Hip Dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation.


Symptoms include stiffness, avoidance of physical activity, requiring assistance with mobility, growling when moving, popping sounds coming from the hip, sensitivity to the touch in the hip area, muscles may lose tone or mass and may also shake or tremble due to muscle weakness.


Treatment methods vary depending on the level of dysplasia and include:

  • weight control
  • exercise management
  • keep the dog in a warm environment
  • drugs including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, glycosaminoglycan and hyaluronate, nutraceuticals, injectable disease-modifying osteoarthritis agents
  • surgery

 Test method

For OFA hip evaluations, radiographs of the dog’s hip joints are done by a veterinarian. The dog may or may not be sedated for this. The x-rays are sent to the OFA who have three independent radiologists evaluate the films and assign a grade to them which is reported to the OFA. The final grade is determined by the average of the three.

PennHIP x-rays must be done with the dog under anesthesia and uses a positioning device called a distractor to demonstrate hip laxity.

 Genetic/breeder information

The phenotypic evaluation of hips done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals falls into seven different categories. Those categories are Normal (Excellent, Good, Fair), Borderline, and Dysplastic (Mild, Moderate, Severe). Once each of the radiologists classifies the hip into one of the 7 phenotypes above, the final hip grade is decided by a consensus of the 3 independent outside evaluations.

The hip grades of Excellent, Good and Fair are within normal limits and are given OFA numbers. This information is accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent identification (tattoo, microchip) and is in the public domain. Radiographs of Borderline, Mild, Moderate and Severely dysplastic hip grades are reviewed by the OFA radiologist and a radiographic report is generated documenting the abnormal radiographic findings. Unless the owner has chosen the open database, dysplastic hip grades are not in the public domain.

PennHip evaluation reports are not pass-fail. Instead, each dog is ranked compared to other dogs of that breed. A dog with a percentile ranking of 30 percent has tighter hips than 30 percent of the dogs evaluated. In other words, 70 percent of the dogs evaluated have tighter hips than the patient.

 Stats within CdT breed

From 1974 – 2012 there were 703 hip evaluations submitted to the OFA. Of those, 9.5% were excellent and 8.8% were dysplastic. Of the dogs born 2006-2010 show of 226 evaluations, 10.2% were excellent and 6.2% dysplastic. These results are indicative of improved breeding strategies.

Further info links,

Source of data