The Briard Breeder developed in the area of Southern France as a herding dog for the nomadic Bask people. As the working dog of the Bask, they established themselves as excellent herding dogs, and when properly trained, they are a pleasure to watch. When they are running, their gait is so smooth that they have the appearance of floating above the ground. Marquis de Lafayette first brought them to this country in 1777 when he came from France to join Washington's staff. Some other people they have accompanied in their illustrious history have been Napoleon and Charlemagne.
For the Briard I recommend foods that have a blend of lamb, fish, wheat, and brown rice. However, I suggest that you avoid feeding a Briard any soy products, beet pulp, white rice, beef, or beef by-products. Native food supplies for this breed would have been the type of vegetation grown in the middle and high latitude forests and broadleaf and broadleaf-conifer forests that the nomadic Bask traveled through in Southern France and Eastern Spain. The grains of wheat, corn, and wild rice would have been the prevalent starch and fiber sources for their dietary intake. Meat sources would have consisted of mutton and pork from the Basks' herds as well as fish from the local streams.
Attached for your review is my report on coat color genetics as it possibly relates to the Briard Dog. The report is based upon Dr. Little's fine book and your generous assistance during our phone conversations and the discussion in your office on July 19, 1969. This is submitted to you in the hope that I have not misinterpreted or misunderstood the materials or your very helpful explanations.
The report is only intended as an hypothesis and this must be emphasized since an extensive genetic study of the Briard coat color has never been made. The report is necessarily based upon the very limited data currently available. The details are therefore difficult to analyze accurately. If you find this report to be soundly formulated in theory, it will be presented to the Briard Club, hopefully to help overcome some misconceptions being discussed and to inspire an interest in a more complete, scientific study of the Briard coat color.
The Briard Club of America and the French Club des Amis du Briard are grateful for the guidance you have given us. It has offered us a more scientific approach to our breeding problems and we wish to extend our thanks for your interest and kind contributions.
I think you have done a very fine piece of work on the report on coat color in the Briard. As you state, because the necessary extensive genetic experiments have not been performed for this breed, one must in some way present hypotheses.
I am quite sure that your statements regarding the A and B locus are accurate. I am not as sure that we can definitely state that C and cch are both present in the Briard, but it is quite possible that they are. As you rightly say, the greatest problem is concerned with the possible variations at the E locus. I am basing my opinion that both Ay and e are present in the breed by your statement that occasionally dark Briard puppies come from the mating of two light Briards. As for the G locus, I think it would require matings between Kerry Blue and the Briard to be certain if the graying effect in maturity is produced by the same locus in these two breeds. Since the phenomenon occurs in the Briard, it is quite conceivable that indeed the G locus is active.
You make a very good point in the discussion that excluding one expression of a gene while encouraging its expression on other backgrounds is illogical. It could potentially could cause damage to the breed. There may be a few exceptions to this principle; in particular, instances where the expression of a heterozygote is desired, but I don't think any of these apply to the Briard.
This study was made for the Briard Club of America with the hope it may, in some way, help to overcome some of the misunderstandings and controversies that always seem to plague the Briard in this country. The report uses the same gene names and symbols as those used for decades of research at the Jackson Laboratory.
The report briefly outlines the basic genes identified to date, that influence the coat color of dogs and compares these influences to the Briard as non-technically as possible. It does not pretend to cover all aspects of this vast subject and due to very limited data on the Briard, it is necessarily a generalized discussion of colors. New data could reveal unexpected influences and a detailed scientific study would be required to determine more definitely, the effects of these genes on the coat color of the Briard.
TEN BASIC GENES have been identified as influencing the coat color in Briard dogs. These basic genes are believed to be transmitted to the offspring, independent of each other, each carried on a different chromosome. Therefore they are not considered "linked”. (Genes that are linked are located on the same chromosome and tend to remain together as they are transmitted from one generation to the next.)
EACH OF THE TEN BASIC GENES HAS TWO OR MORE FORMS
Not all forms of each gene are present in every breed and this varies from breed to breed. Some forms of a basic gene have a more dominant (epistatic) influence and can mask or hide a recessive gene paired with it. This dominant/recessive relationship is not always perfect and the recessive form can modify the effect of the dominant in certain cases. A gene form that does not normally influence a breed can occur, upon rare occasion, by mutation (an unexpected change in the forms of the genes that are normally present). The various forms of a basic gene which occupy the same locus (location or site) on a chromosome are called alleles of one another. Allele means “another form of”.
DARK pigment expressed as black or brown; and LIGHT pigment which is expressed as red, yellow or tan. These two pigments vary from breed to breed and modifiers can also affect its expression. Various other genes control the amount, extent and distribution of these two pigments.