Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Briard puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Briards, the best dog food diet for feeding Briard puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Briard dog breed

Briard Health Problems and Raising a Briard Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Briards:

Cancer (especially lymphosarcoma) is the number one killer of Briards.

With their deep chest, Briards are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

The most common orthopedic disease is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 1800 Briards and found 15% dysplastic. That's high, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. Another orthopedic disease to watch for in Briards is panosteitis.

On a positive note, of 297 elbow X-rays, Briards had a less than 1% rate of elbow dysplasia.

Eye diseases are not that common in Briards, but do include cataracts, and also congenital stationary night blindness, where an affected dog can't see at night and may or may not be able to see during the daytime. This disease is present in early puppyhood. A simple DNA test can tell you whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

The serious eye disease PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) is occasionally reported in Briards, and also a specific form of PRA called central progressive retinal atrophy (cPRA). cPRA is extremely common in Great Britain, with over 80% of British Briards either affected or carriers. So if your Briard's pedigree includes British ancestry, this eye disease should be kept in mind. Age of onset varies from 18 months to middle age.

Allergies cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). Ear infections are more common in dogs with a lot of hair in their ear canals.

Other health issues in Briards include hypothyroidism, epilepsy, blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's), autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and hernias.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Briard?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Briards today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Briard puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Briard puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Briard puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Briard lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Briard
The best diet for feeding your Briard is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Briard. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Briard
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Briard. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Briard puppy really need? Does your adult Briard need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Briard. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Briard. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Briard.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.