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
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
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 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
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
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.