The Berger Picard is a lanky medium-sized working dog, a herding group member with strong bones and a sturdy build.
Known as the dog in the movie “Because of Winn-Dixie,” the Berger Picard has erect ears that stand up to 5 inches tall.
The breed’s also known as the Picard, the Berger de Picardie, Picardy Shepherd and Picardy Sheepdog.
This canine needs plenty of exercise, including long walks and runs and interactive play sessions with owners or family members.
Otherwise, it may become destructive due to poor or insufficient mental stimulation.
This can also lead to excessive barking.
Males can reach 26 inches, while females are 21 inches tall — a medium-sized dog weighing 50 to 70 pounds.
Before you adopt one of these herding dogs, get to know the key Berger Picard dog breed information so you can make an informed choice.
The dogs have wavy hair with coat colors ranging from light fawn to dark brindle. Their fur is typically short on their heads and slightly longer throughout their bodies.
Berger Picards have a double coat consisting of an insulating layer and a waterproof topcoat, which gives them an edge during colder temperatures.
During shedding season — usually in spring or fall — it’s essential to comb through their fur with an undercoat rake and slicker brush once or twice daily.
Doing this can help prevent fur from accumulating on flooring and furniture around your home and keep their coat fresh.
Outside of the shedding season, brush your Berger Picard weekly, and bathe your dog using a shampoo formulated for crisp coats every six to eight weeks.
Of course, other forms of hygiene maintenance are also necessary, such as trimming their nails regularly — ideally every four to six weeks.
Berger Picard temperament
Berger Picards love exercise and need plenty of physical activity to remain mentally stimulated and physically fit.
They are active creatures, so be prepared to take long walks if you want one of these pups.
With their intelligence and athletic appearance, these dogs compete easily at agility courses or other sports such as flyball or rally obedience.
To protect against boredom (which these clever pups tend toward), they must get enough mental stimulation throughout the day. Use fun interactive toys that encourage problem-solving skills and teach them tricks or play fetch. Variety is vital with this breed.
Additionally, allowing the dogs to socialize with other friendly dogs when ready is a great way for them to blow off steam.
With appropriate daily exercise, these furry companions make great partners for active families who enjoy long walks and go to the park together.
They also love a good cuddle session at home afterward.
Berger Picard health issues
The Berger Picard is a robust and generally healthy dog breed. Unlike many others, they have not been overbred and, as a result, enjoy fewer health problems associated with this practice.
However, like with all dogs, there are some potential issues to consider when considering a Berger Picard for your home.
The dogs may suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition caused by an abnormal formation in the ball-and-socket joint in their hind legs.
This can cause extreme pain and significantly reduce mobility if left untreated or undiagnosed.
Common symptoms to look out for include limping on both back legs; an unusual gait when your dog is walking, running, or jumping; reduced movement, and persistent or general lameness of the affected leg.
Fortunately, hip dysplasia can be corrected effectively through surgery, and Berger Picards will continue leading long, happy lives.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
The dogs’ other common hereditary condition is Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
With this condition, the retinas in their eyes become increasingly damaged over time, resulting in gradual vision loss and several uncomfortable side effects.
Symptoms to look for include an inability to follow signals or commands, cloudy eyes, bumping into objects, or anything else that might lead you to believe your dog is having difficulty with its vision.
Hereditary cataracts may affect some older members, which can cause blurry vision and may require surgical removal.
Other minor issues might include allergies and sensitive stomachs, so feeding quality foods will help keep your pet healthy and happy.
The dog’s life expectancy is typically 12 to 15 years, but they can live even longer if provided a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and regular vet visits.
One of the best ways to maintain a Berger Picard’s health is to provide high-quality dog food formulated for your dog’s age and activity level.
Many reputable brands offer well-balanced diets for puppies, adult dogs, seniors, and active breeds, like the Berger Picard.
The right food will ensure that your beloved canine receives all the necessary vitamins and minerals daily from one source.
Although one cautionary note: Berger Picards love food, so monitoring how much your dog eats is critical. Too many treats will result in obesity, something we want our furry friends to avoid.
Too much weight stresses a dog’s joints over time, leading to potential joint issues later.
Berger Picard training
When it comes to training your Picard, patience is critical.
Picards tend to be stubborn about learning new commands; however, they’re also incredibly eager to please, so consistent repetition should eventually lead them down the right path.
Positive reinforcement is critical for this breed.
Using harsh methods can adversely affect your pup’s behavior over time, resulting in aggressive or shy behavior patterns later in life.
As with all breeds, socialization is essential when welcoming a new pup into your home. Take plenty of opportunities to introduce your dog to new people, places, and situations, but do it slowly.
Initially, you may consider taking long walks around parks where your pup can observe others from afar.
When it’s ready, expose your dog slowly but consistently to unfamiliar people and give opportunities for supervised play with other friendly canines.
Final thoughts on adopting a Berger Picard
These pups are full of life — they are up for anything but respect boundaries when trained well.
If you want an exciting outdoor companion, look no further than the charming, athletic Berger Picard.