Berger Picard – Everything You Need To Know

One of the oldest French sheepdogs, Berger Picard, also known as Picard or Picardy Shepherd, is an ancient and rare breed from the Picardy region of northern France. Renowned for their unbounded energy, unmatched intelligence, sturdy build, and endearing expressions, Picards has earned millions of fans over the past few decades globally. However, these breeds spent centuries as take-charge independent problem-solvers, so positive training, and early socialization are necessary to cope with their stubborn streak. Fetching, camping, trekking, swimming, hiking, snuggling, or whatever adventure you are up to, this herding breed will be more than happy to accompany you everywhere.

The best feature is that Picards can live cheerfully with young kids, other pets, and dogs in your family. Since they are super possessive about their human family, these hounds may prove ideal watchdogs. In addition, Picard is a good-natured, athletic breed that thrives on affection and outdoor activities. These canines have captured hearts for generations as an excellent addition to active families.

Berger Picard Overview

The Berger Picard is a medium-sized, muscular, solid herding dog breed with harmonious proportions and a medium-length, wiry coat that forms its trademark shaggy beard, mustache, and eyebrows. Their erect ears are notably large and taper from a broad base to a rounded tip with a curved tail allowing them to move with agility and endurance in fields herding livestock. 

Berger Picard Pros and Cons

Athletic and adventurousNeeds lots of exercises
Easy-care coatCan be stubborn about training
Needs moderate exerciseMight be destructive when bored

Berger Picard Basic Information 

  • Name: Berger Picard
  • Origin: France
  • Group: Herding
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: 21.5 – 25.5 inches
  • Weight: 50 – 70 pounds 
  • Coat: Wiry, double coat
  • Color: Brindle or fawn with/without white markings
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Agility, conformation, field trials, hunting tests, watchdog, obedience, rally, and farm dogs.
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 6 puppies
  • Other Names: Picardy Shepherd, Berger de Picard, Bacardi Shepherd, Berger de Picardie
  • Life Span: 11 – 13 years

History of Berger Picard

The Berger Picard dog is one of the oldest herding dogs in the world, with lineages dating back to the 9th century. The breed, which comes from Picardy, France, has close relations to other French herding hounds like the Briard and Beauceron; it was not awarded its breed title until 1925. However, Picards nearly became extinct following World War I and II. Many dog fanciers worked to build up the breed following the Second World War, though they are still relatively rare today, especially outside of France.

  • The American Kennel Club recognized Berger Picard in 2015.  

Berger Picard Highlights

  • Bergers are high-energy dogs with high exercise requirements to exert their pent-up energy
  • They can excel very well in canine sports
  • You can easily train Bergers with positive appraisals
  • The Berger Picards have minimal grooming requirements 
  • Due to high exercise needs, they are moderately suitable for apartment living

Berger Picard Personality

Berger Picards are alert, confident, intelligent dogs with tireless, efficient movements and sharp, spirited gazes. These medium-sized double-coated breeds have a short, soft, dense undercoat and a harsh and crisp outer coat. A unique feature of this scruffy, well-muscled, four-legged breed is its erect ears which may be 4-5 inches tall. These triangular and pointy long ears grab the attention of every passerby and enhance their hearing powers. In addition, this fun, devoted, good-tempered companion is active, feisty, domineering, and highly connected to their owners.

Friendliness Overview

Affection level High
Family-friendly High
Kid-friendly High
Pet-friendly Medium 
Stranger -friendly Low to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment living Medium 
Good to new owners Medium to high
Sensitivity level High
Tolerates being alone Medium
Cold-tolerance Medium to high
Heat-tolerance Medium

Berger Picard Physical Features

Head: Strong and massive head, oval-shaped eyes, slightly rounded muscular cheeks, square-shaped moderate muzzles, tight lips, and scissor or level bites.

Neck, Topline, and Body: Strong and muscular neck with straight slope topline from withers, well-developed briskets, and body. 

Tail: Tapered, moderate-in-length tail carried either slightly above or below the back line ending in a crook or “J” at the tip without deviating toward the right or left.

Forequarters: Clean, well-laid shoulder blades covered by lean and strong muscle. 

Hindquarters: Well-developed thighs and hips with rounded, moderately angulated hock joint.

Coat: Wiry, double coat.

Color: Brindle or fawn with/without white markings

Gait: The gait is free, smooth, effortless, and agile, with a powerful drive from the rear and good reach in front.


  • Males under 22½ inches or over 26½ inches, and females under 20½ inches or over 24½ inches. 
  • Yellow eyes. 
  • Undershot or overshot bite with loss of contact between upper and lower incisors. 
  • Ears not carried erect or not standing. 
  • Tail absent, docked, or kinked. 
  • Color solid black or white, pied, spotted, or harlequin; entirely white foot, or white “bib” on the chest.

Berger Picard Temperament

Berger Picards are good-natured, observant, and even-tempered. Picards are loving and devoted companions renowned as independent problem solvers with solid and stubborn streaks. The breed can be reserved with outsiders but should not be timid or nervous. Being true to their herding roots, Picards require a great deal of exercise and are best suited to active families. However, they also have a sensitive side and prefer not to be alone for long periods. These canines can become bored and destructive if left alone for too long.

Berger Picard Training

Since Picards are super intelligent, they can quickly pick up your commands. Therefore, early training prevents bad habits and saves you from the nuisance of maintaining a headstrong dog. Always use positive-reinforcement training techniques, such as praise and treats, because Picards can be sensitive to shutting down, harsh corrections, and refusing to learn. Likewise, aim to keep your training sessions fun and varied to keep your dog’s interest. These are some of the training that you need to do with your Berger Picard:

Trainability Overview

Easy to train Medium to high
Intelligence Medium to high
Mouthiness tendencies Low to medium 
Barking and howling tendencies Low to medium 
Prey drive Medium
Wanderlust tendenciesLow to medium 

Berger Picard Exercise Needs

As a working dog, Berger Picards require lots of exercise. Depending on their age and energy levels, Picards require around 30 – 60 minutes of daily exercise or interactive play sessions. These breeds love hiking, brisk walks, swimming, or games like fetch to help burn off their energy. They also participate in canine sports such as competitive obedience, tracking, flyball, rally, agility, and herding. You can meet your Berger Picard’s daily exercise essentials by:

  • Teaching new tricks 
  • Walking 
  • Fetching 
  • Chasing 
  • Playing with puzzle toys 
  • Playing tug of war 
  • Schutzhund 
  • Frisbee 
  • Herding trials 
  • Flyball 
  • Agility training 
  • Hiking 
  • Dog park

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy level Medium to high
Exercise needs Medium to high
Intensity Medium 
Playfulness Medium to high

Berger Picard Grooming

Berger Picards are non-hypoallergenic dogs with waterproof double coats that do not require much grooming. However, their trademark double coat will need a great deal of grooming. Picard’s basic grooming routine includes weekly brushing their coats to remove loose fur. Also, bathe them roughly once a month, trim their nails once monthly, brush their teeth at least twice a week, clean their ears and eyes weekly, and maintain dental hygiene in regular grooming. 

Grooming Overview 

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendency Low
Amount of shedding Medium to high

Berger Picard Health

Berger Picards are generally healthy, but like other canines, they’re prone to certain conditions and disorders. Thus, to keep them healthy, you must take your dog to the vet for regular health check-ups and ensure they are updated with vaccinations.

Health Overview

Overall health High
Weight gain tendencies Medium
Size Medium to high

Hip Dysplasia: A heritable condition occurring when the thigh bones don’t fit aptly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint.

Other Causes:

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 


  • Pain  
  • Lameness

Elbow dysplasia: When canines go lame later in life, elbow dysplasia is the most common reason. It’s a malformation of the elbow joint, driving it to deviate, resulting in pain, loss of motion, and, finally, lameness. This disorder most generally concerns large-breed dogs such as Picards.

Eye Diseases: Picards can be prone to these eye diseases:  

  • Corneal damage 
  • Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) 
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis) 
  • Eyelid mass 
  • Cataracts 
  • Glaucoma 
  • Cherry eye 
  • Entropion 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A degenerative eye disease that causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eyes. It can be detected earlier. A very later stage is blindness. Canines with this disorder can survive for several years since they have other senses to compensate.

Dental disease: It affects 80% of pets by two. It causes tartar build-up on the teeth, infection of the gums and roots, and in extreme cases, loss of teeth and damage to the kidneys.

Recommended Health Tests

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Berger Picard Diet and Nutrition

It is recommended to measure food 1 to 1.5 cups that are high in quality, dry food to your Picards twice a day rather than letting the food on the plate all day long to eat. Since these breeds are potential weight gainers, it is better to watch the food quantity you offer. However, ensure the diet you provide is measured and tailored to your dog’s size, activity level, age, and weight. Likewise, limit the treats you give your dog, specifically while training.

Berger Picard Living Condition

  • Picards are well suited to apartment life as long as they are given routine walks and play sessions.
  • They have a strong chase instinct, so Picards must be leash-walked and have a fenced yard.
  • On the downside, Picards may undergo separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. 

Did You Know?

  • Berger Picard was featured in the films “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Daniel and the Superdogs,” and “Are We Done Yet?”
  • Picard is one of those few canines that can stay in almost all climate conditions. Yet, they are more suited to cold climates.
  • Picards are blessed with the incredible memory that even a one-time interaction with a person will be enough for these dogs to identify him.
  • A Berger Picard named Floyd saved his owner’s life by aiding in the timely diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma growing in his armpit.
  • The 1st Picards were shown together in the same class with Briards and Beaucerons in 1863.

Berger Picard Club Recognition


Adding a Berger Picard to Your Family

The cost of a Berger Picard is approximately $2000 to $3000. Getting a Berger Picard from a reputable breeder is best to prevent inevitable occurrences like health disorders. In addition, it is best to check with the puppy’s parents to ensure their health and happiness. 

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