Berger Picard history will be made July 1, 2015 as the Berger Picard officially enters the American Kennel Club Herding Group.
The story of the Berger Picard began with the second Celtic invasion of Northern France around 400 BC; the modern breed is believed to be descended from dogs brought to the region by the invaders. The Picard is believed to be one of the oldest of the French Sheepdogs and images of dogs resembling the breed have been found in tapestries, engravings, woodcuts and paintings for centuries. Originating in the Picardie region of France, the Picard is believed by some to be related to the Briard and Beauceron, while others insist that they are the “Lost Shepherd” and may share common origin with the Belgian and Dutch Shepherds.
The Berger Picard, like many of the Continental herding breeds, is a perimeter tending dog, used on large flocks of sheep and cattle.
The first documented appearance of the Berger Picard in exhibition was at the French Dog Show in 1863 where they were judged in the same classes as the Briard and Beauceron. The rustic appearance of the breed was not considered stylish or fashionable and for that reason they were initially not very popular as a show dog. They were not fully recognized by the Societie Central Canine (French Kennel Club) until 1925.
The two World Wars were devastating to many European breeds and the Picard was no exception; havoc wreaked on war-torn Europe brought the breed to near-extinction. After World War II, fanciers began scouring the countryside looking for any remaining specimens. In 1950, Radjah de la Bohme was bred to Wax de la Bohme and the rebuilding began. They and their offspring are the foundation of our modern breed. The French breed club, Les Amis du Berger Picard was established in the late 1950′s. Since that time, clubs and fanciers throughout Europe have worked to resurrect the Picard and bring it to it’s current form.
The Berger Picard found its way to the United States in the 1970’s. The fanciers in the US were geographically spread throughout the country and this rare breed failed to gain significant interest from fanciers until the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in January 1994. From there, the progress accellerated. The breed was accepted for recording in the AKC Foundation Stock Service in 2007 and moved into the Miscellaneous Class in January 1, 2013. Full recognition has been granted by the American Kennel Club Board of Directors for July 1, 2015.