaging and may include long walks, runs, and playtime.

    2. Energy Level: They have a high energy level, especially when young. Regular exercise helps prevent restlessness.

    3. Herding Heritage: Historically, Berger Picards were bred for herding livestock. They excel in activities like obedience training, agility, and herding trials.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, mental challenges through training and interactive games are important to keep them mentally sharp.

    5. Outdoor Enthusiasts: They enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions for those who enjoy hiking, running, and dog sports.

    Berger Picards are highly intelligent dogs, known for their problem-solving skills and adaptability. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: Berger Picards are trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.
    2. Problem-Solving: They excel in problem-solving, making them effective herding dogs and competitors in dog sports.
    3. Adaptability: Berger Picards adapt well to different living environments and routines.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically bred for herding, their intelligence and quick thinking were assets in managing livestock.
    5. Social Intelligence: They are known to be sociable dogs, forming strong bonds with their families.

    Berger Picards’ intelligence is a key trait that makes them excellent working dogs and loyal companions when provided with proper training and mental stimulation.

    Berger Picards are intelligent and need mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training and activities that challenge their minds to keep them sharp.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety or destructive behavior, so provide companionship and attention.

    Exercise: Mental exercise is equally important. Offer them tasks that challenge their problem-solving skills.

    Training and Obedience: Berger Picards benefit from obedience training and activities that engage their minds. Consistent, positive-reinforcement training is effective in shaping their behavior.

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    What to look out for, before you get a Berger Picard!

    Berger Picards in a park

    Thinking about a Berger Picard? Keep these considerations in mind:

    1. Activity Level: Picards are active dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation.

    2. Training Needs: They are intelligent and need consistent training and socialization to prevent behavioral issues.

    3. Space: Picards need space to move around comfortably, making them better suited for homes with yards.

    4. Shedding: Regular grooming is essential to manage their coat and prevent matting.

    5. Work or Activities: Many Picards enjoy tasks or dog sports that provide mental and physical challenges.

    Berger Picards, known for their herding abilities, may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Herding Instinct: Berger Picards have a strong herding instinct, which may lead to chasing or nipping at people or other animals. Proper training is essential to manage this behavior.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure Berger Picards are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach Berger Picards appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves being aware of the dog’s behavior and taking necessary precautions in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): Berger Picards are generally not subject to BSL, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    Berger Picards are often good with children. They are affectionate and protective and may form strong bonds with kids. Their herding instincts may make them watch over and gather children, but this behavior is generally manageable with training.

    Berger Picards are generally capable swimmers. Their agility and athleticism make them proficient in the water. Many may enjoy being in the water. However, individual comfort levels and preferences for water activities can vary. Always supervise them when they are swimming.

    1. Early Training: Start training your Berger Picard puppy as early as possible. Puppies are like sponges, and their ability to learn is at its peak during their early months.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to a wide range of people, animals, and environments to help them become well-adjusted adults. Socialization is crucial for reducing fear and aggression.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and toys, to reward and reinforce good behavior. This approach is effective and builds a strong bond between you and your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Be consistent with your training methods and commands. Use the same cues and rewards consistently to avoid confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it.” These commands are the building blocks of obedience and safety.
    6. House Training: Be patient and consistent when house training your Berger Picard puppy. Establish a routine for bathroom breaks and praise them when they eliminate outside.
    7. Crate Training: Crate training can be a valuable tool for housebreaking and providing a safe space for your puppy. Make the crate a positive and comfortable place.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to develop good social skills. Puppy classes and playdates can be helpful.
    9. Exercise and Play: Berger Picard puppies have energy to burn. Ensure they get enough exercise and playtime to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
    10. Chewing: Provide appropriate chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and prevent them from chewing on furniture or belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training takes time, and puppies may not grasp commands immediately. Be patient and persistent, and avoid punishment-based training methods.
    12. Professional Training: If you encounter challenges or need additional guidance, consider enrolling your puppy in a professional training class led by a qualified dog trainer.

    Remember that Berger Picard puppies, like all puppies, are eager to please and learn. Positive and consistent training practices will help them become well-behaved, obedient, and happy adult dogs. Building a strong and trusting bond with your puppy through training is a rewarding experience for both you and your canine companion.

    Berger Picards are often moderate in terms of noisiness. They may bark or use vocalizations when they perceive a need to protect their home or family, but they are not excessively vocal.

    Berger Picards thrive in homes that provide:

    • 1. Active Lifestyle: They do well in households with active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and playtime.
    • 2. Space: A house with a yard where they can exercise and explore is ideal.
    • 3. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is crucial to their well-adjusted behavior.
    • 4. Routine: Establishing a routine helps them feel secure and reduces anxiety. Predictable daily schedules are beneficial.
    • 5. Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrive in environments where training and mental stimulation are prioritized.


    • 1. Lack of Exercise: Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, Berger Picards can become bored and may develop behavioral problems.
    • 2. Isolation: They are social dogs and may struggle in homes where they are frequently left alone for extended periods.
    • 3. Lack of Socialization: Poorly socialized Berger Picards may exhibit fear or aggression towards strangers or other animals, which can lead to challenges in public settings.
    • 4. Owner Experience: Inexperienced owners who are not prepared for the breed’s specific needs and characteristics may face challenges in raising a well-behaved Berger Picard.

    Traveling with Berger Picards involves these considerations:

    1. Exercise Needs: Picards require regular exercise. Plan for breaks and playtime during travel.
    2. Size: They are medium-sized. Ensure their security with suitable travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some Picards may experience travel anxiety. Gradual introduction to travel and familiar items can help alleviate stress.
    4. Air Travel: Choose airlines with pet-friendly policies and suitable crate requirements for air travel.
    5. Identification: Keep proper identification on your Berger Picard during travel.

    Berger Picards are generally healthy, but they may be prone to certain health concerns, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Pannus: A condition affecting the eyes and potentially leading to vision problems.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Ear Infections: Berger Picards can be prone to ear infections, so regular cleaning and care are important.

    Proper nutrition is vital for Berger Picards. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate to high protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Berger Picards.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) may affect Berger Picards in certain areas, and owners should be aware of these regulations. BSL is typically enacted at the local level, and the restrictions can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Here are some common types of BSL restrictions that Berger Picards may encounter:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Some areas may require owners of Berger Picards to spay or neuter their dogs under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licenses for Berger Picard owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of Berger Picards may be required to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In specific regions, BSL may dictate that Berger Picards be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of Berger Picards altogether in certain areas.

    The rationale for BSL is often based on concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds, including Berger Picards. However, it’s important to note that Berger Picards are not inherently aggressive, and BSL may affect them due to their physical resemblance to breeds sometimes included in these laws.

    BSL is a contentious subject, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding Berger Picards in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a Berger Picard.

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The Berger Picard

    Myth 1: Berger Picards are Rare in the United States

    Truth: While not as common as some breeds, Berger Picards can be found in the United States. They are not extremely rare but are still unique and distinctive.

    Myth 2: They are Aggressive and Unpredictable

    Truth: Proper training and socialization can lead to well-behaved and friendly Berger Picards. They are not inherently aggressive.

    Berger Picards, known for their herding abilities, may not have as many widely recognized famous individuals. They excel in herding roles and have contributed to the traditional role of herding dogs in France and other regions.

    • Herding: Berger Picards have a history as herding dogs and continue to excel in herding tasks on farms.
    • Working Dogs: They are employed as working dogs in herding and guarding roles, particularly in herding and guarding livestock.
    • French Heritage: Berger Picards are considered a part of French cultural heritage and have been celebrated in French art and literature.

    Berger Picards have been owned by individuals and families who value their herding and working abilities. While specific historical owners may not be widely recognized, these dogs have excelled in various roles.

    Berger Picards, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s exercise needs and protective nature can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: Berger Picards are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia and bloat. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Protective Instincts: They are known for their protective instincts, which may lead to guarding and territorial behavior if not properly managed through training.
    4. Exercise Needs: These dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent restlessness and destructive behavior due to their high energy levels.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Their coat may make them sensitive to heat. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to prevent heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: Berger Picards may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Training Needs: Proper training is important to manage their protective instincts and to provide mental stimulation for the breed.
    9. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure Berger Picards are well-adjusted around strangers and other dogs.
    10. Coat Care: Their coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain skin health.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of Berger Picards.

    The Berger Picard, also known as the Picardy Shepherd, is a French herding breed developed in the Picardy region. Its origins likely include local herding dogs selectively bred for their herding instincts and agility. Over time, the breed’s appearance and working traits were standardized.

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    Why you're going to love the Berger Picard

    The Berger Picard, known for its intelligence and herding skills, is a breed that excels in various working roles. Their striking appearance and affectionate nature have made them cherished working dogs and family companions.

    Owning a Berger Picard entails providing mental and physical stimulation, grooming, and regular veterinary care. Responsible ownership includes addressing potential health concerns and embracing their herding instincts through training.

    With their wiry coat and endearing demeanor, Berger Picards continue to charm those who appreciate their versatility and loyalty.

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