Hip scoring gives a numerical quality score to a dog’s hips. The degree to which a dog is affected by hip dysplasia is represented by a score given to each hip. This score ranges from 0 to 106 (0 to 53 for each hip), with a score of 0 representing the least degree of hip dysplasia and 53 representing the most.
Why Do you get a Hip Score?
Hip scoring is done to determine weather or not your dog has Hip Dysplasia which means abnormal development which may be inherited by future generations. Good hips are an indication of good build, and are therefore used as a requirement in quality breeding.
How do you Get a Hip Score?
Hip scoring is done by taking an X-ray of your dog’s hips once they are fully grown (usually around 18 months, but it can be done from 12 months). To do this you will have to make an appointment with your vet.
For the dog to hold still during this procedure they are put under a general anaesthetic.
The vet takes the X-ray to the KESCAVA Hip Score board to be assessed by a panel of experts. Results are sent to the East Africa Kennel Club for recording on the dog’s registration and published in our newsletter.
The vet board analyses the X-ray with a panel of experts and issues a “score” which is returned to you via the vet and EAKC.
What does the result mean?
A hip score is not something you want to get high marks for!
The hip score is the sum of the points awarded for each of nine aspects of the X-rays of both hip joints. The best (minimum) hip score is 0 and the worst (maximum) is 106 (53 for each hip). An average score is calculated for all breeds scored under the scheme and advice for breeders is to use only breeding stock with scores well below the breed mean score.
The minimum age for hip scoring is one year, and each dog is only ever scored once under the scheme.
Hip dysplasia is a common inherited orthopaedic problem where abnormalities occur in the hip joints. These abnormalities include changes to the shape of the hip, ball and socket and the development of osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis).
Changes to the hip joint will begin at a young age as the puppy starts to become more active and will get worse over time. These changes can lead to excessive wear and tear of the joint, causing one or both hip joints to become defective. At this stage the hip joint(s) may be painful and can have serious effects on the health, behaviour and welfare of the dog.
The severity of hip dysplasia can vary from a poorly shaped hip joint with osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis) to a very deformed hip joint with advanced and very painful osteoarthritis.
Having a low hip score is an important part of quality breeding. The EAKC offers Blue Certificates for puppies who were bred out of parents who are both hip scored and attained a reasonable score (20 and under). While there is never a guarantee in breeding, a breeder who has taken the time to make a careful assessment of their dogs and receives blue certificates can rest assured that they have done the best to make good decisions on choosing their breeding stock.
A pink certificate is issued to those puppies whose parents combined hip score is under 40, but one of the two is slightly over the ideal threshold. This indicates that the breeder has made an informed decision about their breeding stock. Sometimes a high hip score is due to injury to the joint and therefor will not be genetically relevant.
White certificates are issued when one or both of the parents have not been checked for hip dysplasia. This means that less care was taken in the breeding and puppies with this colour documentation could therefor be at risk of having inherited hip disease.
Plan to hip Score your Dog?
When you are planning to Hip Score your dog, please apply for the pre-filled Hip score form from us to prevent errors from affecting your reading. Once you have completed this application the EAKC Office will be in touch to confirm when it is ready for collection.
Only applications made with this original form will be accepted after 01 July 2022.
To qualify for Hip Dysplasia Scoring, dogs of small and medium size breeds must be over 12 months old and Large or Giant breed dogs must be over 18 months old.
The definition of Small to Medium breed size dogs
includes but is not limited to
Beagles, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Labrador Retrievers
Large or Giant breed dogs
includes but is not limited to
Rottweilers, Caucasian Shepherds, Mastiffs and Great Danes
The KVB KESCAVA Hip Assessment Panel meets every 2 months, on the third Wednesday to assess the submitted X-rays.
Please apply before the second Wednesday of the month of reading. Submissions received after this deadline cannot be reviewed in the same month.