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THE BERGER PICARD IN THE HERDING GROUP by VALERIE BLACK
S ince entering the Herding group in July 2015, Picards have received attention, inter- est, and accolades from judges we well as onlookers. Their numbers continue to increase slowly in the US. The Berger Picard Club of America was formed to preserve and protect the breed as the French intended. It is important to know at least some of the history of this rustic breed in order to appreciate how they should be present- ed in the show ring. For centuries Picards were a utilitar- ian shepherd’s dog, an all around farm dog, with the duty of moving large flocks of sheep from place to place and patrolling the perimeter. Thought to be the oldest French herding breed, they were never a fancy, groomed dog, in fact in the late 1880’s several Picards were turned away from a dog show as they appeared too rustic! The club has fought to maintain that rustic, tousled appearance as well as the function of this wonderful breed. HALLMARKS OF THE BREED BUILD This is an athletically built dog of rustic appearance. This means dogs should be in good physical condition, naturally muscular, strong appearing, but slim, who look ready to work all day without tiring. GAIT The gait should be efficient, dem- onstrating effortless, fluid movement. These dogs must be sound and solid, built to work all day. They should be just slightly longer than tall, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump (10% longer at most) with smooth, effortless movement, each long stride covering maximum distance in an easy, smooth gait. They are shown on a loose lead with the head carried at or only slightly above the topline in movement. The head should not be held high when moving, as it alters the gait
hair of the muzzle. The length of the top skull and length of the muzzle should be equal. The Picard has a griffonage, including both the beard as well as nat- ural eyebrows, which should not be so thick as to obscure the eyes. Eyes are almond shaped, lined with dark pigment and a rich dark brown, with slightly lighter shades of hazel and medium brown acceptable—but never yellow. The naturally erect ears are a striking and important feature of the breed, ideally set at 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, giving the dog an alert, intel- ligent expression. Ears should only be
and interferes with stride length. There are still Picards being shown this way, and while it is flashy it is not correct, and should not be rewarded. With smaller ring sizes, it is encour- aged that the examiner move the dogs around the ring more than once to dem- onstrate this easy, lovely motion. HEAD Heads are strong, without being bulky, with parallel planes formed by the top skull and muzzle. Roman or down turned noses are not correct, which at times can be obscured by the
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hand stripped to remove the fringe obscuring the outline, never scissored or shaved. COAT The coat is a crisp, harsh outer coat that naturally falls in flames down the dog’s sides. Picard should be present- ed clean, but NOT fluffed and buffed, blown dry and sprayed, with not a hair out of place. They should NEVER be scissored or sculpted. Judges are strongly discouraged from rewarding dogs that are over groomed. A Picard may be brushed before entering the ring, but one shake and that bed head look should be back—just the way they are supposed to look! TAIL The tail is long, always reaching the hock and ending in a J-shaped hook. Tail carriage should be a natural exten- sion of the toppling and used as a rud- der when herding. When standing, the tail drops to the level of the hock, end- ing in a J-hook, as with the Briards. Tail carriage when moving should remain a natural extension of the topline, carried at about the same level with the J-hook end slightly higher or below. No por- tion of the tail should be carried over the back or touching the topline. If a tail is set high, with a flattened croup, not only tail carriage but rear movement and stride length will be affected, decreasing the dog’s ability to do its job efficiently. J-hook tails car- ried over the back, touching the back, too short to reach the hock, a saber or straight tail without a J, are all incorrect and should not be rewarded. The breed in this country has had an issue with incorrect tails—breed- ers should be aware of this and work at correcting it. When judges reward dogs with incorrect tails, it sends breeders as well as exhibitors the wrong message. TEMPERAMENT Temperament is also very important. The breed in general is described as “aloof with strangers”. As a rule, Picards are extremely bonded to their owner, or their “shepherd”. Adult Picards should exude a quiet confidence, an “I’ve got this” attitude. Most are not initially out- wardly friendly to strangers, but that does not mean they should be afraid. It should just mean the dog is sizing things up. They should be approached with the first contact under the chin, never over the head, and never directly looking into their eyes for too long, and with a calm manner. Most owners and exhibitors are aware of this and have worked very hard to socialize their dogs, but it is still
something to be aware of, especially with young dogs and novice exhibitors. Picards are extremely lovable, easy dogs to have around the house as long as owners train and, again, socialize them so that they are confident. Most breeders in the US work hard at this with baby puppies, which seems to have made a huge difference, but own- ers need to continue this during a young Picard’s life, They are somewhat stubborn with basic obedience and while they truly never forget what they learn, they may not care to repeat a task. Picards really do have a sense of humor and as long as their owners do as well, things will work out just fine! Some Picards have been successful with
obedience competition,rally and agility, as well as dock diving and barn hunt, but they truly excel at what they were bred to do—herding sheep. They are beauty in motion when that natural talent is brought out. More and more owners are taking the time to work with their dogs at herding sheep, competing and just for fun. Once again, I would like to stress, the Berger Picard Club of America, and I daresay most owners of this breed, do not want to lose what our dogs were bred to do, or bred to BE, which is a naturally rustic herding dog—even in the conformation show ring. We continue to implore those evalu- ating our breed to understand this an enjoy them as we do. S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2019 • 281
THE BERGER PICARD
1. Full Name? How many years in Berger Picards? Do you judge? Also tell us a little about yourself. What you do outside of dogs? 2. Who was your mentor? What did he/she teach you that you value most highly? 3. What is the biggest health concern facing the breed today, if any? 4. What’s more important to you, a win at an all-breed show or at a Specialty?
then depending on the size specialties. All breeds are fun but a BIS does not really tell you it is a good one in the breed. My favorite dog show memory is winning the 1988 Nation- al BOB with my Owner, breeder, handled Bernese Mountain Dog “Sparky”, a once in a lifetime dog! We encourage respected breeders to talk about the breed more in depth so please do feel free to do so. This is a very different breed, not at all what they look like, a very serious livestock guardian breed that really take the world very seri- ously, and need Marathon socialization as puppy. Not a dog for a first time dog owner. But great for a smart dog person who wants a devoted companion. “WE ENCOURAGE RESPECTED BREEDERS TO TALK ABOUT THE BREED MORE IN DEPTH SO PLEASE DO FEEL FREE TO DO SO.”
5. What’s your favorite dog show memory? 6. Anything else you would like to share?
DONNA BEADLE I’m a UKC Licensed Judge. I have 10 years in Picards. I do Public Relations and am a bodybuilder. Debbie Butt and Amanda Giles have been wonderful men- tors. They taught me what it takes to have a top show dog. The biggest health concern facing the breed today is PRA. We don’t have a test to know who is carrying it like other breeds. What’s more important to me, a win at an all-breed show or at a Specialty: both. They are different. I like a dog that can win at either. My favorite dog show memory is when only and her daughter Busy went Breed and Select at Westminster. We had another dog named Focus also take a Select. We encourage respected breeders to talk about the breed more in depth so please do feel free to do so. We are featuring Berger Picard for two reasons: 1) To Edu- cate 2) To showcase our breeders. DENISE DEAN I have five years in Berger Picards and I judge two groups. I’ve been a dog groomer for 50+ years with my own shop. I live up in the mountains of Arizona near Flagstaff. Outside of dogs, I enjoy fishing and hunting! Many years ago my main mentor was Lois Hillman, she was the president of the Collie Club of America, and taught me all about dog shows, breeding , etc. We test for hips, eyes, hearts but my biggest concern in not a health problem but temperament, this breed has a long way to go on that front but basically healthy. What’s more important to me, a win at an all-breed show or at a Specialty: the National is really the most important and
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INTERVIEWS ON THE BERGER PICARD
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? JC: Solid temperament, natural crisp coat (not scissored or clipped), efficient movement, correct tail carriage with J-hook. LR: Since this is a Herding dog, it must be sound so it can work all day. Good movement coming, going and on the side. Good condition, strong topline. Then it must have the rustic, shaggy look. Very natural and not overly groomed or trimmed. Large ears. MT: To me, the over-all correct shape is essential, length and strong headpiece, good expression for the breed and a natural presentation. The last two are very important to me—I could easily bypass an exhibit that is over groomed and brushed out, lacking the rough, natural appearance that makes the breed. To me, correct expression is essen- tial in all the breeds I judge, this is true for me with the Berger Picard. Without the correct eye shape, color and placement, the breed, to me, lacks the confident, pleasant expression. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? JC: From the very first weekend out, July 2015, overly groomed dogs were given high rewards. Overgrooming is mentioned in the standard and is to be severely penal- ized. I’ve seen a few unbalanced Picards in that their rears were over angulated and the front assembly rather straight (not balanced). I do hope this does not become a problem in this breed as it has in so many other breeds. LR: Not at this point. The only thing that concerns me is that people might tend to overly groom and trim to give them a more “finished” look. But that is not correct in the breed. MT: Having judged one of the breed’s Open Shows, I saw a variety of exhibits—my concerns include the lack of a correctly placed and carried tail ending in a J-hook, a near must for me. As mentioned previously, I really like a good, correctly shaped and colored eye—some have eyes that are a bit owlish, not something I think gives the correct expression for the breed. And, finally, the trend to over groom—I love the natural appearance—the breed carries it well. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? JC: The Berger Picard is an ancient breed, but new to the United States. The very first attempts at breeding in the late 1970s to early 80s were not successful due to lack of interest in the breed. It wasn’t until late in 2000 that the breed finally started to gain some popularity and gained momentum after the movie Because of Winn Dixi e was released in the movie theaters. The Berger Picard Club of America was founded in late 2006 and in 9 short years,
I live in Blackshear, GA. Blackshear is a small farming community 70 miles north- west of Jacksonville, FL. I brought home my first Irish Wolfhound 35 years ago at the age of 19. I have been exhibiting for 35 years, showing first in obedience, then conformation and have also enjoyed lure coursing with my hounds. I imported my first Berger Picard from France in 2009.
My first sweepstakes assignment was for the Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast Specialty in 1999. Currently I am licensed to judge Irish Wolfhounds and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I have judged the Berger Picard at Open Shows and plan on obtaining my license very soon. LINDA ROBEY I live in High Ridge, Missouri, which is about 25 miles outside of St. Louis. I travel with my husband in our motorhome. I also shoot skeet and some trap and golf when I get a chance. Dogs takes up much of my time. I’ve loved dogs all my life, so did my parents, so we have had dogs for as long as I can remember. I started showing in obe- dience in the mid-1970s, so around 38 years. I’ve been judging about 20 years. MERLE TAYLOR
I live in Central Illinois where we are surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans. Retiring after 38 years from teaching busi- ness in a public high school, I currently work part-time for a financial planner. I attended my first dog show when I was in college (1968); we showed our first Scot- tish Terrier in 1970—I was never going
back to another show—that worked well for me, didn’t it? I had great mentors, developed some wonderful friendships and developed a marvelous passion for the sport. I handled profes- sionally until Carolyn and I began judging in 2000.
1. Describe the breed in three words. JC: Comical, loyal and sensitive. LR: Rustic, medium sized, sturdy. MT: I like the words rustic, confident and natural.
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4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& " 13*- t
OfficialStandard for the BERGER PICA RD COURTESY THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB
General Appearance: The Berger Picard is an ancient breed developed by the farmers and sheep herders of the Picardy region of northern France. They are medium-sized, sturdily built & well-muscled without being bulky, slightly longer than tall, with distinctive erect natural ears, wiry coat of moderate length, and a tail reaching to the hock and ending in a J-hook. Movement is free and easy, effi- cient, and tireless to allow them to work all day on the farm and in the fields. They are lively and alert, observant, quietly confident, and can be aloof with strangers, but should not be timid or nervous. This is a rustic, working shepherd’s dog, without exaggeration or refinement. Size, Proportion, Substance: Size – Males 2 3 ½ to 2 5 ½ inches, females 2 1 ½ to 2 3 ½ inches at the highest point of the withers. Up to 1 inch above or below limits shall be faulted. Disqualification - males under 2 2 ½ or over 2 6 ½ inches, and females under 2 0 ½ or over 2 4 ½ inches. Proportion - Measured from the point of shoulder to point of rump, the Picard should be slightly longer than the height at the highest point of the withers. Bitches may be slightly longer than dogs. Body length should be about 1 0 percent more than height. The distance from the withers to the elbow equals the distance from the elbow to the ground. Substance - Bone should be sturdy and strong, and this framework is well- muscled without ever being bulky or ponderous. Must be sufficient to support work in the field all day, but not so massive as to interfere with free, efficient, light-footed movement. Head: Head - Strong, without being massive; rectangular overall and narrowing slightly from ears to the eyes, and again from eyes to nose when viewed from above. The cor- rect length of head, measured from occiput to nose, should be about the same length as the neck. Muzzle and topskull should be of equal length, and form parallel planes when viewed in profile, separated by a slight, sloping stop. Expression - Alert and observant, spirited, confident, pleas- ant. Eyes - Medium size, oval shaped and turned forward; neither round nor protruding. Eye color is medium to dark brown, but never lighter than hazel. Darker eye color is preferred. Eye rims are tight-fitting and fully pigmented. Disqualification - Yellow eyes. Ears - Moderately large (4 to 5 inches long), broad at the base, tapering to a slightly rounded tip, and set rather high on the skull. Always car- ried naturally erect, and turned forward. Viewed from the front, carriage should be perpendicular or turned slightly out from perpendicular, at the 1 1 & 1 o’clock position.
Coat on the ears should be short to moderate in length, not obscuring the shape of the ears. Ears tipped forward are to be severely faulted. Disqualification - Ears not carried erect or not standing. Skull - Width is slightly less than the length, and very slightly rounded. Coat on the top of the skull is naturally shorter and gradually becomes longer at sides of skull and on cheeks, which makes the skull appear to be flat when viewed from the front. Cheek muscles are moderately strong and slightly rounded. There is a slight furrow between the bony arches over the eyes. 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. Stop - Slight, gradual stop between the parallel planes of the muzzle and skull. Furrow between
brow ridges blends smoothly into upper plane of muzzle. Muzzle - Viewed from above, the muzzle tapers slightly from the stop to the nose, ending bluntly. It is pow- erful and never snipey. In profile, the bridge of the muzzle is straight, and paral- lel to the skull. Lips are thin and tight, with dark pigment. The hair on the muzzle forms a distinct moustache and beard, which is not overly long or bushy. Planes - Viewed from the side, the muzzle and skull are in parallel planes. Nose - Large, and always black. Bite & Teeth - A com-
plete set of evenly spaced, white teeth set in strong jaws, and meeting in a scissors bite. Three or more missing molars or premolars is a severe fault. Disqualification - Undershot or overshot bite with loss of contact between upper and lower incisors. Neck, Topline, Body: Neck - Strong and muscular, moder- ately long in length, blending smoothly into the shoulders and carried erect with a slight arch. Skin should fit cleanly without any dewlap. Topline - Strong; level to descending very slightly from the withers, over a well-developed loin, to a slightly sloping croup. Body - Chest deep but not exag- gerated, reaching to the level of the elbow but not beyond. Prominent prosternum blends smoothly into the sternum. The lowest point of the sternum is at the level of the elbow, and from that point, the sternum slopes gradually up towards the loin to give good depth and length to the ribcage. Ribs are well sprung from the spine for the upper one-third, then flattening as they approach the sternum, neither slab-sided nor barrel-shaped. Belly slightly tucked up. Loin strong but not overly long. Tail - Strong at the base and tapering to the tip, flowing smoothly from the slightly sloping croup. At rest, hangs straight and reaches to the point of the hock, ending in a slight crook or "J" at the tip without deviating toward the right or left. When
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OfficialStandard for the BERGER PICA RD CONTINUED
Color: Fawn or brindle. Fawn may be a clear or true fawn with no dark markings, or fawn charbonné (fawn with charcoal), which is fawn with dark trim on the outer edge of the ears and a grey underlay on the head and body. Grey underlay should not be so prominent that it "mud- dies" the overall fawn color. Brindle may be any shade of base color from almost black to light grey or fawn, with stripes or small patches of black, brown, red, grey, or fawn distributed throughout. All allowed colors should be con- sidered equally. A small white patch on the chest or tips of toes is allowed, but not ideal. Toes entirely white or a white patch anywhere on the body must be faulted. Disqualification - Solid black or white, pied, spotted, or harlequin;entirely white foot or white "bib" on chest.
moving, carried as a natural extension of the topline. May be carried higher than the level of the topline, but never curled over the back. Coat is the same length and texture as the coat on the body. Tail curled over the back is a severe fault. Disqualification - Tail absent, docked, or kinked. Forequarters: Shoulder blades are long and well laid back, covered by lean and strong muscle. The length of the upper arm balances the shoulder blade, placing the elbow well under and close in to the body. Forelegs are straight and strong, without being bulky. Viewed from the front, legs are parallel to each other with toes pointing straight forward. Pasterns slope slightly to a compact, rounded foot
with well arched toes and strong, black nails. Pads are strong and supple. Dewclaws may be removed or left on.
Gait: Movement is fluid and effortless, eas- ily covering a lot of ground with each smooth stride. Strong, supple, agile move- ment is essential for a working shepherd’s dog. Head carriage lowers to near the level of the topline when moving. Limbs move in parallel planes when gaiting slowly, converging slightly towards the centerline with increased speed. Temperament: Lively and alert, observant, confident, even-tempered. May be aloof
Hind quarters: Angulation of the thigh and stifle balance the front assembly, and are well muscled, providing powerful, tireless, and effortless movement. Rear pasterns are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. With a correctly angulated rear, the toes of the hind foot land just behind a perpendicular line dropped from the point of rump. Feet are rounded with well arched toes and strong black nails, as in front. There should be no dewclaws on the rear legs. Coat: Harsh and crisp to the touch, neither flat nor curly, often with a slight wave. Undercoat is soft, short, and dense. The shaggy, rough coat of the Picard is distinctive, and should never be wooly, soft, or so profuse that it hides the outline of the dog. Ideal length is 2 to 3 inches over the entire dog, with coat naturally somewhat shorter on the top of the head. The coat accents on the head and neck which give the Picard its distinct look, known as "griffon- age", include rough eyebrows, moderate beard and mous- tache, and a slight ruff on the front and sides of the neck, framing the head, all of moderate length. Coat length over 4 inches in any location should be penalized, with longer coats penalized more severely than those only slightly longer than ideal. Coat on the ears should never be so long as to obscure the outline, or create a fringed appearance. The Picard is shown in its rustic, rough, natural coat which is not to be sculpted, shaped, or scissored. Dogs whose coat has been altered by excessive grooming must be severely penalized.
with strangers, but should not be timid or nervous. Aggressive or threatening behavior towards people or other dogs is a serious fault. Faults: Any departure from the foregoing description should be considered a fault. Those faults that would inter- fere with the dog’s ability to function efficiently as a shep- herd, guardian, and farmer’s helper should be considered more serious than deviations that are cosmetic or would not alter the dog’s ability to work. Disqualifications: Males under 22 ½ inches or over 26 ½ inches, and females under 20 ½ inches or over 24 ½ inches. Yellow eyes. Undershot or overshot bite with loss of con- tact between upper and lower incisors. Ears not carried erect or not standing. Tail absent, docked, or kinked. Color solid black or white, pied, spotted, or harlequin; entirely white foot, or white “bib” on chest.
Approved December 13, 2011 Effective January 1, 2013
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IT’S SHOW TIME…
by DEANNA DONOHUE
B erger Picard history will be made July 1, 2015 when we enter the Herding Group. Th e socialization, classes, training and attending shows in preparation for this day has taken each and every Picard owner on an adventure. When choosing a show Berger Picard, it is important to find a breeder who understands what it take to breed, show and raise a dog that will succeed in the show ring. Meeting several breeders dogs, observing them at shows and visiting their homes can give you a better picture of how your prospective puppy will be raised. Berger Picard requires a lot of early social- ization so how they are raised before the pup comes to your home is very important. Once the pup comes home, socializa- tion should start immediately. Berger Picard pups should be introduced to as many new experiences as possible. We start with Puppy Love/Puppy Socialization and handling class. Take your puppy along to the shows with you, walk them around and let them get the Show experience and most importantly meet strangers. Teaching your Picard to be at ease around strangers is very important. Let them play show dog young. Th ey should get used to a crate as they are used often at the shows. Crate games make for an amazing foundation for the pup to get use to the time spent in the crate while at the shows. Feed the pup in the crate to provide a positive experience and do not keep them crated for long hours. Teach them to settle in a crate and have them see it as their safe haven as at shows, this will be one of the few places they can go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the show ring. Th e stand for exam is the hardest thing for a Berger Picard as they tend to like to do things on their own terms. Desensitizing them to being touched by a wide variety of stranger is needed and should be done on a regular basis. Some people start stacking the pup on a grooming table while others use the staking legs to have them gain con- fidence and then work their way down to
the floor once the pup has a solid base. Th e use of lots of treats and praise to reward good behavior is your best friend. Stacking and staying on a grooming table also gets them use to it for grooming. Make sure all grooming experiences on the table are positive and Berger Picards should never be left unattended on a table. Teach them to be tolerant of dryers and nail grind- ers slowly. Th ey tend to have a stubborn side so there is a real balance between being firm with them and shutting them down. When grooming your Picard for show several things should be kept in mind. Th e Berger Picard should appear rustic. Appearing rustic and being dirty are two di ff erent things. About three days prior to showing bathe your Picard with #1 All Systems® Crisp Coat Shampoo (a shampoo that helps keep the coat feeling crisp). Back blow your dog then brush. We also make sure the feet are neat and well maintained. Nails trimmed and pads of the feet are kept clean. Any old hair should be hand stripped and the ears should be tidy and not overly long. Th e day of the show, the dog should be brushed out. Th eir coats do not require product and should feel crisp to the touch. Normally, Berger Picards are pretty consistent gaiting. I haven’t seen them break stride often. Th ey should not be rushed around the ring but rather at a pace that shows o ff their free-flowing, ground- covering gait. Th e Picard is a very balanced moderate dog and that should be reflected in its gait so it is very important to judge the side gait and down and back. Th ey should be clean coming and going with nice reach and drive. Berger Picards are quick learners and do not like a lot of repetition so it is important to keep things interesting for them in the conformation ring so they don’t get bored. Play while they are not being examined is helpful to keep their minds engaged. Do short training sessions with them and vary the things you work on so they don’t become a pattern. Very few Picards are food motivated so other motivation tactics
such as toys and squeakers might need to be used to keep them engaged. Th e overall presentation should look similar to the above picture. Still rustic in appearance but, at the same time showing o ff your dog’s best features making sure that the judges will be impressed. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Deanna Donohue has Picard Club of America, her love for the breed began in a little Pub in London and soon become a full-time passion. Deanna and her husband, Rick have made several trips to Europe to hand pick their foundation Picards. Deanna and her family have bred and shown some of the top winning Picards in the US; even becoming the fi rst American Berger Picard owners to return to France to compete in the Elevage. Th eir top winning BIMBS RBIMBS UCA UWP UGRCH Alpha Natura Bacchus CA CM, Bacchus received all Excellents and his Cotation 3. Th e Donohue’s have enjoyed contributing to the bred and are very excited about the Berger Picards future. been involved with Berg- er Picards for over more than 15 years. As a Char- ter Member of what is now known as the Berger
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should not be fine boned, they should have some substance without being heavy, and should not be oversize in height. Th e US Standard calls for males to be 23 ½ to 25 ½ and females 21 ½ to 23 ½ at the high- est point of the withers with an allow- able deviation of 1 inch above and below standard as a fault. Anything above or below that is a disqualification. If there is question about height, a wicket should be used and the judge should take care to make wicketing the dog as non-intrusive as possible. Th e head of the Berger Picard should be strong and rectangular with the snout and topskull being parallel planes and a slightly sloping stop. Th e eye should be oval in shape and dark with yellow being a disqualification. Th e muzzle should have a moustache and there should be fringes above the eyes which are defining charac- teristics of the breed. As is a black, large nose. Th e scissor bite is preferred in the breed with undershot and overshot bites where there is a loss of contact between the upper and lower incisors is a disqualifica- tion. Th e dog should have a full bite with three or more missing molars or premolars being a serious fault. Th e Berger Picard is a rustic breed that should be shown in a natural state without over flu ffi ng or grooming. Judges will see varying coat lengths in the breed and as long as the coat is 2 to 3 inches and no more than 4 inches is acceptable. More than 4 inches is penalized and the longer the coat, the more of a penalty. Th e coat should not be soft or wooly but rather wiry and crisp to the touch. Th e Berger Picard comes in two colors Fawn (which can be a true Fawn with no black or a Fawn Charbonne which is Fawn with a charcoal under-layment) and Brindle. All acceptable colors should be judged evenly and deci- sion should never be made due to a pref- erence for one color over another. A small white patch is acceptable on the chest or toes but not preferred and a white patch anywhere else on the body is to be faulted. Disqualifications include solid black or white, harlequin, an entirely white foot or white bib on the chest. Margo Brady sums the appearance of the dog the best. “ Th e overall appearance is of a ‘scru ff y mutt’ and not a finely- groomed ‘show dog.’ Th e Berger Picard is a working herding dog and should look the part.” Th e proportion of the Berger Picard should be more rectangular with them being slightly longer than tall. Th e body
be examined. Instead, we would move on to judging the gait and then try to go over the dog after that. Aloofness in the breed is normal and accepted in France.” When approaching the dog for the exam, please approach from the front. I have had experiences with judges approach- ing from both the side and rear which can make a Berger Picard uneasy. Place your hand out so the dog has the ability to sni ff and then start the exam by bringing your hand under the dog’s chin versus over the head. Continue the exam thoroughly and
with soft hands. Sometimes, you might have a dog that squirms or leans away from you, be patient and make it as positive an experience as possible. With a new breed to AKC, there are often many new exhibitors that might not be as versed with the show ring but willing to learn. Helping them and providing a positive experience will give them the ability to continue to learn and exhibit their dog to its best. When going over the Berger Picard, keep in mind it is a medium-sized breed that is moderate in all ways. Th e dogs
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“...LIGHT-FOOTED, FREE FLOWING MOVER SO THE ANGULATION OF THE DOG IS IMPORTANT FOR APPROPRIATE LOCOMOTION.”
length should be about 10 percent more than the height with the distance from the withers to elbow equaling the distance from the elbow to the ground. Th e dog should have a strong, level topline with a slight descent from the withers and a slightly-sloping croup. One of the areas of improvement for the breed would be their topline. Every so often, you will find a weak back or topline that rises in the rear which is incorrect. Th e tail is set at the bottom of the slightly-sloping croup and is thicker at the base, and tapers to a “J” hook at the end, similar to the Briard. Th e carriage should be an extension of the topline with carriage higher than the level of the back being acceptable. Th e tail should not curl over the back although sometimes this could be caused by excite- ment versus bad carriage. At rest, the tail should fall down past the hock. Th e Berger Picard is to be a light-footed, free flowing mover so the angulation of the
dog is important for appropriate locomo- tion. As Margo Brady states, “Angulation is judged both front and rear with the dogs self-stacked. Th e angulation should be moderate and balanced with the scapulo- humoral angulation similar to that of the stifle (femoral-tibial). Straightness of legs is important however, the breed tends to be cow-hocked. Th ere are many specimens who are also turned out or “east-west” in their fronts. It was explained that the most important aspect about judging the Berger Picard is taking in the “whole dog” and not pulling out certain faults that seem fairly obvious while judging the dog standing. In fact, many of these dogs would “fix them- selves” when moving, in other words, their static conformation did not detrimentally a ff ect their dynamic conformation.” Th e smaller All-Breed rings do not do the Berger Picard’s movement justice given their fluid, ground-covering gait. In order to get the dog to move out, it might be
necessary to have the dog and handler take a couple laps around the ring. Th e dog should not be raced but rather move at a rather moderate pace to show o ff its movement. One must keep in mind that this breed was reconstructed from two individual dogs after World War II. Th is means that the entire breed is more than inbred and the gene pool is small. Of course, only the best individuals should be chosen for a breeding program and it is the job of the judge to help the breeders define what the breed will become in the US. Keeping this in mind, qualities always come first and faults should only be taken into consid- eration to the degree that they a ff ect the working ability of the dog. Margo Brady advises, “Judging the Berg- er Picard takes patience, time and soft hands. Given that, the rewards of judging this breed are beyond comparison as their scru ff y look and sweet gaze will win you over before you have a chance to pick the winner!”
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