The Picard originates from the Picardie region in northeastern France. It is an elegant, well-muscled dog with a rough coat. In the region they originate from they were generally used on farms to guard and to herd cattle. In 1925 the French shepherd association recognized the breed.
The breed has been used as a working dog and the FCI still groups it among the working-dog breeds. In France they are still used as a working sheep-herding dog. Even in France the Picard is a rare dog. Around the world there are currently about 3500 Picard dogs.
Because it is a guard dog it needs a clear and consistent upbringing (like any dog really). A well-raised Picard is a very friendly and temperamental dog who would literally do anything for her owner and the people around her.
They are very devoted to the family and the people they know. They are not typical dogs who would attach to one person only. A self-confident Picard will not accept anyone to come too close to the people they know.
Nouba de la Mare aux Chouans They won't run along with just anyone and towards strangers they can be very reserved and distrustful. Therefore it is essential to socialize the dog as well as possible. Make sure they get familiar with every possible situation from a very young age so that they can grow up to be confident dogs.
Picards are always on the lookout for mischief.
They enjoy life, are dogs with a sense of humor and this is required of the owner as well. They need to be raised disciplined, but allow them their moment of joy. When it comes to the Picard - discipline is good, but with too much discipline you take away its joy of life.
If there is a description of the character of a Picard you could say that it is known to be a 'reserved' dog. This does not imply it is a scared or aggressive dog. A typical Picard will initially hold back when confronted with the unknown. Subsequently, they will become curious and will cautiously approach the unknown situation. In which case they will remain very alert to be able to run away as soon as something unexpected happens.
The dog can also be very stubborn. This will require some resourcefulness from the owner from time to time. They are very inquisitive and intelligent. When they get sufficient exercise (sports, walking, running alongside a bike), the Picard is an easy going family dog. Generally they are dogs that enjoy life and show initiative. They will be the first to try to get out of a situation they don't feel like.
They are very sensitive, especially with regards to their owners. They sense the mood of the owner and the others around them very well.
It is a dog with a lot of energy and therefore they need a lot of exercise. It is definitely not a dog which will settle for a walk around the block. They are suitable for multiple purposes. To maintain their working qualities, in Holland for example, it is possible to get the dog into all kinds of different courses, training, sports and games like GGI, II, III (obedience), rescuedogtraining, trackingdog, cattle herding, KPV, IPO, agility courses and fly ball.
The fur of the Picard does not need to be trimmed like with many other harsh coated dogs. It's just the ears that need to be trimmed occasionally. If possible, only brush their coat during the shedding season.
The height of a male Picard is about 60-65 cm and that of a bitch 55-60 cm. The coat colors of the Picard include everything from fauve (red-blonde) to dark fawn.