items listed on the scoring sheet are all details of the anatomy of the hip joint that can
be seen on an x-ray film. Of these features 8
are scored out of 6 with 0 being normal. One of these, the Caudal Acetabular Edge, is
scored out of 5. Therefore the worst possible
score for each hip is 53 with the worst combined score being 106.
How are these scores
used? Obviously the ideal situation would be
to breed only with dogs that have a 0 score. However this is unacceptable as doing so
could eliminate 80% of some breeds so a compromise had to be reached which allows the
retention of sufficient breeding stock but will decrease the severity and incidence of the
disease. It is up to the breed societies and
clubs to set the standards that are acceptable for breeding and a number have done so. If there are no breed guidelines then
the best reference is to look at the mean score for the breed. If the dog has a score for any one hip that is
greater than ½ the breed mean or there is a
score of greater than 3 for any one the listed features then it should not be used for
breeding. If a mean score for the breed is not
available then if any one hip scores greater than 8 or any one feature greater than3 the
advice is not to use for breeding.
THE GRADING SYSTEM
There is not a direct
relationship between scoring and grading which causes considerable confusion. The grading is done on the worst hip only. Because
of differences in the assessment methods it is possible, though uncommon, for dog with a
relatively low score to have a relatively high grade.
Generally speaking it is considered acceptable to breed from dogs with
grades 0, 1, 2, and 3 and not from grades 4, 5, and 6.
It is probable that the
grading system will stop being used sometime in the near future.