Finnish Lapphund hereditary health and longevity
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Finnish Lapphund hereditary health and longevity

Dogs
Breed Facts

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized dog with a strong, muscular build, which stands up to 20” tall at the withers, and can weigh up to 42lb. They are particularly distinctive for their very thick double coats, which are a typical trait of spitz dog breeds. The top layer of the coat provides waterproofing, while the undercoat protects against even the coldest of weather. The head and neck hair gives the impression of a thick ruff or mane, and is also very thick.

Despite the sheer weight and density of the coat, the Finnish Lapphund is considered to be a fairly low maintenance dog in terms of their coat care, and they only require brushing and grooming a couple of times per week. Once or twice a year the dog will blow their entire coat to bring in the coat for the new season, and during this time, they shed very heavily and require daily brushing.

The Finnish Lapphund can be seen in a wide variety of colours, including black, black and tan, red, sable and many others. The coat can be seen in any colour at all to meet the breed standard, but it should be mainly one base colour. One of the most distinctive features of the breed is their facial markings, which include a ring of light coloured hair around the eyes, which can make the dog look as if they are wearing glasses!

If you are considering buying a Finnish Lapphund, it is important to find out in detail about their care requirements, and this also means considering the hereditary health and wellness of the breed as a whole. In this article, we will look at the longevity and hereditary wellness of the breed in more detail: read on to learn more.

Finnish Lapphund longevity

The Finnish Lapphund’s average lifespan is 12-14 years, which places them towards the top of the rankings for dogs of a similar size and build. The breed is considered to be robust and healthy, and within their native country of Finland, it is not at all uncommon for dogs of the breed to live well into their late teens.

Genetic diversity and conformation

The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the Finnish Lapphund is 2.3%, which is significantly lower than the 6.25% or below that is considered to be the ideal for pedigree dog breeds. This means that the Finnish Lapphund is not subjected to a high degree of inbreeding within their breed lines, and ensures the genetic diversity of the breed and makes them over all robust and tending to good health.

The conformation of the Finnish Lapphund is not considered to pose any particular problems for the breed, but as the breed hails from a cold country and has the thick coat to prove it, they do have a tendency to overheat in hot weather, and have problems keeping cool enough.

Finnish Lapphund health testing

Certain hereditary health conditions have been identified as prevalent within the breed, and for this reason, the British Veterinary Association, The Kennel Club and Finnish Lapphund breed organisations recommend certain pre-breeding tests and screening programmes for parent dogs. These include:

  • Hip score testing, with the mean score for the breed being 13.9. Breeders are advised to only breed dogs with a hip score below this figure.
  • Screening for progressive retinal atrophy, a condition that leads to eventual blindness.
  • DNA testing is also possible for progressive retinal atrophy.
  • DNA testing is advised for Pompe’s disease.

Other health conditions within the breed

The Finnish Lapphund is considered to be a very fit, genetically diverse and overall, healthy and hardy breed of dog, and is one of the few pedigree dog breeds that does not have a list of conditions that the breed as a whole is prone to.

Aside from the conditions mentioned above that can be screened for, the only other condition that is known to be prevalent across the breed is cataracts, and these tend to develop in later life. No testing is currently available to identify a hereditary predisposition to cataracts. Within Finland itself, the prevalence rate of cataracts within the breed is 3.4%, however, in other countries including the UK, the figure tends to be lower. Even 3.4% is not considered to be a particularly high figure, for what is after all a common condition of aging, and one that is often operable.

While the overall health picture of the Finnish Lapphund is relatively positive, this of course provides no guarantee as to the lifelong health and wellness of any individual dog of the breed. Potential Finnish Lapphund buyers are advised to talk to the breeder about the health of the parents of the litter, and also, if possible, the grandparents too. This can help to provide a complete picture of breed line health, and allow buyers to make an informed decision about the potential future health of their new puppy.

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