Compared to some other breeds German Spitz are pretty healthy, but there have been incidences of eye disease in both Klein and Mittel. PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and RD (Retinal Dysplasia) are currently the main cause for concern, and both these conditions can cause premature blindness and are hereditary. There is a BVA/ISDS eye testing scheme available for detecting these (and other) diseases, so in the days of increasing litigation, breeders would be wise to make use of this scheme.
When looking to purchase a puppy or older dog, the buyer should ensure that the breeder they are buying from eye tests their stock. Adults should have a current clear certificate before being bred from (the last test results should be no more than two years old, though ideally within the last 12 months) and puppies should be litter screened (usually between 6 and 8 weeks old) as RD and other potential problems can be detected at this age.
Ask to see these certificates, and do not accept excuses for testing not being done. No-one can say their dogs are OK unless they test, and even those that test and breed from only dogs with Clear certificates may occasionally produce an affected puppy. By eye testing/litter screening, affected stock can be removed from breeding programs and carrier animals identified.
Further information on eye testing is available on the BVA site and there is a list of testing dates/locations on the ISDS site.
Our thanks to German Spitz World for allowing us to use this page.