Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) occurs in most breeds of dogs including mixed breeds. A dog that has hip dysplasia is said to be dysplastic and has hip joints that are not formed perfectly. CHD is a common canine inherited condition that is not apparent at birth, the imperfection can be slight or severe. Environmental factors such as nutrition and exercise also influence the development of hip dysplasia. The dysplastic dog may experience no pain or problems from its condition or it may experience mild to severe discomfort when moving. Veterinary prescribed anti-inflammatory medication can control the symptoms in milder cases. Management includes keeping weight off, regular moderate exercise, medical management, and, in some cases, surgery. Hip dysplasia can only be properly diagnosed by an x-ray.

The Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph has suspended its evaluation program for hip and elbow dysplasia evaluation effective October 31. Evaluations of pass done prior to this date are still acceptable. Visit their website to search for dogs in their database.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is an organization of Veterinary Orthopedists. (see They evaluate hip x-rays that are submitted to them. An x-ray taken of a dog less than two years old will receive only a temporary Preliminary rating. An x-ray of a dog two years old or older evaluated as not dysplastic will receive a permanent certificate with an OFA number and rating status of Excellent, Good or Fair. If the dog is determined to be dysplastic, only a rating as to the degree of dysplasia from Mild to Severe will be provided. The PWDCA maintains a database of all the PWD’s who have been evaluated by the OFA and found to show no signs of having CHD at age 24 months or older.

PennHIP is a not-for-profit program wholly owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania. They develop and apply evidence-based technology to direct appropriate breeding strategies aimed at reducing the frequency and severity the of osteoarthritis in canine hip dysplasia. PennHIP incorporates a new method for evaluating the integrity of the canine hip. It is accurate in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. PennHIP uses a unique method, an index, to measure hip joint laxity. The method is quantitative (i.e., it assigns a number to joint laxity) as opposed to being qualitative or subjective. The index is not as vulnerable to observer errors commonly associated with subjective measurement systems. To obtain proper diagnostic radiographs, the musculature around the hip must be completely relaxed and so the dog must be under deep sedation or general anesthesia. (Source website)

BVA/KC, British Veterinary Association, Kennel Club is used in Britain, Ireland, Australia/New Zealand to score each jip joint on 9 specific radiographic criteria. Each critereion is scored from 0 ideal, to 6 worst. Final hip score is offered as the sum betwwen 0 and 53 for each hip joint and as the sum of both hips (0-106) Scoring is done by threee panelists our of a group of certified radiologists or small animal surgeons. BVA recommends breeding from dogs scoring below 10 for both hips or clearly below breed mean score. The scores per breed are listed on their website.

FCI, Federation Cynologique Internationale, is the organization of more than 80 national kennel authorities, located in Europe, Russia, South America and Asia. Their system of grading hips consists of 5 grades from A, normal hip joint, no sign of Hip Dysplasia, B near normal hip joints, C mild hip dysplasia, D moderate hip dysplaysia to E indicating severe hip dysplasia. Dogs must be at least one year old and evaluation is recommended for dogs from one to two years, as secondary changes may occur after that age, and hips are usually scored by a single scrutineer per breed club per country. (Source website)

All dogs considered for breeding should be evaluated for CHD by either the OFA, PennHIP, BVA or FCI.