|Beauceron with dog cart|
From France we have the Beauceron, The Berger Picard (or Picardy Shepherd,) and the Briard.
The Beauceron is starting to be seen more often in North America, where it is also often seen with its ears either cropped, or ears trained to stand up.
This is another breed of dog that is valued for being intelligent, trainable, with a natural inclination to protect the human and animals members of its flock. In North America it is the protective nature of the dog that is being called on as people search for a dog with a stable temperament and good health to watch over their family.
|A working Beauceron|
They have a rather unique feature that helps them stand out from other breeds - a double dew claw.
|Double dew claw of the Beauceron|
|Berger Picard or Picardy Shepherds|
|Berger Picard or Picardy Shepherd|
The Berger Picard is a longer haired shepherd, although compared to a Briard the Berger is closer, at least in my opinion, to a medium haired breed.
Those of you who watch movies with animals and children in them, may have seen the film Because of Winn-Dixie, which starred a group of Picardy Shepherds playing the lead dog role, Winn-Dixie.
As usually happens in a Hollywood movie, multiple dogs are trained to perform different tricks to give the audience the illusion of one very versatile dog.
|A group of Berger Picard|
|Berger Picard working|
The longest haired of the French shepherds, the Briard, is perhaps the best known of the Continental French shepherds outside France. Like Brie cheese, the dog takes its name from the region of France it originates in.
|Briard, cropped ears|
There are two silhouettes that can be associated with the Briard, the more traditional in North America seems to be that where the ears can be seen standing independently...the result unfortunately of ear cropping.
|Briard, fold (natural) ears|
|Briard with natural ears|
|Briard with cropped ears|
And take the nay sayers waring with a grain of salt - some people do successfully use Briards in competitions.
Knowing the individual dog's personality and what works with the individual is key in any obedience training.
All three types of French shepherds make good family dogs, although as always with intelligent dogs that are used to working -- they are better suited to people with some experience handling and training dogs.
|A working Briard|