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Health Concerns

Learn more about genetic health concerns that may plague the Beauceron breed.

Excellent hips OFA

Hips

Hip Dysplasia, abnormal development of the hip joint, can be found in any breed. It can cause lameness and pain in severe cases or produce no noticeable symptoms in minor cases. HD does not have a simple pattern of inheritance (it is a polygenic condition meaning it is controlled by several different genes) and whether an animal will develop HD is also influenced by external factors such as diet and exercise.

Results accepted for breeding:

Excellent - Good - Fair - PennHip Passing Score


Dysplastic results include:

Borderline - Mild - Moderate - Severe

Screenings for Hip Dysplasia are performed by a veterinarian with x-rays sent to OFA for grading and certification no sooner than 24 months old.

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Elbows

Elbow Dysplasia is a condition involving multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow joint. The elbow joint is a complex joint made up of 3 bones (radius, ulna, and humerus). If the 3 bones do not fit together perfectly due to growth abnormalities, abnormal weight distribution on areas of the joint occur causing pain, lameness, and the development of arthritis. The cause of ED in dogs remains unclear. There are a number of theories as to the exact cause of the disease that include genetics, defects in cartilage growth, trauma, diet, and so on. It is most commonly suspected this is a multifactorial disease in which causes the growth disturbances.

Grade I Elbow Dysplasia: Minimal bone change along anconeal process of ulna (less than 2mm).
Grade II Elbow Dysplasia: Additional bone proliferation along anconeal process (2-5 mm) and subchondral bone changes (trochlear notch sclerosis).
Grade III Elbow Dysplasia: Well developed degenerative joint disease with bone proliferation along anconeal process being greater than 5 mm.

Both elbows must be clear of Degenerative Joint Disease for breeding and cannot be assessed until 24 months old.

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Heart

Congenital heart disease in dogs is a malformation of the heart or great vessels. The lesions characterizing congenital heart defects are present at birth and may develop more fully during perinatal and growth periods. Many congenital heart defects are thought to be genetically transmitted from parents to offspring; however, the exact modes of inheritance have not been precisely determined for all cardiovascular malformations.

Adult-onset or developmental cardiac diseases develop later in life and include for example; hypertrophic, arrhythmogenic and dilatative cardiomyopathies. Because acquired disease can appear subsequent to a normal cardiac exam, adult onset clearances are only valid for one year from the time of the exam. Many adult-onset or developmental cardiac diseases may have a genetic component, however the exact modes of inheritance have not been precisely determined for all cardiovascular malformations.

The only accepted cardiac assessment is the OFA Advanced Cardiac Assessment. The Advanced Cardiac Database results are in a two-tiered clearance for normal dogs: congenital cardiac disease and adult-onset cardiac disease. Advanced Cardiac assessments are available to dogs 12 months of age or older, must include an echocardiogram, and shall be performed yearly in order to rule out adult-onset cardiac disease.

All dogs must be clear of cardiac disease yearly for breeding.

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Eyes

Most of the ocular diseases of dogs presumed to be hereditary have not been adequately documented. Genetic studies require examination of large numbers of related animals in order to characterize the disorder (age of onset, characteristic appearance, rate of progression) and to define the mode of inheritance (recessive, dominant). Until the genetic basis of an ocular disorder is defined in a peer-reviewed published report, we rely on what statistical information is available from registry organizations, informed opinions and consensus from ACVO diplomates. We must satisfy ourselves with terms like “presumed inherited” and “suspected to be inherited.” The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists has listed ten of these diseases as automatic “fails” (this means the affected dog is ineligible to receive an eye certification) because of the significance of the condition to vision and/or the very strong evidence of heritability. They include:

  1. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)

  2. Cataract

  3. Lens luxation or subluxation

  4. Glaucoma 

  5. Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV)

  6. Retinal detachment

  7. Retinal dysplasia

  8. Optic nerve coloboma

  9. Optic nerve hypoplasia

  10. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) 

When the breeding advice is ”NO,” even a minor clinical form of the entity would make this animal unsuitable for breeding. When the advice is ”BREEDER OPTION,” caution is advised. In time, it may be appropriate to modify this stand to “NO” based on accumulated evidence. If it becomes apparent that there is insufficient evidence that an entity is inherited, it may be deleted from the list.

All dogs must be clear of ocular disease for breeding.

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Shoulders

The most common shoulder affliction, Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD), is an inflammatory condition that occurs when the diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone. It most commonly affects the shoulder joint but the elbow, hip, or knee (stifle) may also be involved. This is a developmental disease that occurs in rapidly growing large breed dogs typically between 6 and 9 months of age and tends to occur more often in male dogs. The cause of OCD is unknown. However, this disease is more common in dogs receiving too much energy and calcium in the diet. Other factors may also include genetics, rapid growth, trauma, lack of blood flow, and hormonal factors.

Dogs with abnormal shoulders should not be used for breeding.

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Spine

Spondylosis deformans is a condition that affects the vertebral bones of the spine and is characterized by the presence of bony spurs or osteophytes along the edges of the bones of the spine. A bony spur may develop in a single spot on the spine; more commonly, there will be multiple bone spurs in several different locations along the spine.


The most common places that spondylosis deformans lesions develop are along the thoracic vertebrae (chest), especially at the junction between the rib cage and the abdomen, in the lumbar spine (lower back) and in the lumbosacral spine (around the hips and back legs). In some cases the bony spurs may become large enough that they appear to form a complete bridge between adjacent vertebral bones.


Spondylosis deformans is a chronic condition that is associated with aging. Research indicates that it often develops as a secondary problem related to degenerative disease of the intervertebral discs.

The radiographic evaluation of the spine requires both a lateral and a ventral dorsal view of the entire spine (C through L) on dogs over 5 months of age.

Dogs with abnormal spines should not be used for breeding.

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DNA

Merle Gene

Merle (known as Harlequin in Beaucerons) is an incompletely dominant coat color pattern characterized by irregularly shaped patches of diluted pigment and solid color. SINEs are defined as short interspersed nuclear elements. These are repetitive DNA sequences that can copy and insert into different locations in the genome. The impact of the insertion depends upon the location: they can impact gene expression and function and, if inserted into the germ line cells, can be passed down to future generations.


The presence or absence of the merle SINE insertion determines the possibility of observing the merle phenotype while the length of the end of the SINE insert sequence, which is composed of the nucleotide A (poly-A tail), correlates to the extent of the merle pattern observed. Only one copy of the merle associated variant is necessary to see the effects but the length of the tail directly influences the phenotype.


SINE Insertion Lengths

Mc 200-230
Mc+ 231-246
Ma 247-254
Ma+ 255-264
M 265-268
Mh 269-280

Two genetically merle dogs must not be bred together intentionally. 

Reputable genetic laboratories for testing merle SINE lengths include UC Davis and Tilia.

Learn about the Cryptic Merle

Long-Coat Gene
The result of a longhaired Beauceron is an undesired trait for the breed standard. The gene is very widespread in the lines.

Result: PL-L/L 
Homozygous short hair - The dog is short haired, the animal is not a carrier of the long-haired character and cannot pass it on to his offspring.

Result: PL-L/l 
Short-haired heterozygote - The dog is short-haired, the animal carries the character long hair and can transmit these 2 characters to his offspring.

Result: PL-l/l ​
The dog is long-haired, the animal does not carry the short-haired character and cannot pass it on to offspring

Breeders should be aware of the gene. Best breeding practices would be to not breed 2 carriers together. Otherwise, affected dogs should be pets. 

Deafness Gene
Since 2015, some cases of deafness have been observed across Europe. It has affected around 3% of Beaucerons. A unique genetic test have been developed with Antagene in collaboration with the Club l'Ami du Beauceron. 

Homozygot gesund: The animal has 2 normal copies of the gene involved in this congenital deafness. The animal will not develop the form of this disorder to the tested mutation. The animal will not transmit the genetic anomaly to it's progeny. 

Heterozygous: The animal has 1 normal copy and 1 detective copy of the gene involved in this congenital deafness. The animal will not develop the form of this disorder associated to the tested mutation. Statistically, the animal will transmit the genetic anomaly to 50% of it's progeny. 

A animal with 2 copy of the gene involved with congenital deafness should not be use for breeding. Heterozygous's result should only be use with a Homozygot gesund.

Embark
Embark is one of the most scientifically advanced dog DNA tests in North America.

They provide multiple things such as: 

  • Breed Relevant Health Conditions

  • Physical Traits

  • Genetic Health Results Counseling

  • Genetic Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI)

  • Breed ancestry breakdown

  • Matchmaker tool (for some breeds)

  • Breeding Pair Assessment

  • Dog Leukocyte Antigen (DLA) Diversity Testing

  • Registrable by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)


For the Beauceron, Embark is used to confirm breed ancestry (no outcrossing to other breeds), rule out the presence of genetic diseases, and understand genetic traits that make up each dog for better breeding decisions.​

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Thyroid

With Hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is not making enough of a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism (the process of turning food into fuel). Hypothyroidism causes a wide variety of symptoms, but is often suspected in dogs that have trouble with weight gain or obesity and suffer from hair loss and skin problems. The good news is this disease isn’t life-threatening, it’s easy to diagnose with a blood test, and it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to treat. Treatment is typically a thyroid supplement taken daily.

Autoimmune thyroiditis is the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in dogs. The disease has variable onset, but tends to clinically manifest itself at 2 to 5 years of age. Dogs may be clinically normal for years, only to become hypothyroid at a later date. The marker for autoimmune thyroiditis, thyroglobulin autoantibody formation, usually occurs prior to the occurrence of clinical signs. Therefore, periodic retesting is recommended.

The majority of dogs that develop autoantibodies have them by 3 to 4 years of age. Development of autoantibodies at any time in the dog’s life is an indication that the dog most likely has the genetic form of the disease. Using today’s technology only a small fraction of false positive tests occur.


An OFA number will be issued to all dogs found to be normal at 12 months of age. Ages will be used in the certification process since the classification can change as the dog ages and the autoimmune disease progresses. It is recommended that reexamination occur at ages 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 years.

All thyroid abnormalities should not be use for breeding.

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Temperament

Beaucerons should have a frank approach and self-assured; never mean, timid, or worried. Although reserved with strangers, the character of the Beauceron should be gentle and fearless. Any display of fear or unjustifiable aggression is not to be tolerated.

For Breeding:

Dogs/Bitches must be of sound temperament as described in the standard. To ensure better temperaments are being used, all breeding stock are recommended to have at least one of the following:

  1. a Tres Bon or better at the Working Beauceron Association’s Nationale d’ Elevage (or the French club’s equivalent);

  2. American Temperament Test Society passing evaluation;

  3. American Kennel Club’s CGCU title.

Any dogs/bitches that have been excused from any competition venue three (3) or more times for shyness or aggression cannot be used for breeding. Dogs/Bitches that have a Schutzhund/IPO/IGP BH or French CSAU are exempt from this requirement.

Breed Health Concerns: Team Members
Genetic transmission Beauceron
Breed Health Concerns: About
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