Skip to content

Health Priorities

In general terms, the Finnish Lapphund is a very robust and healthy breed with an expected life-span of 10-15 years. Here follows some information about health issues that particularly relate to Finnish Lapphunds. Although these conditions are known to occur in the breed, they are not common. If you have questions about other dog health problems, you should always ask your vet.

Some further (non breed specific) information is available here : General Health information

What the Kennel Club does for dog health – update from KC

The KC records a number of health test results – where a KC approved scheme is not available we are reliant on being notified by Members/owners of any health issues (it is a requirement of the club rules), where these have been received they are listed in our on line Heath results.

Eye Conditions

As with many breeds there are a number of eye conditions seen in Finnish Lapphunds, these include:

  • Prcd-1 PRA
  • Cataracts
  • RD
  • PPM
  • Glaucoma

Of these only Prcd-1 PRA can be identified by a gene test.

Both the FLC of GB & the SFLS breed clubs requires that the genetic status of all Finnish Lapphunds used in breeding should be known before any mating takes place (see respective Club’s code of ethics).

For those who are considering or waiting for an FL puppy, you should talk to your breeder who will know the status of the parents and can make you aware of the risk in advance, or use the KC online health result finder or relevant overseas search as applicable – see useful links on this page.

As the other conditions have yet to have any gene tests identified the only way breeders can minimise risks are to ensure Finnish Lapphunds used in breeding have a current ophthalmic examination (the respective code of Ethics require that the certificate is issued no more than 12 months prior to mating, the Assured Breeders Scheme also requires eye testing).

However the Kennel Club in the UK DO NOT record these results for other eye tests and therefore will show a false unaffected result on the KC online test result finder.  For this reason you are advised to ask for a copy of BOTH parent’s eye latest eye test certificate and any relevant litter screening test.

More Information on eye testing

Litter Screening

As a number of conditions such as PHTVL/PHPV and PPM (of note are iris-to-lens PPM, iris-to-cornea PPM) are congenital (ie present at birth) litter screening is advised so these conditions can be identified before the puppies join their new families.

Gene Test investigation

Work is under way to identify the gene(s) responsible for cataracts in our breed – please see if you can help.  We cannot stress too much how important it is that DNA samples are submitted for research from any dogs diagnosed with cataracts (not those appearing in old age)

Hip Dysplasia

More information on the Hip Dysplasia Scheme

Elbow Dysplasia

More information on Elbow Dysplasia scheme


Pompe’s Disease has been reported in three litters in Finland, it is a severe storage disease –  see below which usually results in early euthanasia of an affected animal. Following quick action in Finland and a genetic investigation the genes responsible have been identified and a diagnostic test is now available, requiring a simple buccal (mouth) swab.

Whilst the condition is not yet widespread in the breed, we are fortunate to be able to “halt” it, by simply testing all breeding stock prior to mating. You can see from below that as the condition is a simple recessive (like prcd-1 PRA) it is easy to identify risk matings based on the generic results of individuals, and thus ensure we do not produce any affected puppies in future.

The condition has not been seen (to our knowledge in UK) but our dogs share a number of the common lines where carriers and affected animals have been reported in Finland, therefore, and given that we have a gene test accessible, it is to be recommended that any dogs to be used for breeding should be tested for this disease.

The UK test results are available through the KC online health result finder

Details of all Finnish tested dogs

The following detail is taken from the Genoscoper site:

Glycogen storage disease type II is also known as acid maltase deficiency or generalized glycogenosis type II. Glycogen storage disease type II is a disorder of glycogen metabolism that affects Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund and Lapponian herder. The disease can manifest as vomiting, muscle weakness with exercise intolerance, and poor growth. Hannes Lohi’s research group at Helsinki University and FolkhŠlsan has identified the mutation causing Pompe’s disease. The disease shows autosomal recessive inheritance.

Glycogen storage diseases (GSD) are disorders of glycogen metabolism. GSD type II (GSD II) is a form of the disorders that affects Lapland Dogs and Lapland Reindeer Dogs. In GSD II, there is a deficit in breakdown of glycogen due to lack of the acid alpha-glucosidase enzyme. The result is cellular glycogen accumulation, and altered glucose homeostasis in tissues such as cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle. Signs of GSD II include poor growth, recurrent vomiting and regurgitation due a dilated esophagus (food pipe), progressive muscle weakness leading to exercise intolerance, frequent panting, and heart abnormalities. First symptoms are typically observable at 7 month of age, and affected dogs usually die or are euthanized before 2 years of age as long-term management of the disease is currently ineffective.

The genetic test results are reported as follows:

Normal: The dog carries two normal copies of the gene and has no or reduced likelihood of developing the disease during its life.

Carrier: The dog carries the mutation in one of its chromosomes and transfers it to approximately 50% of its offspring. If a carrier must* (sic) be mated, it should only be with a genetically tested healthy non-carrier.

Affected: The dog carries two copies of the mutation and is at high risk of developing GSD II during its life. An affected animal, even if not yet showing symptoms, will pass on the mutation to all its offspring, and its use in breeding is not recommended.

References:Walvoort, HC., Dormans, JA., van den Ingh, TS. Comparative pathology of the canine model of glycogen storage disease type II (Pompe’s disease). J Inherit Metab Dis 8:38-46, 1985. Pubmed: 3921759.Walvoort, HC., Slee, RG., Sluis, KJ., Koster, JF., Reuser, AJ. Biochemical genetics of the Lapland dog model of glycogen storage disease type II (acid alpha-glucosidase deficiency). Am J Med Genet 19:589-98, 1984. Pubmed: 6391168.

Addison’s Disease

Addisons is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the adrenal gland, leading to a deficiency of steroid hormones.

The diagnosis of Addison’s disease is not complicated but often presents with a wide variety of vague, clinical signs that can be misdiagnosed as renal failure, heart failure, gastrointestinal disease, acute pancreatitis, liver disease and even autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA) and immune mediated thrombocytopenia (IMTP).

It is usually progressive although sudden onset can occur, and most dogs are presented to their vet at least three times in the 6+ months prior to diagnosis, and many are in an Addisonian crisis before it is identified. An adrenal crisis is a life threatening emergency and immediate care is essential if the dog is to survive.

More information on Addison’s disease

Thyroid disease

More information on Thyroid disease


More information on other conditions

Sensitivity to wormers & other drugs

Some breeds (esp. collies) are known to display a sensitivity to a family of anti-parasitic drugs known as ivermectin and from anecdotal evidence it appears that a similar reaction may be seen in Finnish Lapphunds. Before worming your dogs it is worth mentioning this fact to your vet and to read the information available and familiarise yourself with the drugs involved, it is possible to avoid this family of wormers altogether.  Though a number of Finnish Lapphunds have been prescribed drugs from this list and have shown no reaction at all.

Note: the MDR-1 DNA test is as yet unproven for Finnish Lapphunds, as no dogs showing a reaction to the drugs have been checked against the gene test.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more