The Briard is a large, stocky and rugged dog, with a long, flowing coat which needs daily attention. His job was to guard and herd sheep and in modern times makes an excellent guard dog. He is fearless without being aggressive and would enjoy the rough and tumble of family life. However he does need training and a firm hand as he doesn’t know his own strength. He needs to live in a large house with a large garden with easy access to the open country side. He should have at least two hours exercise every day.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.1% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPSTBC
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
The Briard’s body structure is well balanced but his excessive hair could cause him problems if not very carefully and regularly groomed and cared for.
- Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability) breed mean score 13.7 (parents should be lower)
- Eye disease: Retinal Pigment Epithelial Dystrophy (RPED) (annual testing) (gradual loss of sight) (apparently has been eradicated from the breed in recent years!)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Breed club insists that all dogs used for breeding should be either proven hereditarily clear of CSNB or have a DNA test before breeding. Identified carriers may be used only to clear mates. Offspring must also be DNA tested.
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
Skin tumours – non malignant.
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: