The Picardy Shepherd
As it's name suggests, this breed origins from the Picardie region (North France). They served as guarddogs and cattledogs on farms. Although the Picardy shepherd is an old breed, their first recognition by the French Shepherddog Club as a breed came in 1925. During the Second World War (WWII) the number of Picards was decimated a lot. After the War the breed was re-established with the individuals found at local farms. In 1953 the first Picards were registered in the French dogs studbook.
Still a working breed
The Picardy shepherd belongs to group 1 (sheep- and cattledogs) according the FCI. Because of that, they have bin and still are a working breed. They are suppost to be intelligent, inquisitive, alert, be able to take initiative, adapt easily and they really have character.
The Picardy shepherd cannot only be used as cattle- or guarddog. Nowadays, several Picards train as scentdogs, rescue dogs and in IPO I, II, III. It is also possible to sport with a Picard (e.g. flyball and agility).
Not an everybody's friend
For it's own family and for friends of the family Picards are very tolerant and friendly. Towards strangers they can be aloof. However, they are never fearful or anxious. A Picard who keeps distance at first and then explores the situation is desired.
The decision to add a Picardy shepherd to your family should not be made overnight. Although they look so nice and nonchalant, the character should define if a Picardy shepherd fits well to the family.
The Picardy shepherd as a family dog
With enough exercising the Picardy shepherd is a quiet dog inside the house and with the right education it is a very valuable family member. It is still a guarddog too, which can result in barking to anyone entering the house.
Among Picards we find all different kind of characters. Some are very brave and open, others are more reserved. Some general traits of the characters of Picards are: they take initiatives, they decide if tasks asked are really useful to fulfill, they are vivid and have lots of joy in their life (except when strict obedience is asked, that doesn't do any good to the joy in their lives). They are also very sensitive and can feel something is a game or not.
Being an owner of a Picardy shepherd, you need to be able to appreciate their character: self-willed and a bit stubborn, but also sensitive. When the character is well studied and taken into account, a Picard is a companion for live. A well heard phrase is 'Once a Picard, always a Picard'.
The Picard is a shaggy looking rough coated shepherdog with a height of withers of 55-60 cm (females) and 60-65 cm (males). The coat does not need to be trimmed. Only the long hairs on the ears need to be plucked by hand (not with scissors!) now and then.
Typical traits of the Picard are::
- the ears are placed relatively high on the head, causing them to look like big bat ears on puppies. When walking a puppy an often heard phrase is 'look at those ears!'.
- the more or less floating movements when trotting (like wolves)
These two traits distinguishes the Picardy shepherd from other shepherddog breeds like the wirehaired Dutch Shepherd and the Laekenois.
As many other wirehaired breeds the Picard has eyebrows, a beard and a mustache. This garniture should not be abundant and the eyebrows should never block the view.
It comes in different colors: fauve (red), fauve charbonné (red with black markings), fauve bringee (streamed red), fauve bringee de marron (streamed maroon red), fauve clair (reddish), salbe (sand colored) and grise (grey). The color of the eyes should fit to the color of the fur, but they should never be lichter than the color of hazelnuts.
The Picard is quiet easy when it comes to grooming. Once a week combing them with a wide toothed combe is enough. During the shed period they can lose more hairs, but combing them more often is not desired. Some coats tend to tangle more than others. If that happens the tangles can be removed. The coat protects the dogs against lots of weather conditions. They even prefer cold above heat.
Washing your Picard is not needed, unless they cannot clean themselves. Always use dog shampoo. Please do not make the mistake to wash your Picard shortly before a show. Washing makes the coat feel softer, which is a default during the show. Preferably do not wash the Picard less than one week before the show, but one month is even better.
Source: www.phcn.club (free translation)
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