Thursday, August 12, 2010


I’ve recently discussed here about some of those breeders that knowingly breed to animals that have genetic health problems or those that breed to dogs that have undesirable temperaments. But what about those breeders that don’t x-ray their dogs that they use for their breeding program or breed to dogs that is not x-rayed? The majority of stud dog owners do x-ray their dogs and many of them are OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certified. Then there are those others that are not concerned about x-raying their dogs because they say that the animals in his dog’s pedigree come from good hips.

Would you breed your x-rayed bitch to a stud dog that wasn’t x-rayed or had an OFA number showing that he’s certified? Do you think it’s an important part of having a good breeding program or do you think it’s just one more nuisance that you don’t want to be bothered with? And speaking of x-raying, how important are those elbow x-rays? And what do you think of some of those dogs that only have an OFA number for hips attached to the back of their name? Does this mean the dog’s elbows were x-rayed and he doesn’t have good elbows? Would you breed to a dog that only has one set of OFA numbers for his hips and not his elbows?

I believe that more and more breeders are conscientious about x-raying their breeding stock. I personally haven’t heard about too many animals that are crippled from dysplastic hips or elbows, although I’m sure other people have.

So here’s a question for you. If you x-rayed your animal and he or she didn’t have perfect hips or elbows and wouldn’t OFA certify would you still use him/her for your breeding program? In order to answer a question like that, one would also want to know about the litter mates to the animal that you are considering breeding? Were they x-rayed? Were there others in the litter that didn’t have good hips and elbows? What about the parents and the grandparents? Were they all OFA certified?

Some breeders feel that if they x-ray their bitch and she won’t certify because one of her hips is not as good at the other one, they will breed her anyway. They feel that if she is of superior quality that they will take a chance on breeding her and only to stud dogs that are OFA certified and come from a long line of OFA certified dogs and bitches in their pedigree. Are they taking a chance? Well of course they are. We all know that even dogs that are OFA certified can produce bad hips. There are no guarantees when you elect to breed dogs.

Do you feel as a breeder that you owe it to your puppy buyers to have the parents of the puppies that you’re selling be OFA certified or at least having been x-rayed? What responsibilities do you owe your puppy buyers? It is after all about more then producing the prettiest puppies. It’s about producing the healthiest puppies as well.

I think if one goes on the Parent Club website (The GSDCA) and you were to look at the stud dogs that have produced winning progeny, more times than not, you will see that those dogs have OFA numbers. Speaking of stud dogs, there are some stud dog owners that will not even allow a bitch to be bred to their dog unless she too has a certified number.

Now there are different degrees of dysplastic hips and elbows. As I said, some breeders will breed a bitch that doesn’t have perfect hips. But where do you draw the line as to what you will breed and ones that you will not breed? Would you breed one that is slightly dysplastic or would you breed one that has one good hip and the other is more severely dysplastic? Is there a line that you draw as far as considering using these animals in your breeding program? And would you tell your puppy buyers about the mother’s hips?

Will you only breed to a stud that has both OFA hips and elbows? If you see a stud with only an OFA number for his hips and not for his elbows, do you automatically eliminate using that dog in your breeding program?

There will be those breeders that will say there are too many things to take into consideration when choosing breeding partners. They will further argue that the whole dog’s package both physically and mentally must be taken into consideration. What do you think…..only breed good hips/elbows or is it ever alright to breed those that don’t qualify for an OFA number?

From the book: THE GENETIC CONNECTION: A GUIDE TO HEALTH PROBLEMS IN PUREBRED DOGS....The Genetic Connection: A Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs offers the most complete collection ever assembled of breed-specific information for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions with a genetic basis. For the veterinary practitioner and the serious breeder, The Genetic Connection covers more than 240 genetic disorders, including how they are genetically transmitted in different breeds, how they are best identified, and strategies to help prevent them from occurring in future generations. The book is cross-referenced by both condition within bodily systems and by breed. It includes an in-depth index and table of breeds, along with a detailed bibliography of supporting articles and texts. An appendix of the major players in canine genetics completes this substantial publication.

My rating: X-raying dogs BEFORE they're bred: (4)


  1. Barb
    I think every breeder must run their own breeding program as they see fit. if we look back some of the top Stud dogs in our breed had bad hips and it was never hid Look at Sel Ch. Proven Hill's Up N Adam ROM people were even paying $1000.00 for frozen on him years after he passed. Sel Ch. Gonvi Ruklakar's Manny ROM had a bad hip. Was it wrong or right for people to use these boy? Again it has to be the breeder who has to make this decision but as long as they are honest with the puppy buyers you have to say its their program.

  2. Thanks Gerald for your honest opinion about this!

  3. My cut and dried opinion is no on the hips. Elbows I would PREFER to be x rayed, and these days most are x rayed. If the stud's elbows weren't x-rayed, I would ask why.

    As the owner and future breeder of not only conformation dogs, but PERFORMANCE dogs, it is NON NEGOTIABLE on hips and elbows. Regardless of whether certain animals of mine are ever even BRED, hips and elbows will be done!

    - Jackie

  4. Thanks for sharing your opinion Jackie!