Herding Dog Group
The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.
Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.
Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
The Berger Picard, named for the Picardie region in northeast France, is one of the oldest French breeds of sheep-herding dogs. Some scholars believe the breed was introduced by the Celts, while others claim it is descended from dogs of Asian tribes who invaded Europe in the Middle Ages. Some experts insist that this breed is related to the more well-known Briard and Beauceron, while others suppose 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, even in France.
The Berger 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, with a distinctive rough coat, erect ears, and a natural tail that normally reaches to the hock and is carried with a slight J-curve at the tip. The Berger Picard should be evaluated as a working sheep-herding dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work.
Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Britain has fewer predators and its sheep are less tame than in France. While British sheep traditionally lived outdoors in enclosed pastures, French sheep were usually grazed in an open pasture each day and returned each evening to a stable or enclosure. These differences resulted in significant variations in the temperament and herding style of British and French dogs.
The Berger Picard shares many characteristics with the Briard, the Beauceron, and the other continental herding breeds. Because of the French practice of grazing in unenclosed areas, often adjoining land planted with crops, the Berger Picard developed a herding style referred to as “boundary” or “tending.” This contrasts with the “fetching” style of the British herding dogs.
Because of the increased threat of predators, French shepherds preferred a herding dog with a strong protective instinct that has led many of the more well-known continental herding breeds into police work.
The Berger Picard is a lively, energetic, affectionate dog that is still primarily used in France for herding. Their intelligence and protective instincts make them suitable as guard dogs as well. They are excellent family companions and very good with children.
Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness.
The head is free of wrinkles and proportional to the size of the dog. The skull and muzzle are of equal length, parallel to one another, and joined at a very slight stop. There is a slight median furrow between the bony arches over the eyes.
The skull is broad and slightly domed. It is covered with harsh-textured hair approximately 1½ inches in length, which causes the skull to appear nearly flat when viewed from the front. The cheeks are just slightly rounded. The hair above the eyes falls forward, forming rough eyebrows that are not trimmed nor are they so thick or long as to obscure the eyes.
Faults: Eyebrows absent or too full. Skull too flat or too domed. Forehead too flat or too steep.
Viewed from above, the muzzle tapers slightly from the stop to the nose, but is powerful and never snipey. In profile, the bridge of the muzzle is straight. Lips are thin and tight with dark pigment. The hair on the muzzle forms a distinct moustache and beard.
Faults: Absence of moustache or beard. Pendulous lips. Absence of pigment in lips.
The Berger Picard has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
Faults: Missing up to two premolars. Level mouth.
Serious Faults: Missing up to four premolars.
Disqualifications: More than four missing teeth. Overshot or undershot.
The nose is large and always black.
Disqualification: Nose any color other than black.
The eyes are of medium size, oval, and set on a horizontal axis. Eye color is brown, with the darkness of the color varying with the color of the coat, but never lighter than hazel. The eye rims are tight-fitting and black. The expression is intelligent and confident.
Serious Faults: Eyes set obliquely. Eyes too light.
Disqualifications: Wall eyes. Non-matching eyes.
Ears are of moderate size (approximately 3 inches tall), set rather high, and always carried naturally erect. They are broad at the base and slightly rounded at the tips. From the front, the outer edge of the ear points straight up, although it may point slightly outward and still be acceptable.
Faults: Ears taller than 5 inches. Ears set too low or too close together. Outer edge of ear that points inward toward the tip.
Disqualification: Ears not fully erect.
The neck is long but strong and muscular, blending smoothly into well-laid-back shoulders. The head is carried proudly erect.
Faults: Neck too thin and weak. Neck too short and thick. Ewe neck. Dewlap.
The shoulder blades are long, smoothly muscled, and moderately laid back.
The forelegs are straight and strong, with slightly sloping pasterns. The elbows are neither close to the body nor out, but are set on a plane parallel to the body.
Faults: Pastern too steep; down in pastern.
The body is slightly longer than tall.
The ribs are well sprung out from the spine, forming a strong back, then curving down and inward. The chest reaches no deeper than the elbows and extends in a gently rounded oval in front of the forelegs. The line of the back is straight. The loin is well-muscled and broad. The croup is slightly sloping and blends into the hindquarters in a gentle curve. The belly is slightly tucked up.
The angulation of the pelvis and femur is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters.
The hind legs are long and well muscled. The stifle and hock joints are moderately angulated. Rear pasterns are strong, lean, and of moderate length. Viewed from any angle, they are parallel to one another and perpendicular to the ground. When standing naturally, rear legs are spaced moderately apart and are set neither too far out behind the dog nor under.
Feet are compact, well-knit, and round in shape. Toes are well-arched. Pads are firm and supple. Nails are strong and dark in color. Double dewclaws on the rear legs may be present, but are not preferred.
The tail is a natural extension of the topline. The tail is never docked; is thick at the base, and tapers to the tip. When the dog is in repose, the tail just reaches to the hock, with the bottom of the tail forming a hook shaped like the letter “J” when viewed from the side. When the dog is in action, the tail is carried higher than, but never above, the level of the back.
The tail is covered with hair of the same length as the body coat.
Faults: Absence of coat on tail. Plush coat on tail. Tail too short. Kink in tail.
Serious Fault: Tail continuously carried over the back.
Disqualifications: Tail absent or bobbed.
The Berger Picard’s shaggy, rough, double coat is a distinctive characteristic of the breed. The length of the coat is approximately 2 to 2½ inches all over the body except for the head, where it is slightly shorter; and around the neck, where the mane may be slightly longer. The texture of the outer coat is harsh and crisp to the touch. The undercoat is soft and dense.
Serious Faults: Body coat shorter than 2 inches; longer than 3 inches.
Disqualifications: Body coat shorter than 1½ inches. Soft or woolly coat. Curly coat. Flat coat.
Color may be gray, gray-black, gray with black highlights, gray-blue, gray-red, light or dark fawn, brindle, or a mixture of these shades. A slight white marking is allowed on the chest and on the tips of the toes.
Faults: White patch on the chest forming a “shirtfront.” White all over the toes.
Disqualifications: Pure black or white. Harlequin or pied. All white chest or feet. White on the coat anywhere other than chest or feet. Albinism.
Height And Weight
Desirable height at maturity for males is between 23½ and 25½ inches and, for females, between 21½ and 23½ inches.
Fault: Up to three-quarters of an inch above the maximum.
Eliminating Faults: Mature dog below the minimum height (23½ for males; 21½ for females). Height over 27 inches for males; 25 inches for females.
The Berger Picard moves freely, with long, easy steps, giving the impression of being both elegant and effortless. His structure permits the abrupt turns, springing starts and sudden stops required of a herding dog. Reach is moderate; limbs remain parallel.
(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)
Mature dog below the minimum height (23½ for males; 21½ for females).
Height over 27 inches for males; 25 inches for females.
(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
More than four missing teeth.
Overshot or undershot.
Nose any color other than black.
Ear not fully erect.
Tail absent or bobbed.
Body coat shorter than 1½ inches.
Soft or woolly coat.
Pure black or white.
Harlequin or pied.
All white chest or feet.
White on the coat anywhere other than chest or feet.
Looking for a Dog?
Note: The breeders on this list are not endorsed by UKC.
Revised October 1, 2012
©Copyright 1998, United Kennel Club