The Picardy shepherd dog breed, also known as the berger picard, originates from the ancient region in north-eastern France, Picardy, from which it takes its name. It is thought, however, that this breed is much older and is thought to have been brought to Europe by the Celts centuries ago. During the Second World War the breed was threatened with extinction and to this day is almost completely unknown outside of France, but specimens can also be found in the Benelux and northern Germany.
It was used as a herding dog for flocks of sheep, where its characteristics were greatly appreciated. Today, this dog is mainly a companion and guard dog and is also used as a support for civil defence.
The first standard for this breed was only drawn up in 1925, when it was officially recognised.
Character of the Picardy shepherd dog breed
The Picardy Shepherd Dog is a balanced and adaptable dog, full of energy and very sporting. It is a rustic dog, very decisive, but attached to its owner, who, however, must be experienced and must know how to deal with a dog that is very fiery, a little stubborn and also dominant if left to its own devices. Therefore training is essential for this breed and it needs a firm education and a great socialisation from puppyhood, otherwise it does not get on well with other animals, especially of the same sex.
It is said that this dog is gruff in character, a little abrupt and severe in its dealings with others, but if it has had a suitable education it is very loyal, even if it is not very expansive.
It adapts to all situations, is very sporty and full of energy, it is not therefore the classic flat dog, but it must have a place where it can spend several hours a day outdoors. It can live outside, but in winter it cannot stand the weather, but in summer it can withstand the high, hot temperatures. However, it likes to live in a family and has a lot of patience, especially with children. It is also an excellent watchdog and its instinct is to remain in its family environment and protect its members, especially children. It can be aggressive with strangers, but is not afraid of anything and is feisty. It is very fond of being in the water.
Appearance of the Picardy Sheepdog breed of dog
The Picardy Sheepdog is a medium to large dog, the height at withers for a male is on average 60 to 65 centimetres with a weight ranging from 20 to 26 kilograms, the female a little less, although she is usually longer than the males.
The build is solid, very muscular and well built, without being heavy. In fact, it is always very elegant, both when stationary and on the move. Its expression is lively and alert and is made characteristic by its griffon-like appearance. The limbs are solid and clearly bony, the tail is very long and curved at the tip; in action it is carried higher without ever being curved on the back.
The head is well proportioned with the rest of the body, the muzzle, not too long, has a moustache and a beard. The eyes are of medium size, usually dark. The ears are medium, wide at the base and carried straight with slightly rounded tips. The truffle is black.
The hair of the coat is fairly long, and is neither fringed nor flat, it is about 5 to 6 centimetres long and is weather resistant as it also has a thick undercoat. The colours of the fur can have different shades ranging from black to grey passing through ochre. It can also be fawn, carbonated fawn or tiger fawn. Some specimens are a mix of all these shades.
Health and care of the Picardy Shepherd dog breed
The Picardy shepherd dog is a very robust dog with no particular breed-specific health problems. Hip dysplasia has a minimal incidence on the breed, thanks to the excellent work done by the breeders. As with all breeds of the same size and structure, attention must be paid to stomach twisting.
As far as diet is concerned, it must always be controlled, as the Picardy Shepherd Dog is very greedy, so its diet must be moderate and not at its leisure.
With regard to the care of its coat, this dog needs to be brushed regularly to keep the undercoat alive and avoid the formation of knots and tangles which can be very annoying and even painful. It does not lose much hair even during the moult.