Other names: Picardy Shepherd
The Picardy Shepherd is medium sized sheepdog with a long, shaggy coat. This ancient breed can be traced back to 800 AD, while the "modern" version was developed in France during the middle of the 19th Century. It's a close relative of the German shepherd, the Bearded Collie, and the Belgian shepherd, and shares many of the same personality traits. Like its cousins, the Picardy Shepherd is a highly intelligent animal, energetic, and very loyal. Although their numbers are growing, Picardy Shepherds are still rare. There are less than 4,000 registered in their home country.
Key facts about the Picardy Sheepdog
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Affectionate Playful Intelligent
Origins and history
Although it's hard to pinpoint its exact origins, references to long-haired herding dogs go back thousands and thousands of years. However, many experts suggest that cattle dogs originated in and around France during the 8th and 9th centuries. The modern-day Picardy Shepherd appeared in the mid 19th century and made its first appearance at a Parisian dog show in 1863. It was officially recognised as an independent breed during the 1920s. It was thought to be on the brink of extinction following World War II. Luckily, its numbers have been growing steadily since the late 1940s, although it is still a rare breed. It's estimated that there are less than 50 registered in the UK.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Picardy Sheepdog
Female : Between 22 and 24 in
Male : Between 24 and 26 in
Female : Between 44 and 66 lb
Male : Between 44 and 66 lb
Fawn. Brindle. Light or dark grey.
Type of coat
Short undercoat. Long wiry topcoat.
Double coated. Long, Can look a bit “scruffy.”
Dark brown or a light hazel colour.
The first thing you'll notice about these dogs is their long, shaggy coats. Although it can look "scruffy," it also gives them a friendly and endearing appearance. They have large, high set ears that permanently stand to attention, and a relatively long muzzle for a medium-sized dog. They don't look very athletic, but beneath all that fur there is a lean and muscular dog. It's lively expression reflects its overall personality.
Good to know
Picardy Shepherds are very rare. Any potential owners will have to contact a specialist breeder. You may have to wait a few months before finding a puppy. And they can be very expensive, especially from top breeders.
They do have a “naughty” side. Even a well-trained Picardy Shepherd will retain some of it's mischievous nature. This can be entertaining and will certainly keep you on your toes. However, it can lead to bad behaviour if you let them get away with too much.
It's important to note that the Picardy Shepherd is a working dog that hasn't been as domesticated as much as some other herding breeds. Keeping them as just a "pet" is not ideal. Their natural work ethic needs to be satisfied. This means you'll need to keep them entertained with interesting games and activities. Alternatively, you can enter them into obedience and herding competitions.
Although they like a bit of fuss, the Picardy Shepherd is an active and independent breed who would rather play than snuggle. However, once they’ve tired themselves out, these guys know how to chill and will become more receptive to some affection.
Loyal working dogs love nothing more than pleasing their pack leaders. This makes them alert, enthusiastic dogs that love to play. In fact, stimulating games and activities are vital for their long term health; it satisfies both their physical and mental needs.
The puppies can be a bit hyperactive; socialisation is really important during their first few years. As adult dogs, they remain fairly energetic, especially when it comes to playtime and "walkies." But these dogs do know when to”switch off." They become surprisingly docile once properly exercised.
These dogs are very smart. They’re right up with the smartest breeds, meaning they need the right kind of training and stimulation to be mentally satisfied. Walks and games need to be interesting and challenging.
The Picardy Shepherd is more of a herding dog than a hunting dog. That being said, they still have a fairly high prey drive.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Picardy Shepherd is a social dog but they can be wary and suspicious of new people.
The Picardy Shepherd is a confident and independent animal.
Behaviour of the Picardy Sheepdog
Picardy Shepherds should never be left alone for long periods of time. Dogs need companionship, but these highly socials need it more than most. They form incredibly strong bonds with their owners, a trait developed after spending thousands of years working alongside their human masters.
Easy to train / obedience
These dogs will provide a bit of a challenge to the inexperienced dog owner. However, with the right training methods, and plenty of patience, they can learn how to handle these interesting and lively characters. Expert dog handles will find these animals a joy to train. Picardy Shepherds regularly perform in obedience training competitions and are capable of doing some pretty amazing things.
As puppies, Picardy Shepherds can be a bit yappy. However, as they get older and calmer, they become much less vocal.They will rarely start barking for no reason.
Tendency to run away
As long as they're getting the exercise they need, these dogs won't run away. A well exercised Picardy Shepherd is a calm, relaxed animal. But if their physical needs aren't being met, they'll soon find other ways to satisfy them, such as running off on their own adventures.