By Shirley Hitchman
The word to describe living with a Picardy Sheepdog is ‘intense’. Picards require extensive positive socialisation. The bond formed between owners and these dogs is of great intensity; it’s more like they imprint on you. They have the potential to be your one-in-a-million dog and no dog could ever love you more. Devoted, protective and loyal, they stick to you like glue, never happier than when with their owner or family. They are good with children and with other family pets, provided they are introduced correctly.
Often described as a well-worn teddy bear or a GSD in a Muppet suit, his rugged, rustic good looks act like people magnets. They are just too cute for their own good! Known for being aloof and wary of strangers, people should respect their space. Any behavioural issues in Picards are usually fear- or conflict-based. This is because, being bred originally to work alone or with one person in an open area, they can suffer from sensory overload. They still retain a strong sense of work. They have a high prey drive.
They are described as independent, stubborn, and strong-willed – but I disagree. They are intelligent, playful, good at problem solving and make appropriate connections, so they don’t do repetition; they only do something if there is a point. They respond to positive reward-based methods and can reach high standards of obedience.
They need to be handled firmly, but with kindness. Rule with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Dogs tend to be easier than bitches, being more laid-back and outgoing, while bitches are better at protective work, which probably stems from being ready to protect their litter.
A medium built dog under that hair, they do not eat a lot, but do need a high quality natural diet because they are prone to sensitive stomachs when fed on poor quality food.
A hardy, healthy breed in general. The rustic coat requires little attention – just a weekly brush through.
So, although this is a dynamic dog, he will be content to spend longish periods doing nothing – all he asks is for your company.
Do you deserve a dog like this?