This article was written by Pamela Francis for the FLCV in 2010. Pam's work remains an up to date and relevant summary for people who are considering buying a Finnish Lapphund. If you would like to read about steps that breeders can take to reduce the chance of hereditary disease, refer to the club breeding guidelines 2017-2020.
Lappies are a long lived breed and with good care and nutrition, most will reach at least thirteen years of age, with fourteen to fifteen years not an uncommon age for a Lappie.
Given that the breed was developed in some of the harshest conditions on earth, most Lappies are tough and resilient dogs. There are only a few health conditions that can affect the Finnish Lapphund and these are ones that affect most dog breeds and cross breeds. As a general rule, the incidence of problematic health conditions in the Lappie is very low, especially now that breeders have various tests available to screen the health of the parents before breeding from them.
The main conditions to be aware of are described at length below. Please keep in mind that these health problems are not common and occur only rarely. Checking the statistics provided will reassure you of this. So, although at first glance there may seem to be a lot of information here, it certainly does not follow on, that there are a lot of health problems with Lappies. In fact, the general health of the breed is excellent.
While there are no other health conditions known to be significant in the Finnish Lapphund breed, apart from those listed below, there is no such thing as a perfect organism anywhere. Problems (either congenital and/or environmental) can and do arise, although very rarely. The difference between an ethical and a non-ethical breeder is that an ethical breeder will keep a track of anything that arises in the lines of their breeding, disclose that information to you, and actively work to ensure no problems are replicated, or are avoided as much as possible. If problems do arise, ethical breeders will want to know about it and will work with you to support you with information and advice.
Ethical breeders will ensure their breeding stock has all of the necessary health testing prior to breeding. Your breeder should be willing to talk to you about this and share health results and other information with you.
If you are considering purchasing a Finnish Lapphund puppy, it is on your best interests to ensure that you view copies of the following health certificates for each parent of the puppy. The importance of doing so will become apparent, as you read about the possible health conditions below.
The certificates concerned are:
Hip and elbow X-Ray results
PRA status certificate
Current eye examination results