~ Directory ~

Most people recognize that, based on their family history, they are likely to develop certain health problems.  They know that if their Mom or Dad had allergies or heart disease then they will have a higher chance of developing these problems, especial certain ones as they get older.   Dogs, like people, are also prone to certain conditions based on their family history.  Each breed of purebred dog is somewhat like a very large family and each breed tends to be prone to their own group of health issues.   The long standing practices of breeding to the BEST males (popular sires) and inbreeding have promoted intensifying the frequency of specific genes (and unfortunately the negative genes come with the good genes.)  Because of the way dogs have been bred and the fact that they live with us and have for THOUSANDS of years.  Dogs are now the focus of intense genetic research interest.  Researchers have discovered that they have the same genetic causes for their disease as we do.  We are devoted to promoting this research wherever possible for the health of our dogs and others .  In our breeding program we strive to maintain as much diversity as possible as well as focusing on breeding dogs that not only health tested but also from families who are healthy and long lived.  (Click on the links below for MORE information on health issues and health research.)

Cancer Research
In all dogs, Cancer is a grave concern.  Current studies estimate that 1 in every 3 dogs will develop cancer over the course of their life.  When a dog is 10 and over, 1 in 2 will have cancer as their cause of death.  It is not surprising that cancer occurs in Briards, especially in dogs that are 10 and over.   Since it is difficult to accurately keep records on the  life and death of dogs without a specific breed health database---it is difficult to say with certainty that Briards are especially prone to cancer, however, researchers know that each breed seems to be more prone to certain types of cancer than others.  In Briards Lymphoma, Hemangiosarcoma, Osteosarcoma definitely occur.  We are VERY fortunate that there are research groups now studying these diseases.  Please click on the link above to learn about this valuable research.

Bloat is a relative common condition that affects many breeds.  Briards are clearly prone to bloat and in my opinion this is the most serious health issue potentially affecting the breed.  Epidemiological done by Dr. Larry Glickman at Purdue University consistently show that a first degree relative with bloat is primary risk factor.  Genetic studies will hopefully be done one day and tallow breeders to better understand the inherited factors that may contribute. All Briard owners should educate themselves about bloat.  When bloat occurs it is a medical emergency.  

Hip Dysplasia/Elbow Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is not common in Briards nor is it uncommon.  Elbow dysplasia is not common but Briards have been affected with this condition.  This link provides links to as much information as you might like to have on hip dysplasia.  Soon we will provide a summary of some of this information.  In order to improve the hip health of the breed, breeding dogs should have a
hip health clearance to determine that they are free of hip dysplasia.  In the coming years with the advent of new genetic research--we will hopefully have better screening for dysplasia in the form of genetic markers since normal hips in the parents cannot rule out completely rule out the possibility for the offspring to develop dysplasia.

Eye Disorders
Although Briards have been identified with various eye disorders none of these appears to currently be a huge problem for the breed.  Many years ago--Briards in England were identified with cPRA (central PRA) which ultimately turned out to be caused by nutritional deficiencies.  The primary eye disease unique to Briards is a condition called Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB.)  A direct DNA test has been developed for this disease.  The disease gene was discovered by human researchers since this condition was similar to a rare eye disease found in humans.  Researchers have discovered that the condition in Briards and humans is caused by basically the same gene and Briards are now helping researchers to develop gene therapy in the hopes of creating a cure for this condition.  With a direct DNA test--no puppy with this condition need ever be produced again. 

Hypothroidism occurs in Briards as in many large breed dogs.  It is generally recommended that breeding dogs be tested for this condition.  This testing should be sent to an OFA approved laboratory.  This link above gives a clear description of some of the signs and symptoms of this condition and of the various tests available to screen.


Some Thought on Breeding
(for breeders and those who love a breed)

The Misuse of Health Testing

The Fable of Old Blue