Breed Spotlight – Berger Picard

The Berger Picard is a French herding dog hailing from Picardy, in the northern part of France. With their erect ears, wavy coat and j-hook tail, the Berger Picard has a very distinctive look that makes them stand out, even at a distance. Their large rectangular heads, complete with shaggy beard, eyebrows and mustache, gives them “French artist” flair.

The survival of the breed was in doubt due to the effects of both World War I and World War II. They did recover but the breed still remains relatively rare. Berger Picards starred in the 2005 movie Because of Winn-Dixie, as they wanted a dog who looked like the somewhat scruffy mutt that was on the cover of the original book. 

As they needed several dogs for the film that looked alike, the producers picked the Berger Picard to fill the role. Most people who see the film believe that Winn-Dixie is of mixed breed origin.

The Berger Picard has enormous energy and absolutely needs an owner who can provide their dog vigorous exercise in the form of sports and games. If adequate exercise is not provided, these dogs can quickly revert to destructive behavior.

Bergers weigh from 50 to 70 pounds, depending on the sex of the dog with males standing as tall as 25.5 inches at the shoulder. Bergers are loyal and affectionate but they do have a stubborn streak so early socialization is very important.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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