Winn-Dixie is the name of the title character in the 2005 film "Because of Winn-Dixie," which was based on the 2001 Newberry Honor book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. The Winn-Dixie dog in the film is a berger Picard, a rare breed that was chosen for an unusual rustic and tousled appearance.
"Because of Winn-Dixie" dog
"Because of Winn-Dixie" tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Opal and the dog she finds in the grocery store. She named the dog Winn-Dixie, and with her new companion, Opal meets new friends and learns about life and forgiveness.
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In the book, Winn-Dixie is described as a "big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor." However, when filming the movie, multiple dogs played the part of Winn-Dixie. To ensure that the dogs looked alike while still maintaining the unusual appearance expected for Winn-Dixie, the berger Picard breed was selected to play the part of Winn-Dixie.
Berger Picard description
The berger Picard is a loyal and good-natured dog and a member of the American Kennel Club's herding group. Male dogs grow 23.5 to 25.5 inches tall, and female dogs are slightly shorter, reaching only 21.5 to 23.5 inches in height. Picards weigh 50 to 70 pounds. They have a fairly long life expectancy of 12 to 13 years.
The dogs have a lanky build and a long, J-shaped tail. They have a shaggy coat that is rough to the touch and brindle or fawn in color. The fur is typically 2 to 3 inches long, and the dogs also have a soft undercoat. Their defining feature is their large, pointed ears. The Picard's ears are 4 to 5 inches large, and they stand erect on the dog's head.
The medium-length coat requires only monthly grooming except while he is shedding, when he may need more frequent brushing. Picards are a generally healthy breed. The recommended health testing includes an ophthalmologist exam and a hip evaluation.
Berger Picard temperament
Although breed is not a reliable indicator of temperament, there are some traits common to many Picards. The breed is known to be stubborn and independent. They are also athletic and high-energy dogs. This combination means that anyone wanting to bring a Picard into the home needs to be prepared to provide proper care for the pup.
This means plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation. They should be socialized early. Picards are smart and eager to please, so always use positive reinforcement training methods when working with Picards. Consider participating in canine sports, such as agility, flyball, or herding competitions. These activities will not only help burn off excess energy but will also keep the dog's mind engaged so she can enjoy a happy life.
Other berger Picard facts
Picards originate from the Picardy area of France, which is located between Paris and Normandy. "Berger" is the French word for "shepherd." The breed was not officially recognized in France until 1925 and was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 2007.
The breed has struggled to gain popularity in the United States, but the use of the internet to connect with European breeders along with the breed's movie credits have helped to make the breed more well known. In addition to "Because of Winn-Dixie," Picards have held roles in other films, including the 2004 film "Daniel and the Superdogs" and the 2007 film "Are We Done Yet?"