Dear Daisy Dog
I have been thinking about having my Labrador retrievers checked for hip dysplasia before I breed them. Do you recommend this?
If the tests show that only one of the dogs has hip dysplasia, is it okay to breed them? If both are negative, will their puppies be free of hip dysplasia?
By all means, have them checked.
The only valid reason to breed dogs is to improve the quality of the breed.
An essential part of a good breeding program is ensuring that breeding animals are free of common inherited diseases, such as hip dysplasia, which causes arthritis, pain and debilitation.
Ask your veterinarian to use PennHIP procedures to x-ray both dogs’ hips. The PennHIP report will tell you exactly how tight each dog’s hips are, and it will compare their hips to other Labs’ hips.
Another organization that evaluates hip x-rays, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, provides only a qualitative assessment of the hips.
If either dog has loose hips, don’t breed him or her, because the puppies will be more likely to develop hip dysplasia.
If both dogs have tight hips, the risk of hip dysplasia in the puppies is diminished. However, many factors influence the development of hip dysplasia, including how fast the pup puts on weight and whether the dog becomes overweight.
For more information on hip dysplasia, see www.pennhip.org and www.offa.org.