Showsight - November 2017


important feature of the breed, ideally set at 11 o’clock and one o’clock. Ears should never be scissored or shaved, only hand stripped. Head carriage is high when standing but drops to near the level of the topline in motion. Picard should never be shown with the head held high over the back as it interferes with movement. COAT The coat is a crisp, harsh outer coat that naturally falls in flames down the dog’s sides. Picards are not to be shown over-groomed, blownout so that not a hair is out of place and never scis- sored or sculpted. Judges are strongly discouraged from rewarding dogs that are over-groomed. TAIL The tail is long, reaching the hock and ending in a J-shaped hook. Tail carriage, as with every herding breed, should be a natural extension of the topline and used as a rudder when herding. When standing, the tail drops to the level of the hock, ending in a J-hook, as with the Briards. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried as a natural extension of the topline. The J-hook at the end can be higher than the

topline when moving, but never carried over the back or touching the back. If a tail is set high, with a flattened croup, not only tail carriage but rear move- ment and stride length will be affected, decreasing the dog’s ability to do its job efficiently. J-hook tails carried 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—breeders should be aware of this and work at correcting it. When dogs are rewarded 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”. Most are not initially outwardly friendly to strangers, but this 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, never directly looking into their eyes for too long and with a calm manner. Most owners are

aware of this and have worked very hard with socializing their dogs, but it is still something to be aware of. Picards are very lovable, easy dogs to have around the house as long as owners train and, again, socialize them so that they are confident. They are somewhat stubborn with basic obedi- ence and while they never forget what they learn, they may not care to repeat a task. Picards truly 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 basic obedience competition, rally and agility, as well as dock diving, 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. I have to say it again, the Berger Picard Club of America and I daresay most owners of our breed do not want to lose what our dogs were bred to do, or the way they were bred to be, which is a naturally rustic herding dog—even in the show ring. We implore those eval- uating our breed to understand this and enjoy them as we do.


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