The Berger Picard: A Complete Guide

The Berger Picard is an eager-to-please dog breed that hails from France. While not the most popular breed out there, they’re well-loved by their owners.

Jan 11, 2024By Thalia Oosthuizen
the berger picard complete guide

Finding your doggy soulmate can be pretty challenging. After all, there are a lot of options! Just like a two-legged soulmate, you want to consider a lot of things – lifestyle, commitment, and even looks. Maybe you want a four-legged pal from the most romantic country on Earth: France.

If so, don't limit yourself to French bulldogs or Papillons. We have a better choice…meet the Berger Picard. This pup is more than just a pretty face; it's smart, too, with a fascinating backstory.

The Berger Picard: a French Farming Companion

Berger Picard Dog Standing in Yard
Image credit: The Spruce Pets

This dog’s roots stretch back to a time when the French countryside resonated only with the rhythmic sounds of livestock grazing in lush fields. In those simpler days, the Berger Picard, with its sharp mind and nimbleness, became an indispensable companion to those toiling in the soil.

Amidst the farmers and shepherds, the Berger Picard honed its characteristics and skills. The name itself speaks volumes. "Berger" translates to “shepherd” in French, emphasizing the breed's deep connection to French pastoral life.

That's right, this pup's heritage is woven into the very fabric of the rural landscapes it once called home - Picardy. Ah, the Picardy region, renowned for its rustic charm. A place where farmers and shepherds counted on the beloved Berger Picard’s herding skills.

The Role of Berger Picard in Agriculture

Berger Picard Standing in Field
Image credit: the Berger Picard Club of America

With their built-in herding skills and agile bodies, this pup was integral in managing the livestock of the French countryside. That means that these dogs were pivotal in the whole process of rounding up and safeguarding the herds of farm animals in this region.

Their intelligence and adaptability added to their value, allowing them to thrive in various landscapes – be it rolling hills or vast fields. Farmers leaned on the Berger Picard to handle the complexities of herding, ensuring the safety and well-being of their livestock.

The breed's harmonious collaboration with humans, combined with its unwavering loyalty, fostered a robust connection between these dogs and the farming communities they supported. It wasn’t just about herding; it's about a partnership that strengthened over time.

They Went from Pastoral Work to Household Companionship

Berger Picard Dog Running in Ocean Waves
Image credit: Daily Paws

As farming techniques changed, the Berger Picard adapted too. It transformed into a loyal companion in homes where folks appreciated its special qualities while still serving as a guardian for livestock.

Yes, you heard it right! This breed smoothly shifted into becoming a beloved family member throughout France, all the while retaining its impressive herding skills. This evolution clearly highlighted its versatility and ability to adapt.

Ears Up, Eyebrows Raised - Distinctive Physical Characteristics

Berger Picard Lying on Rock at Beach
Image credit: Pixabay

With a medium to large build, these dogs boast a robust physique highlighted by well-defined muscles, showcasing their strength and agility. A single look at a Berger Picard reveals a captivating fusion of features that truly distinguish this breed.

Now, what immediately grabs your attention might just be those remarkable ears – adorable and standing tall. They bring a certain grace, adding an elegant touch to the pup's overall look. Paired with expressive bushy eyebrows, these ears contribute to the Berger Picard's unique and endearing charm.

But the allure doesn't stop at their physical traits; it extends to their coat, often brindle or fawn. This distinctive coat not only enhances their charismatic appearance but also stands as a testament to their individuality in the canine world.

Blend all these traits together, and you get an inherently memorable and visually striking breed. It's no wonder they've earned the reputation they have – the Berger Picard is truly one of a kind.

Temperament: Intelligence and Energetic Nature

Berger Picard Running through Field
Image credit: Hundeo

This dog's reputation isn't just about looks; temperament plays a crucial role. The Berger adds another layer of charm with its temperament. Renowned for being an intelligent dog breed, these pups excel at learning tasks and commands, thanks to their sharp minds and highly trainable nature.

Reflecting their historical role as diligent workers, their boundless energy levels contribute to overall vitality. The Berger Picard thrives on both mental and physical stimulation, whether herding livestock or engaging in breed-specific dog sports. This drive to stay active and mentally engaged showcases their versatility and underscores their adaptability to various roles.

As loyal companions, Berger Picards bring not only a striking appearance but also a spirited and intelligent personality to any household. That's what truly makes them captivating for those seeking an energetic and trainable canine companion. So, if you're on the lookout for an exercise buddy, this pup might just be the perfect fit for you.

Training Tips for the Spirited Companion

Berger Picard Standing on Lawn
Image credit: Daily Paws

Though the Berger is a smart little guy, which makes them quite attractive as a companion, that intelligence and curiosity come with high energy levels. These energy levels will require a lot of management to make sure you have a well-behaved pup.

Regular exercise and mental stimulation are the keys to maintaining the physical health and mental well-being of a Berger Picard. It is paramount to engage them in daily walks, runs, or play sessions. This will help to burn off excess energy and provide an opportunity for them to explore their surroundings while satisfying their natural curiosity.

Another thing to consider adding to their routines is agility exercises. They are another way to keep them physically fit. It also stimulates their minds as they navigate through various obstacles. These intelligent dogs require activities that engage their sharp minds, too.

Berger Picard Dog Sitting in Grass
Image credit: Hundeo

Interactive play sessions, where they can use problem-solving skills and strategies, are excellent for mental stimulation as well. So, make sure to introduce challenging puzzle games, interactive toys, or even scent work to help keep their cognitive abilities sharp and prevent boredom.

Treats are always good to give your pups a little incentive. In fact, these pups respond very well to praise and rewards. This will aid in reinforcing good behavior and strengthening your bond with your furry friend.

Training sessions should be part of their daily routine, especially during their formative months in puppyhood. This establishes clear communication channels between the owner and the dog, along with providing mental stimulation.

Health Matters: Navigating Common Issues

Berger Picard Lying on Carpet with Toys
Image credit: Dirt Simple

Common health issues arise with any breed. But these little guys have some very specific health issues to keep an eye out for. Here are some of those things to keep in mind:

  • Routine veterinary examinations play a pivotal role in monitoring your Berger Picard's overall health and helping implement preventive measures. Vaccinations, dental care, and discussions about nutrition can also be addressed during these appointments.
  • A well-balanced and nutritionally appropriate diet is fundamental for the health and longevity of your Berger Picard. This will help build a good immune system and improve bone health and overall vitality.
  • Preventative measures may include regular parasite control (such as flea and tick prevention), dental care to prevent oral issues, and maintaining a safe environment to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

Health Issues That Can Afflict Berger Picards

berger picard puppy
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

With annual vet visits and doing your diligence as a responsible pet owner, you can help your furry friend avoid:

  • Hip dysplasia. This is a health issue that can affect larger dog breeds.Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding canine obesity can help manage and prevent hip dysplasia.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Berger Picards may be susceptible to PRA, a degenerative eye disorder. Regular check-ups and monitoring for any signs of vision impairment are crucial for early detection and appropriate management.
  • Allergic reactions. Berger Picards can be prone to allergies, which may manifest as skin irritations or digestive issues. So, make sure you partner with your vet on a treatment plan if these problems arise.

Berger Picards also run the risk of bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This is as sudden condition where the dog’s stomach fills with gas, then flips over on itself. In a few hours, this condition can prove fatal without treatment. You can prevent this condition in your dog by feeding them small portions and monitoring their water intake.

Tips for Prospective Owners

Berger Picard Dog Stretching on Grass
Image credit: Punch Magazine

Thoughtful consideration is crucial before welcoming a Berger Picard into your family. Whether you choose a reputable breeder or explore adoption, understanding their needs and compatibility is key to determining if this pup is a good match for you and vice versa.

Researching Options

Prioritize health and socialization and look for reputable breeders. You could also consider providing a loving home to a dog in need through adoption rescue organizations.

Energy Levels and Exercise

Assess your own activity level to ensure a match, and be prepared for daily walks and engaging activities.

Assessing Compatibility

The Berger Picard’s adaptability suits various environments, but assess how well their traits align with your lifestyle, considering factors like space and available time for exercise.

Providing Care and Attention

Regular grooming, veterinary care, and a nutritious diet are crucial to your pup's health. So, if you are looking to add a Berger to your family, you need to make sure you have that level of commitment available.

Berger Picards Are a Beloved Breed

Berger Picard Lying on Park Path
Image credit: Pixabay

The Berger Picard stands out amongst the sea of choices when it comes to the right pup for you. Its physical allure, as well as its intelligence and amazing history, gives this furry companion a lot to love. But even with all those traits, it is important that you navigate the decision to welcome a Berger Picard into your life very carefully.

Thalia Oosthuizen
By Thalia Oosthuizen

Thalia has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a dog (and animal) lover for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm where, at one stage, she had 15 dogs. She currently has one dog, Avery - an adorable pavement special with an extra toe on each foot, and two rescue cats - Boris and Mango. In her spare time, Thalia enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and reading