plus a few of its own. It has a relatively small gene pool and all Leos go
back to just a couple of “founders.” Mutations in the genes of the dog and
human are common, and presently there are only a few genetic tests available
even for human diseases. Until recently there has been no way for breeders to
acquire the information to prevent diseases in dogs anymore than in humans. Thanks to our wonderful
Leonberger community, in June 2010 our reseachers at the U of Minn. and the U of Bern had a huge
breakthrough. They found the mutated gene causing one of the polyneuropathies that Leos can get-
LPN1. In July 2014 they found the mutation for LPN2. A mutation for LEMP was found in 2017.We now
have a genetic test for 3 mutations and can prevent 2 types of polyneuropathy and a central nervous
system disease in our offspring with informed breeding decisions. Researchers are still searching for
the genes that cause LPN 3 in the Leo, so for now it is still a chance we have to take when we decide
to share our lives with a Leo.
LCA breeding dogs all have a CHIC # which provides results obtained from LCA required health testing
before they are bred. You can find the parents of your puppies on the CHIC site This enables breeders
to know where some of the strengths and weaknesses are in their dogs' genes and to choose mates
who will not double-up on bad genes. All LCA breeding dogs are required to have passing hips. Other
test results, both passing and not passing are posted on CHIC as well. All dogs carry bad genes as well as
good but knowing that helps breeders make conscientious decisions when looking for a mate who does
not have the same bad genes their dog may carry.
Having a puppy whose parents do not have hip dysplasia does not guarantee that the puppy will not
get hip dysplasia as it is a polygenic trait (not a single gene, each parent contributes a number of
them to the offspring). It would have disappeared years ago if it was easy to eliminate! Like most
diseases without a genetic test, breeders can only try to prevent it by common sense breedings. OFA
guidence says; "Breed normals to normals; Breed normals with normal ancestry; "Breed normals from
litters with low incidence of HD; Select sires that produce a low incidence of HD and replace breeding
dogs with offspring who are better than the breed average."
Hypothyroidism shows up sometimes, usually in middle-aged Leos, but is easy and economical to
control if it does. We recommend that our owners screen their dogs for hypothyroidism at two
years old and at 2 year intervals over their lives. It would be my advice to owners of any large breed
dog if they would like to see their dog remain healthy.
We cannot prevent human diseases so please don't assume
breeders have a magic formula for preventing dog diseases either.
We try our best but life has no guarantees. Mother Nature is
smarter than all of us. Leos are a pretty healthy breed but realistic
expectations are required.
As is the case with most very large breeds, Leonbergers are not long lived. The average life
span, per the last health survey done by the LCA, is 6 1/2yrs. for males and 7 1/2 yrs. for females. I
know per our own Longevity Study in our own lines, it is probably closer to 7-9 years. Although we
are all striving for longevity, remember that anything past 8 is icing on the cake. Don’t buy a Leo
expecting it to live to be 10 or 11. It probably will not. Be realistic. All Leos come with both the good
and the bad traits and health issues of their ancestors. If you can't live with those possibilities you
should look into another breed. From our standpoint, we feel it is well worth the trade offs.
|PUPPY PACK: How Healthy?
|Grafton, OH 44044 | cell 440-328-5647| email@example.com