What Dog Breed is Winn-Dixie

Winn-Dixie is portrayed in the book and film ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ as a big, uglily suffering hound with a great sense of humour. 

When casting for Winn-Dixie, the Berger Picard breed was chosen to ensure visual consistency while also preserving the distinctive looks fans have come to anticipate from the character.

A Little Context of the Movie

The 2005 film “Because of Winn-Dixie,” whose protagonist is named “Winn-Dixie,” was adapted from Kate DiCamillo’s 2001 Newberry Honor novel of the same name. Because of the breed’s distinctive, out-of-the-ordinary, and untidy appearance in the movie, the Berger Picard was selected for the part of Winn-Dixie.

The movie revolves around a ten-year-old girl named Opal, who finds a dog in the grocery store. The dog, whom she named Winn-Dixie, becomes Opal’s best friend, helping her make friends, forgive, and grow.

Introduction to Berger Picards

Invigorated by exercise and human companionship, the Berger Picard is a friendly and active dog. These dogs have won many’s hearts and become the most desirable pets for many households because they make such wonderful companions for energetic people.

History and Origin of Berger Picards

Possibly reaching back to the 9th century, the Berger Picard is one of the world’s oldest herding dogs. The Picardy region of France is the birthplace of this breed, which is closely related to other French herding dogs like the Briard and the Beauceron. The name of the Berger Picards originated from the french word “Berger,” meaning “Shepherd.” 

Even though the indigenous sheepdog, the Berger Picard, was beloved by French farmers, it nearly became extinct during both World Wars. The French only recognized the breed in 1925. Even in its native France, the Berger Picard is still uncommon despite its recent resurgence and widespread appreciation for its leading role in the film “Because of Winn Dixie.”

Yet it was in 2005 that the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Berger Picard. While the breed has had trouble gaining popularity in the United States, internet connections with European breeders and film credits have helped to raise the breed’s profile. 

Picards has appeared in several previous films before “Because of Winn-Dixie,” including “Daniel and the Superdogs” (2004) and “Are We Done Yet?” (2007).

Get to know your Berger Picard better with this amazing video!

Descriptions of Berger Picard

Breed Group

The American Kennel Club classifies the Berger Picard as a part of the herding group for its devotion and pleasant demeanor. 

Height, Weight, and Lifespan

Male dogs achieve a height of 23.5 to 25.5 inches, while female dogs are slightly shorter at 21.5 to 23.5 inches. In addition, Picards are about 50–70 pounds, and their lifespan is between 12 and 13 years.

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The Berger Picard is a sturdy breed that is neither too thin nor too stocky. The dogs in this breed are brilliant and self-assured, moving with excellent efficiency and looking around with an alert, confident, and energetic eye.

Berger Picards are large, powerful dogs with broad, muscular chests and wide, deep loins. They also have broad, muscular shoulders and thighs. Their tails are thicker near the base and thin off towards the tip; when relaxed, they hang straight down to the hock and curve in a tiny “J” or crook, never sagging to the right or left. 

Ears of Picards

The ears of these dogs are placed high, are broad at the base, and taper to a slightly rounded tip. Their medium-sized, oval eyes range from medium brown to dark brown, and they always look alert, observant, and confident.

Coat and Coloring of Berger Picard

The breed’s distinctive appearance is primarily due to the griffonage—a characteristic look characterized by long hair on the head and neck that forms rough eyebrows, a modest beard and mustache, and a little ruff on the front and sides of the neck.

Fawn and brindle are the two known colors for the Berger Picard. In addition, there are two types of fawn dogs: those with no black markings, known as “clear fawns,” and those with “fawn charbonné.” Typically, a brindle dog will have a black, brown, red, grey, or fawn base color with black, brown, red, grey, or fawn stripes. 

The exterior coat of a Berger Picard is harsh and crisp, while the short, dense undercoat makes for a comfortable, cozy feel. Hairs on its outer coat are usually between two and three inches long and slightly waved all over its body. Thus, to properly represent the Berger Picard, their coats should never be sculpted, reshaped, or cut in any way.

The Temperament of Berger Picard

There are several fundamental characteristics shared by many Picards, even though the breed is not a reliable indicator of temperament. 


Berger Picards are best suited to active families because of their herding background. These canines are also quite sensitive and need supervision for a short period. 

This dog breed has a reputation for being headstrong and unyielding. They have a lot of energy and are pretty active. Due to this combination, prospective Picard owners should be well-equipped to handle the needs of their new puppy.


Since they are quite active, they need to start early with socialization. Although the breed may be reticent with strangers, that doesn’t mean they’re scared of people. Because of their intelligence, Picards respond well to training techniques that feature positive reinforcement. 

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Observants and Loyal

Berger Picards are astute observers who also happen to be courteous and mild-mannered. In addition to being loyal and faithful friends, Berger Picards are well-known for their independence and determination when solving problems. 

Care of Berger Picard 

Nutrition of Berger Picard

Berger Picards, like all dogs, are susceptible to obesity if given free rein over their food intake. You must help these pups maintain a healthy weight by weighing out their meals and reducing the goodies they get to no more than 10 percent of their daily calories.

Grooming of Berger Picards

There isn’t much maintenance involved in maintaining a Berger Picard double coat because it is waterproof. It would be best to brush your dog once a week to remove dead hair and several times a week in the spring and fall when these dogs blow their coats to decrease shedding. 

You must also clean their ears and trim their nails regularly. Brushing your Berger Picard’s teeth twice a day and taking them to the dentist twice a year will help keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Exercise and Training of Berger Picards

To maintain their high energy level, Berger Picards need regular physical activity. These dogs benefit significantly from vigorous exercises, such as walks, hikes, swims, and games of fetch. Competitive obedience, agility, tracking, flyball, rallying, and herding are just some dog sports in which Berger Picards participate. Yet it would help if you also took care of their mental health.

You can give Berger Picards some puzzle toys to stimulate their minds. Since Berger Picards are bright, they can pick up new information quickly, but they may also be defiant if told what to do. This sensitive breed may shut down in response to harsh corrections and punishments. Therefore, you must encourage the training focused on prizes and positive reinforcement, which will appeal to their eagerness to please.

Final Thoughts

To say that Berger Picards are man’s best friend is an understatement. Although they tend to be a little naughty initially, that’s part of their endearing personality. The species is highly recommended if you want a family dog and a guardian for your minor children. 

However, one of the most important things to consider is whether or not you have the time to provide them with the recommended amount of physical activity each day. In other words, Berger Picards are an excellent breed of dog for those with the time and energy to devote to it.

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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.