Black hair follicular dysplasia in the large Munsterlander dog breed

Black hair follicular dysplasia in the large Munsterlander dog breed

Health & Safety

The large Munsterlander dog breed is quite an unusual sight here in the UK, as this is not one of our most common dog breeds and there aren’t a lot of them around on these shores. This is a breed of dog with working origins, which is recognised in the Kennel Club’s gundog grouping, reflecting their history as sporting gundogs in their native Germany.

If you’ve decided to get a new dog to join your family and are trying to narrow down your choices, it is always worth considering some of the less common breeds and hidden gems that often, many dog owners aren’t even really aware of. There is a lot to recommend the large Munsterlander as a pet for people from all walks of life, and they are particularly notable for being generally excellent with even young children.

Large Munsterlanders are also highly intelligent and very energetic, as well as being very amenable to training, and they don’t shed much fur nor need a lot of grooming. The breed as a whole also tends to be robust and healthy, but like most pedigree breeds, there are certain health conditions that have a hereditary element to them and that occur more commonly within the large Munsterlander breed than others. One such health condition is called black hair follicular dysplasia, and this is what we will talk about in this article.

Read on to learn more about black hair follicular dysplasia in the large Munsterlander dog breed.

What is black hair follicular dysplasia?

Black hair follicular dysplasia is a type of hereditary skin disorder that can only be passed from dog to dog by means of inheritance. The signature of the condition is hair loss of black areas of fur, which means that in dogs with a mixed coloured coat, the lighter coloured hairs will be unaffected.

Whilst this is a rare condition within dogs as a whole and even within the large Munsterlander breed itself, large Munsterlanders have elevated risk factors for inheriting the disorder.

Generally, the loss of fur in areas where the hair is black begins very early on while the dog is still young, usually within just a month or so of birth. However, the condition progresses relatively slowly, and it can take up until the dog in question is around nine months to one year old before all of their black fur is shed.

Aside from causing large bald areas of the coat, black hair follicular dysplasia doesn’t usually have any significant impact on the dog’ health or wellbeing and the condition isn’t commonly painful, but it does place dogs at a greatly increased risk of developing bacterial infections of the skin.

Why are large Munsterlanders at risk of black hair follicular dysplasia?

Black hair follicular dysplasia is hereditary in nature, and whilst we aren’t quite sure what gene combination causes some dogs to develop the condition, it is passed on from parent dogs to their young if the two parent dogs carry the relevant gene faults that cause the condition to arise.

As the total number of dogs of the large Munsterlander breed in the UK is relatively small, this means that there are only a limited number of dogs present within the gene pool as breeding stock, which makes it easier for a hereditary health condition to spread more widely within the breed.

What are the symptoms of black hair follicular dysplasia?

Black hair follicular dysplasia usually develops when dogs are very young, usually of an age when they will still be nursing from their dam and under the care of their breeder.

Some of the main symptoms of black hair follicular dysplasia in the large Munsterlander include:

  • Thinning hair across black parts of the coat, which is not replicated in lighter coloured areas.
  • Full bald patches across black parts of the coat.
  • Dry or scaly skin where the skin is exposed.
  • Shorter than normal hair growth and other hair growth anomalies.
  • A propensity to picking up bacterial infections of the skin.

Dogs that do develop skin infections as a result of black hair follicular dysplasia may also suffer from crusty, pus-filled spots on their skin, a foul smell to the skin and coat, darkening of the skin’s pigment, and potentially, pain and irritation.

Can black hair follicular dysplasia be treated or cured?

The loss of fur caused by black hair follicular dysplasia isn’t something that can be reversed or corrected, and if the hair loss doesn’t cause any problems for the dog other than making their coat look sparse and patchy, generally the condition is monitored but left alone.

If the dog’s skin is also dry, itchy or uncomfortable, your vet will consider various options to soothe it, which may include skin emollients and conditioners, medicated or mild shampoos, and various antibacterial and antimicrobial topical treatments. Dietary supplements to support skin health might also be indicated.

Large Munsterlanders with black hair follicular dysplasia should also be kept warm enough when the weather is cooler to accommodate for their loss of hair, and their skin should be checked and monitored regularly for signs of infections and other problems that can develop as a result of the condition.



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