ccbot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
The Berger Picard, also known as the Picardy Shepherd due to its origination on the Picardy Plateau in Northern France, is one of the oldest and rarest French Sheepdogs. The dog was brought to France in the ninth century by the Celts, and showed at the first French dog show in 1863. While it is unknown what breeds the dog is related to, many speculate relation to the Beauceron, Briard, Dutch, Belgian and German Shepherd.

The fighting in Northern France during World War I and World War II devastated the farm country where the Berger Picard made its home. With the diligent efforts of breed enthusiasts, the breed was brought back from the brink of extinction. Today, there are approximately 5,000 Berger Picards worldwide with the majority, around 3,500, in France and only around 250 in the United States.

Known as the dog that smiles, the Berger Picard is a medium-sized dog known for its shaggy appearance, and whiskered eyebrows and muzzle. Their coat is weatherproof and colors range from fawn to gray with many variations in between. The ears of the dog stand erect and wide on the head and often are shaggy. Another characteristic of the breed is their long tail that forms a "J" at the bottom.

A herding breed at heart, the Berger Picard has maintained its herding instinct due to the fact it has not been over bred or a popular show dog. A very affectionate dog with its owners, the dog is usually is cautious of strangers. Although known to have a stubborn streak, the Berger Picard has a soft side and can take exception to being reprimanded. A well-trained Berger Picard makes a wonderful family pet and it is essential the dog receives early socialization and training.

The rustic appearance and whimsical nature of the Berger Picard was brought to light on the big screen in the 2005 movie, "Because of Winn-Dixie." Based on the book about a stray dog who befriends a girl at the grocery store, the movie sparked interest about the rare breed and the Berger Picard has gained popularity in North America ever since.

In the United States, the Berger Picard can be registered by the United Kennel Club (UKC) with full rights to all UKC sanctioned events. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has accepted the dog to its Foundation Stock Service (FSS) Program which is a record-keeping service for all purebred breeds not currently able to be registered with the American Kennel Club. With FSS registration, the Berger Picard can compete in some AKC events such as obedience and agility. The Berger Picard will have full recognition in the AKC in June 2015 and will be able to show in the Herding group, July 1, 2015. In Canada, the dog can be shown in the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and UKC. There also are various smaller organizations, such as the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) and the International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA) that accept Berger Picard participation at their events.