Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a common inherited orthopaedic problem of dogs. Abnormal development of the structures that make up the hip joint leads to joint deformity. ‘Dysplasia’ means abnormal growth. The developmental changes appear first and later one or both hip joints may become mechanically defective. At this stage the joint(s) may be painful and cause lameness. In extreme cases the dog may find movement very difficult and may suffer considerably. However it is known that dogs with poor hip structure can develop muscles that support the joints and they will live long and active lives. The BVA and the Kennel Club founded the Hip Dysplasia Scheme in 1965 to assess the degree of hip deformity of dogs using radiography. It is a condition that is known to affect Clumber Spaniels therefore the Clumber Spaniel Club has always encouraged the use of the KC/BVA hip scoring scheme for Clumbers, particularly for breeding stock.
The screening is by examination of radiographs taken by a vet and the radiographs (x-rays) are graded by a panel of veterinary experts based at BVA.
The dog must be at least one year old but there is no upper age limit. Each hip (right and left) is examined for nine different anatomical features and a numerical score is given ranging from 0 to 53. The total score is the combination of both hips e.g. 3:4 Total 7. Hips with a perfect radiographic appearance score 0; the higher the score, the greater the degree of hip dysplasia.
Currently the breed median is used rather than the average. The 5-year Rolling Trends in hip scoring show continuing improvement in hip health. The Median based on 15 years is 12 and over 5 years is 11.
Clumber Spaniel: 5-year Rolling Trends in Hip Scoring from 1992Clumber Spaniel 5yr trends
Clumber Spaniel hip scoring results are tabled here – Hip Scores
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs)
As a good proportion of the Clumber Spaniel population has been hip scored the Kennel Club have developed Estimated Breeding Values for the breed. This tool uses all screening data and pedigree information from the individual dog and its surrounding family, to more effectively determine the genetic risk that each dog will pass this disease to its progeny and is more accurate than by using an individual dog’s test score alone. As more related dogs are screened an individual’ dog’s EBV will be revised to reflect the additional data. This was introduced in 2015 and can be found on the KC Mate Select site.
BVA Breeding advice for hips:
Hip scores should be considered along with other criteria as part of a responsible breeding programme, and it is recommended that breeders choose breeding stock with hip scores around and ideally below the breed median score, depending on the level of HD in the breed. HD status of parents, siblings and progeny for Kennel Club registered dogs should also be considered.