Berger Picard dog breed profile treatment

Berger Picard

Berger Picards are a loving and active dog. They're fairly rare, especially outside of France, but have won the hearts of many with their big ears, sweet eyes, and silly nature.
Berger Picard
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament
Berger Picard
height
  • 21.5–25.5 inches
weight
  • 50–70 pounds
life span
  • 13–14 years
breed size
  • medium (26-60 lbs.)
good with
  • families
  • children
  • dogs
temperament
  • friendly
  • willful
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • normal
exercise needs
  • high
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • infrequent
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • herding
coat length/texture
  • medium
  • wiry
colors
  • fawn
patterns
  • bicolor
  • brindle
other traits
  • easy to groom
  • cold weather tolerant
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good hiking companion

If you're looking for a dog that's as talented at snuggling as he is at playing fetch, then a Berger Picard might just be your new favorite furry friend. This pointy-eared pup with an adorable scruffy coat is an enthusiastic adventure buddy, happily accompanying you on a daily walk, run, swim, or hike—just make sure those activities are daily, because she has a lot of energy to burn. 

Berger Picards are known for being a bit strong-willed, but they also adore everything about their humans and want to make them happy. These rare herding dogs pick up on training easily when paired with a patient owner. When socialized early, they can be a friend to kids and other animals in their home—and they've got a whole lot of love to give. 

Appearance

The first thing you'll notice about a Berger Picard is her adorable pointy ears. These ears are an average of 4–5 inches tall and stand at attention on the top of her head—all the better for her to hear when you call her in for dinner! 

French dog breed Berger picard lying in a field
With her big ears, brown eyes, and scruffy coat, it's hard to resist the charms of a Berger Picard.
| Credit: Tomas Maracek / Getty

A Berger Picard typically rocks a wiry fawn or brindle coat—those with brindle fur can look anywhere between light gray to black Berger Picards. Her eyebrows, beard, and mustache are all the same sandy color. While these furry accents mean she needs a bit of grooming to keep her seeing and playing safely, Berger Picards are generally a low-maintenance breed.

In addition to her fur being fairly low-maintenance, it is also a water-resistant double coat. Don't be afraid to take her out on a rainy day to let her splash through puddles or roll around in the snow—just be sure to follow typical cold-weather precautions.

Besides her ears and coat, the Berger Picard's eyes are equally captivating and almost human-like in their expression. Just try to resist giving her an extra treat when she gazes up at you with those brown beauties! These dogs stand 21.5–25.5 inches tall, and a healthy Berger Picard weight is anywhere between 50–70 pounds.

Temperament

If there's one word that encapsulates the Berger Picard, it's energetic. These pups have a lot of energy and love to be by your side as they burn it off. They thrive when they have a job to do, so any activity—such as fetch, herding, or endurance trails—where they have an end goal they can shoot for will make them happy. But this go-go-go personality isn't the only staple of the Berger's temperament. 

"In general, Berger Picards are known to be loving, independent, and very intelligent herd dogs that love being active and spending time outside," says Marty Goldstein, integrative veterinarian, author, and founder of Dr. Marty Pets. "That being said, every dog's personality is different—which is what makes dogs so special."

berger picard running in a field
Born and bred herders, Berger Picards need ample exercise to be happy house dogs.
| Credit: tmart_foto / Adobe Stock

Their energy and intelligence means they work well with humans—provided pup and owner are on the same page. Berger Picards can have an independent mind, so lots of training (and patience!) will be your key to success. When they're done with their daily hike or agility training, they'll be happy to cuddle up with their human.

But it's not all serious training seshes with these furballs; Berger Picards are also well-known for their sense of humor. These pups are playful and need to keep their minds engaged to be happy. 

Living Needs

If you're considering bringing home a Berger Picard puppy, ask yourself one question first: How many marathons have you run this year? OK, you don't have to be a long-distance runner, but these pups need a family that loves to be outdoors and moving, whether it's biking, hiking, or just throwing around a ball. If not, Bergers can get bored and unhappy.

While you don't necessarily need to have a sprawling home to keep these pups happy, a house with a fenced-in yard is a plus. But Berger Picards can happily live in a smaller home or a city apartment as long as you take them on plenty of walks and runs. Not only will this get their energy out, but it will also help give them some much-desired quality time with you. Because if there's anything they love more than a romp outside, it's a romp outside with you.

"Just like all dog breeds, Berger Picards need an outlet to release their energy or it's possible they'll develop behavioral problems," Goldstein says. "And although you probably won't find them hanging out on the couch all day, Berger Picards can still 'chill out' and cuddle with their pet parents."

berger picard running in water
Though the breed standard says there's no "black" Berger Picard, those with darker brindle fur definitely look like black pups.
| Credit: Petra Eckerl / Adobe Stock

Because of their wiry coat, they can handle a bit of ocean spray during a run on the beach or when they bounce through puddles at the park. Speaking of taking your pup to the park—Berger Picards can have a high prey drive, so always keep your dog on a lead so she doesn't dart off after a squirrel or rabbit. 

At home, a well-exercised Berger Picard can be a delightful family dog. When properly socialized, these pups can be a great playmate for children, other dogs, and even cats (as long as you teach them the family cat is not for herding).

"With the right love and care, any dog can be a great addition to a household with children and other pets," Goldstein says. "Although, I do recommend keeping a close eye as they meet their new family, and let them warm up to their new environment at their own pace."

Care

Though you'll need to keep up with regular grooming, your Berger Picard won't need too many spa days. With their wiry, waterproof coats, these pooches are fairly low-maintenance, though they have a bit of facial hair that needs attention. Otherwise, brushing them regularly (once a week during shedding season and once a month otherwise) and taking them to a groomer on occasion should be enough to keep them looking and feeling their best. And, like all dogs, you'll need to keep their nails trimmed and tidy.

As far as their other needs, training your Berger Picard early is essential to having the loving and respectful relationship you want with your furry friend. Always use positive reinforcement training techniques to get the most out of your training sessions.

tan berger picard lying on a sidewalk
Credit: Angelo Giampiccolo / Shutterstock

Health

Generally, the Berger Picard is a fairly healthy breed that lives 13–14 years on average, according to the Berger Picard Club of America (BPCA). However, like with all dog breeds, you'll want to keep an eye out for a few conditions they may be more prone to. 

According to the BPCA, Berger Picards may suffer from eye issues including progressive retinal atrophy and canine multifocal retinopathy, conditions that can lead to visual impairment or blindness. The pups can also develop hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.

Always work with a Berger Picard breeder who conducts all health screenings recommended by the Canine Health Information Center. If you're adopting, ask for all available health information on the pup. 

History

The Berger Picard is also known as the Picardy shepherd, a name chosen for the breed's supposed homeland: the Picardy region in France. This breed has deep roots in France and is believed to be the oldest French sheepdog, according to the BPCA. True to the dogs' hard-working and intelligent nature, the pups worked on farms by herding livestock, and there were even rumors that they were used to smuggle tobacco and matches across the border of France and Belgium. 

berger picard standing in grass with fence in background
Berger Picards are healthy dogs who can live between 13–14 years.
| Credit: CALLALLOO CANDCY / Adobe Stock

However, Berger Picards nearly became extinct following World War I and II. Many dog lovers worked to build up the breed following the Second World War, though they are still fairly rare to this day, especially outside of France.

In fact, Berger Picards didn't make it to the U.S. in any major way until the 21st century. A woman named Betsy Richards brought over a pup in 2005 from a breeder in France. Richards and other breed enthusiasts founded the Berger Picard Club of America, and her work for the breed led to American Kennel Club recognition in 2015. 

Fun Facts