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The Berger Picard is French breed of dog of the herding group of breeds. These dogs are a rare breed that nearly went extinct after both WWI and WWII and still remain a rare breed to this date with only approx. 3,500 individuals in France and around 500 in Germany and few are found in the United States or other countries. The movie Because of Winn-Dixie used two of these dogs that had to be brought over from France to America.
This is possibly the oldest of all the French shepherds, arriving in Picardy and the Pas de Calais with the Celts in AD 800. The Berger Picard is named for the Picardie region in northeastern France. Some experts insist that this breed is related to the more well-known Briard and Beauceron, while others believe it shares a common origin with Dutch and Belgian Shepherds.
Although the Berger Picard made an appearance at the first French dog show in 1863, the breed’s rustic appearance did not lead to popularity as a show dog. The two World Wars nearly caused the extinction of the Berger Picard and it is still rare.
In France there are approximately 3000 dogs and in Germany approximately 350 of this breed. The Berger de Picard was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1994. The Berger Picard is a medium-sized, well-muscled dog, slightly longer than tall. The natural tail normally reaches to the hock and is carried with a slight J-curve at the tip. The coat is harsh and crisp to the touch, and about 2-2.5 inches (5-6 cm.) long all over the body.
The thick strong hair is not fluffy and light, therefore it does not fly around in the air. Coat colors include grey, grey-black, blue-grey, red-grey, and light or darker fawn. A small white patch on the feet is permissible in the show ring but not favored. The ears are erect, high-set and quite wide at the base. The eyebrows are thick, but do not shield the eyes.