Finnish spitz hereditary health and longevity

Finnish spitz hereditary health and longevity

Health & Safety

The Finnish spitz is of course a Finnish breed of dog, and has in fact been the national dog of Finland since 1979. They are classed as a bark-pointer breed, meaning that they are used as working hunting dogs that alert their handler to the presence of game by barking at it. This provides the added advantage of causing the prey animal to focus on the dog, and not the approaching hunter!

Within Finland particularly, the breed is still mainly kept as a working dog, but they are considered to be very adaptable and able to make the transition to domestic life with relative ease.

The Finnish spitz possesses the typical spitz-dog appearance traits of pointed ears, a long muzzle and a curled tail, with a thick, double layered coat. The breed standard for the Finnish spitz states that the dog can stand up to 20” tall at the withers, and weigh up to 14kg.

If you love spitz dogs and are considering buying a Finnish spitz as a pet, it is of course important to do plenty of research before committing to a purchase. As well as looking into the temperament and core behavioural traits of the breed, it is also important to find out about the average longevity and hereditary health of the breed, in order to be able to make an informed decision about your purchase. In this article, we will look at these factors in more detail. Read on to learn more about the Finnish spitz hereditary health and longevity.

Finnish spitz longevity

The median lifespan for the Finnish spitz breed as a whole is 11.2 years, which places the dog towards the low middle of the average range across the board for pedigree dogs of a similar size.

Genetic diversity and conformation

The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the Finnish spitz is 2.2%, which is well below the 6.25% or lower that is considered to be the ideal for pedigree dog breeds. This indicates that the gene pool of the breed as a whole is relatively diverse, and not subjected to a significant degree of inbreeding.

Breeders of Finnish spitz dogs should of course strive to keep the coefficient of inbreeding figure for their own breed lines as low as possible.

The conformation of the Finnish spitz is considered to be robust, well balanced and fit for life, and so the build and shape of the dog does not cause them to be prone to any health problems or defects due to the breed standard for the build. One factor that owners of the breed should be aware of, however, is the dog’s propensity to overheat in hot weather, due to the thickness of their double-layered coats.

Health issues and health testing for the Finnish spitz

Thanks to the low coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the breed and the fact that their conformation is considered to be close to optimum, the breed as a whole is not considered to be high profile in terms of their overall health. There are currently no flaws or problems within the breed pool that indicates a strong genetic predisposition to hereditary health problems, and as such, no health schemes or pre-breeding testing schemes are currently in place for the Finnish spitz breed.

However, like all pedigree dog breeds, the Finnish spitz has been recognised as being prone to potentially developing certain health problems that are slightly more prevalent within the breed than most others. While none of these conditions are considered to pose a significant risk to the viability of the breed as a whole, it is worth bearing in mind the possibility of such conditions arising within dogs of the breed.

Some of the more common of these conditions include:

  • Spitz dog thrombopathia, which provides an elevated risk of haemorrhaging due to a bleeding disorder that causes the platelets in the blood to fail to clot effectively. This condition is recognised across many different spitz-type breeds.
  • Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, which is a hereditary condition that causes anaemia, ranging from mild to severe depending on the dog.
  • Cataracts have been identified as occurring at a reasonable rate across the breed, however, cataracts in the Finnish spitz are uncommon below the age of seven.
  • Epilepsy is also found within the breed, and affected dogs should not be used for breeding. However, epileptic dogs can usually lead full and happy lives with ongoing medication to manage the condition.
  • Various different cancers are known to affect the Finnish spitz breed, but again, these are most likely to occur in maturity. Anal sac cancer is one particular type of cancer that seems to occur within the breed more than others.
  • Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia also affect dogs of the breed in some cases, but the breed is not considered to have a particularly high risk of either condition.


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