Rare-breed dog from Davis fails to place at Westminster but has tail-waggin’ time

She didn’t bring home the big prize, but a happy dog from Davis had a good time in the Big Apple.

Six-year-old Meggie, whose formal name is CH Allstars Ellen Barken, is a Berger Picard (pronounced bare-ZHAY pee-CARR). The pooch is part of a French breed nearly wiped out by the two world wars.

When she and 18 other Picards competed in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City, it was the first time that the ancient breed developed by sheep herders of the Picardy region of northern France had ever been shown at the top dog show, which was held Monday and Tuesday.

Best in Show at Westminster was a German shorthaired pointer named CJ.

Meggie didn’t place, but her owner, Jackie Lundy, said she looked great and did a wonderful job showing.

“She was the only dog in the group who wagged her tail the whole time, so obviously she was enjoying herself,” Lundy said. “There were some very nice dogs who were showing, and the competition was tough with 18 other Picards who had also finished their championships. Meggie didn’t place, but we all had a great time.”

The Berger Picard, also called the Picardy shepherd, is one of the oldest French herding dogs. The medium-size dogs with wiry coats are alert, tireless workers.

The breed was nearly wiped out by the violence and disruption of World War I and World War II, according to the Berger Picard Club of America.

After the wars, interested dog owners worked to re-establish the breed.

The breed was featured in the 2005 movie “Because of Winn-Dixie.” Needing a dog that resembled a mixed breed, but requiring several interchangeable canine actors on the set, they settled on the slightly shaggy Picard for the movie. Meggie’s great-grandfather was one of the dogs used in the movie.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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