Maemuki Japanese Spitz is very serious about health testing our breeding dogs to ensure we are using healthy dogs within our breeding program. Whilst Japanese Spitz are generally a very healthy breed, they can still suffer from patella luxation amongst other issues which is why it is extremely important that health testing is conducted,
In order to keep track of our breeding's overall health status, we invite our lovely owners to contact us if anything comes up with regards to Japanese Spitz bred by us. Additionally, we check in from time to time to see how our dogs are going and if there is anything we should be aware of.
Maemuki Japanese Spitz aims to generate as much information about our dog's overall health status so that we can continue to make informed and educated breeding decisions, which benefits future generations of puppies born at Maemuki.
Patella Luxation is one of the biggest problems which can affect the Japanese Spitz breed. Patella luxation is where the kneecap does not move normally up and down in the knee groove, but rather slips or pops out of the socket. In order to check for Patella Luxation, our dogs knees are manually checked by a Veterinarian. At this stage, this is the only mechanism by which patella luxation can be assessed, as there is no genetic testing available for this issue due to it being polygenetic.
All of Maemuki Japanese Spitz's breeding dogs are checked for patella luxation. We prefer to use dogs who are unaffected (0/0 grading) by Patella Luxation, as we feel this gives puppies the best possible opportunity to not be affected by this issue.
Maemuki Japanese Spitz has sought to take advantage of advancements in science and technology and get our dogs DNA tested. We have utilised Embark, a company in the USA who are a research partner of Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Embark test for over 222 genetic health conditions, in addition to providing information such as genetic coefficient of inbreeding and coat and body traits. We have had 11 dogs tested so far with excellent results. None of our dogs have been tested as affected by any of the 222 tested genetic conditions tested by Embark.
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are issues which can affect Japanese Spitz. Hip and elbow dysplasia is when dogs hip or elbow joints are not perfectly formed and is an issue primarily found in larger dogs (although small dogs can be affected too). This issue can be caused by genetic or environmental factors. Dogs affected by hip or elbow dysplasia will often have issues such as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. Hip and elbow x-rays are taken and then read by an independent specialist who assigns a score towards the hips to indicate how good to poor they are. Hip and Elbow scoring is common for Japanese Spitz in Europe, particularly Scandinavia.
Maemuki Japanese Spitz have had several dogs hip and elbow scored, We remain committed to ensuring our prolific dogs, particularly our stud dogs who will produce several offspring are scored.
Maemuki Japanese Spitz have taken advantage of heart and eye specialist testing opportunities where possible. Due to the availability and locations of these specialists (there is a preference to see referred dogs with already identified issues) we have been unable to secure a regular battle rhythm in getting the majority of our dogs regularly checked. However, our dogs get a yearly general vet check which aims to ensure our dogs general health remains high and to alert of any potential changes (i.e. newly identified heart murmur.) which we should investigate further.
Line Breeding / Inbreeding
Due to a smaller gene pool in Australia, it can be challenging to avoid inbreeding. Maemuki Japanese Spitz have taken extra steps to ensure that we minimise the level of inbreeding where possible. This is achieved through importing new genes through a live dog or frozen semen, as well as ensuring that we calculate and assess the level of diversity in each mating conducted. Using a special program, we will calculate the co-efficient of inbreeding for each litter planned.
The Japanese Spitz Club of Finland encourages its members to keep the inbreeding percentage under 6.25% over 5 generations, which is something we also strive towards. Each of our litters produced so far have remained well under the percentage recommended.