The long/heavy fins are actually not a natural variation in the species.....its something that has been created in captivity through selective breeding over many many many generations for show and aesthetic purposes. PK/HMPKs with their shorter fins are a little closer to the natural form and finnage of a betta.
I wouldn't say that that makes them stronger or that they have any healthier genes then any other tail type, but because of their shorter fins they do often have much less fin-related issues like biting/tearing and rot, IME, and don't have quite as much trouble getting around without all that heavy finnage weighting them down, so they're often a little more spunky/active as well.
Dragon is right. The shorter tails are just closer to the original. The breeding for heavier tails and fins is quite unnatural and unfair. Crowntails are not so bad because they can get water getting between the spikes but to me it still seems like a crowntail swimming in a current is like riding a bike uphill on the lowest gear.
Plakats are still used in Asia as fighting fish- with proper breeding lines and imported from Asian farms I guess you could get a stronger fish but most stores sell American bred.
I usually read about people's HM's getting ripped torn fins and alongside their shape is the reason I don't want one. Lude might be my last VT if my province gets in short fins anytime soon.
I've had similar problems and it's just all due to the high maintenance fins of a betta. My crowntail never had fin issues, my HM and DTHM both have had fin rot and torn fins. I've never owned a plakat but I'd like to.
Have to admit, that after having a fin biter, and a boy who was just constantly ill, my HMPK is super healthy. He had a little bit of an issue when I first got him, still have no idea what it was but 5 days in AQ salt fixed it.
In my very limited experience, they seem to be a tad bit more... sturdy? than the long finned breeds, and boy! can they get some speed! I think the biggest thing is their fins are shorter, which are less prone to damage and rot which compromises the immune system of the entire fish as they fight off fin rot or whatever happens to be ailing them
My plakat is the healthiest, most resilient fish I've had! Solid black I am planning on breeding him on Saturday, before he gets to old. They are closer to what bettas were before they were "tampered" with by humans, so it makes sense if they are stronger genetically, but I think the lack of long fins is their main advantage. Laki made a great analogy with the bike, a plakat is like a bike on flat ground, a ct is going uphill on low gear,and a hm would be going up a hill on high gear.
I guess. There was an overstocked 5g in the lps nearby with 25female pk but they didn't last long in there. I think the only decent source for pk would be breeders here. There is 1 lrs or lps that's not a chain store and they seem to have trouble getting pk even when they can contact the source. Maybe they still go with popular choices but it did inquire into a pk there. So far they still have long finned betta.
I'd venture to buy a pk in Plattsburgh but I doubt it can cross the border.