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BERGER DE PICARD

Official U.K.C. Breed Standard*

Herding Dogs Group
  © Copyright 1998, United Kennel Club, Inc.


HISTORY

The Berger de 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 de 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 de Picard and it is still rare, even in France.

The Berger de Picard was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1994.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Berger de 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 de 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.

CHARACTERISTICS

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 de 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 de 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 protec-tive instinct that has led many of the more well-known continental herding breeds into police work.

The Berger de 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.

HEAD

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.

SKULL
The skull is broad and slightly domed. It is covered with harsh-textured hair about 1 1/2 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.

MUZZLE
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.

TEETH
The Berger de 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.

NOSE
The nose is large and always black
Disqualification: Nose any color other than black.

EYES
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
Ears are of moderate size (about 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 4 3/4 inches. Ears set too low or too close together. Outer edge of ear that points inward toward the tip. Disqualification: Ears not fully erect.

NECK

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.

FOREQUARTERS

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 or down in pastern.

BODY

The body is just slightly longer (measured from prosternum to point of buttocks) than tall (measured from the withers to the ground). 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.

HINDQUARTERS

The hindquarters are long and well muscled. The angulation of the stifle is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters. The hock joint is 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

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. Dewclaws are removed.
Disqualification: Double dewclaws.

TAIL
The tail is a natural extension of the topline. The tail is uncut, 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 dog's right side. When the dog is in action, the tail is carried higher 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 or plush coat on tail. Tail too short. Kink in tail.
Disqualifications: Tail continuously carried over the back. Tail absent or bobbed.

COAT

The Berger de Picard's shaggy, rough, double coat is a distinctive characteristic of the breed. The length of the coat is about 2 to 2 1/2 inches all over the body except for the head, where it is slightly shorter. 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.
Disqualifications: Body coat shorter than 1 1/2 inches. Soft or woolly coat. Curly coat. Flat coat.

COLOR

Color may be gray, gray-black, gray with black highlights, gray-blue, gray-red, light or dark fawn, 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 & WEIGHT

Desirable height at maturity for males is between 23 1/2 and 25 1/2 inches and, for females, between 21 1/2 and 23 1/2 inches.
Fault: Up to three-quarters of an inch above the maximum.
Disqualifications: Mature dog below the minimum height. Over three-quarters of an inch above the maximum height.

GAIT

The Berger de Picard moves freely, with long, easy steps. His structure permits the abrupt turns, springing starts and sudden stops required of a herding dog.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. More than four missing teeth. Overshot or undershot. Nose any color other than black. Wall eyes. Non-matching eyes. Ear not fully erect. Double dewclaws. Tail continuously carried over the back. Tail absent or bobbed. Body coat shorter than 1 1/2 inches. Soft or woolly coat. Curly coat. Flat coat. Pure black or white. Harlequin or pied. All white chest or feet. White on the coat anywhere other than chest or feet. Albinism. Mature dog below the minimum height. Over three-quarters of an inch above the maximum height.

* NOTE: This information has been contributed by, and is property of The United Kennel Club, Inc. and is gratefully used here with permission.

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