Health Of The Northern Inuit Dog

Used with Permission from Honiahaka Inuits, Wolfalikes and Wolfdogs

As a newer breed in the making the start of the breed was very sketchy and no health tests that we are aware of were done as no records were ever kept or passed over. As the breed started in the 80’s it is now only natural that as it has evolved and with breeders like ourselves who strive to breed healthy dogs more issues are coming to light and not being brushed under the carpet so to speak.

When choosing your breeder, ask questions about the health of their dogs and offspring, an ethical honest breeder will tell you exactly what has been found in their lines.
Every NI line has an issue of some sort.

Hip Dysplasia & Elbow Dysplasia

Like many large breed dogs the Northern Inuit can suffer from hip dysplasia, therefore when looking to buy a puppy it is wise to check that the hip scores of the parents are below that of the breed average. The current BMS for the Northern Inuit is 15. Elbows should not be higher than 0 and no breeders should breed with dogs who have a higher than 0 Elbow score. Also remember that as with any large breed dog, restriction of exercise in the first year is wise, as these dogs grow at a fast rate and this will help with unnecessary pressure on all of the joints.  Follow the 5 minute rule. 5 Minutes of exercise for each month of age is a great guideline.

Northern Inuit’s can also be prone to sensitive tummies, This is why a lot of Northern Inuit owners choose the Raw food diet, as these dogs do very well on it, also a good quality natural kibble works well with these dogs.


Cryptorchidism, sometimes called retained or undescended testes, is the absence of one or both testicles in the scrotum of a male puppy by the time it reaches 6 months of age. However, they can remain in the abdomen or may never develop at all. Cryptorchid dogs can still be fertile, depending on the number and location of their retained testicle(s). Most cryptorchids show no signs of discomfort or pain. In fact, many owners don’t know that their puppies have this disorder until they are checked by a veterinarian or develop aggressive or otherwise unpleasant intact male tendencies. Dogs with retained testicles have a greatly increased risk of developing testicular infection, torsion and cancer. The condition is also hereditary. Affected dogs should be neutered. It is not unheard of for Northern Inuits to be late developers with testicles dropping as late as 10-11 months.
This is something to think about if wanting a future stud dog, always let your breeder know your intentions, all of our dogs are sold as pets only with the possibility of restriction being lifted, if the dog is of good standard and has something to offer the breeding programme.

Idiopathic Epilepsy

Seizures from unknown causes are called idiopathic epilepsy. They usually happen in dogs between 6 months and 6 years old. Although any dog can have a seizure, idiopathic epilepsy is more common in border collies, Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, beagles, Belgian Tervurens, collies, and German shepherds.
There have been a few cases of Epilepsy in this breed and this is being monitored to see if it is a hereditary condition.

Degenerative Myelopathy

It has come to light that some lines have the Degenerative Myelopathy gene. This is not a problem if all breeding dogs are tested and  no carrier to carrier are bred together, or effected to carrier.  If a carrier is bred to a clear then that is OK. All of our dogs are tested for this other than our offspring from double clear parents.

What is DM
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet.

Oculoskeletal dysplasia

Oculoskeletal dysplasia is an autosomal-recessive genetic disease of dog characterized by cataracts and skeletal deformity, primarily achondroplasia (dwarfism) This condition has been reported in the Labrador Retriever and Samoyed. Affected dogs have short-limbs and ocular defects including vitreous dysplasia, retinal detachment and cataracts. Heterozygotes have milder ocular disease (retinal folds) but normal skeletal development. Diagnosis is based on DNA testing, and there is no treatment reported for this condition.

Read more about Oculoskeletal dysplasia >>

Canine Goniodysgenesis and Glaucoma

Sadly having experienced this first hand in the breed we know that it exists and after years of battling ,the breed club have now made eye testing for Goniodysgenesis mandatory but only with new breeding dogs. We have ALL of our dogs tested for this and also encouraged our older puppy owners to get involved and have theirs tested too. We again have been very lucky to have the Animal Health trust on our side, working closely with us on this.

“Canine goniodysgenesis is one of two primary forms for glaucoma that describe a condition where the fluid in the eye is not draining properly. Immediate treatment is necessary to avoid the onset of glaucoma and vision loss. Options for treatment include medications and surgery.”

The dogs on the photos are unrelated to the health issues