Bacardi Shepherd, Berger de Picardy, Picardy Shepherd
The Berger Picard is a herding breed that originated in France. It was traditionally used with sheep but is sometimes seen with other livestock. Unlike many herding dogs, the Berger Picard is capable of protecting their flock from predators such as wolves.
Their name translates to ‘sheepdog from Picardy’. In some English speaking countries, it is known as the Picardy Shepherd.
Beger Picard Standards
- 50-70 lbs
- medium-sized shepherd
- erect, triangular ears
- long tail reaches hock
- semi-long, harsh coat
- fawn with dark overlay
History of the Beger Picard
The Berger Picard is regarded as one of Europe's oldest sheepdogs and is most likely the oldest from France. They originated in Picardy, a coastal region in northern France. It is unknown how their ancestors first came to the area. Historians have argued they accompanied Celts, Romans, or Germanic tribes. The most popular theory is that it was the Celts, but the Germanic tribes seem just as likely due to the area. However, there is no evidence to support any specific theories. It is known that by the Middle Ages tapestries, wood carvings, and paintings depicted dogs very similar to the modern Berger Picard.
There is also significant debate as to whether the Berger Picard is more closely related to the Briard and Beauceron (both once considered the the same breed) or the Belgian and Dutch shepherds. In appearance and size, they are closer to the latter, in particular, the Belgian Laekenois and Wirehaired Dutch Shepherd. However, the Berger Picard was not recognized as a distinct breed until 1925, which means it almost certainly was crossed with other French shepherds prior to the 1900s.
World War I was devastating for most European breeds, but some of the worst fighting took place in Picardy. Never extremely popular, this left few Berger Picards remaining. Before they could recover World War II followed and Picardy found itself occupied with Nazi forces. By the time France was liberated the Berger Picard was facing extinction. Luckily there were still working farm dogs, and fanciers were able to slowly restore their numbers.
Once considered a very rare breed the numbers of the Berger Picard continues to grow. It is popular in France and has a following in Germany. More recently they have made their way to North America and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2015.