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Hi Everyone

After a lot of research and thought, my husband and I have decided to ad our first Irish Setter to our family.  We are very excited!

We live in South Africa and, unfortunately, there are only a hand full of reputable breeders in the country.  I have found a wonderful breeder who really seems to care about her dogs and the breed as a whole; she has also had all her dogs cleared of PRA and CLAD and hip scored.

She has just had a litter of beautiful pups from two of her show champion setters.  The problem is that the dad's hip score is B and the mom's hip score is D.

The mom is just over 4 years old now and she is not showing any signs of discomfort or problems with her hips.  Same with the dad.

My question is, would you buy a pup from this litter?  How high would the risks be for major hip dysplasia?

I need to ad that we would consider breeding with the pup (we are looking for a female pup) if she is healthy.

I would greatly appreciate your advice on this.

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South Africa recently changed to the FCI rating system. I found this chart that attempts to compare the different rating systems, although only in very broad terms:


A D score basically means moderate hip displasia and I guess there is no way around that. Even if the bitch is mated with a dog with a good hips, she will still be passing the bad-hip recessive genes on to her pups - even if they have great hips (because of the dominant good-hip genes from their dad), the bad-hip genes will still turn up somewhere down the line.

The risks are high (as you all have said) and they are too high considering the fact that I am looking for a female pup to possibly breed with later.

It is difficult, though, saying goodbuy to the thought of that happy, bouncy puppy on its way to our home in a few weeks time...

I would never buy a pup from a breeder who breeds a bitch with such a high hip score, regardless of the sire's score!! You are still introducing a high score into the line, even if it doesnt show up for a generation or two! Why bother getting hips scored and then ignoring the guidelines of the experts, who say to only breed from dogs with hips below a particular score?? I see so many hip score results published, of brood bitches and stud dogs(BVA) that are higher than the recommended 15(Max)! After all a D or equivalent is moderate hip displasia which ever way you look at it!! I hope you find a pup from parents who both have good hips;o))
Hi Estelle
perhaps this link can help:

Interesting how many comparison charts there seem to be.......the two linked in this discussion are different in their interpretation. I personally believe the chart linked in Margaret's comment to be the more accurate of the two.
May I say that you can mate dogs and bitches with low hip scores for generations and still end up with a dysplastic litter. Genetic heritability is far more complicated than just a straightforward dominant or a straightforward recessive. If it were then hip dysplasia would have been eradicated long ago.
Please don't think that I am advocating breeding from dogs with higher hip scores regardless. All I am saying is although it should be given careful consideration it should not be the overwhelming factor in a breeding programme. There are many dogs who live a normal and fulfilled life with moderate dysplasia as there are many dogs who have low hip scores and who can barely move.
May I ask Ereni whether the sire and dam of her dog were hip scored?
I agree with Eva C's view on this as a breeding program has to consider a multitude of factors when selecting breed mates. If, for example, Breedmate A has a very low hip score, however carried a genetic familial major health issue and Breedmate B has a high hip score however the line is very clean and doesn't carry any other health conditions, then all these factors need to be weighed up as well as all the other factors including the construction of the dog, etc.

Certainly if all other factors were equal and one had a low score and one had a high score, you would definitely choose the dog with the low score.

As it is the bitch with the higher score, did the breeder have this as their only option to continue their line? Has this bitch come from a line of "higher" hip scores or is this bitch the "exception" to the average hip score from the line.

I think these are all important considerations and would be valuable to have answers to them to help you make a decision!

I would be interested to know how big the gene pool is in South Africa?
"May I say that you can mate dogs and bitches with low hip scores for generations and still end up with a dysplastic litter" perhaps the reason for this could be that not all the dogs in the line were hip scored(further back in the pedigree?) Hip scoring is relatively new and not all breeders from many years ago got their dogs checked, and there are some people who still dont??,so there may be many hidden high hips further back in any line. It just makes sense to only breed from dogs with good hips to see how genetic hip problems really are!! If breeders continue to throw in moderate dysplasia into the lines then we will never know for sure the outcome!! Perhaps kennel clubs should not register litters from parents who have high hip scores, after all some kennel clubs are trying to promote fit for function policy!!
Carmel, many continental kennel clubs won't register litters from dogs higher than a 'C' hip. Switzerland and Sweden only register from 'A' or 'B' hip matings. When you think that a 'B' hip in Sweden is the equivalent of total 6 (out of 106) in the UK it can wipe out virtually otherwise fit healthy and sound moving dogs and open the door to dogs with other defects which breeders could be forced to use just because they have a good score. A low hip score is no guarantee of sound movement nor low hip scores.
Irish Setter breeders in the UK are getting better and more and more breeding stock is being hip scored every year. It adds another string to your bow in your endeavours to breed healthy dogs. However, GSDs have subscribed to hip scoring programmes for years and they are still no further down the line of eradicating this problem.
I will breed from my young bitch next year. Her hip score is a total of 7. Her sire is 8, her dam is 'A' hip. The whole litter has been scored and all her siblings are either'A' or 'B'. The dog I am planning to use is an 'A' hip..........we will see................
I agree that a "B" is a good score here (BVA!! ) I believe we need to try to lower our scores going by the BVA mean score which is at the moment 15 or lower!! So your dogs have very good scores!! We have to work with animals we have here!! And a good breeder does not just look at the hips only but must look at all health issues before mating takes place!! Well done on your excellent hips Eva;o))
Oh Carmel....I wish mine were as good as my dogs!!!!!!! I am most definitely dysplastic...plus the arthritis....I have no hope!!!!!!!
Dee to answer your first point....most breeders now go to experienced radiographers or vets who know how to take a good and clear x-ray. The BVA return plates that they cannot read or where they feel the dog isn't positioned correctly, so that is not a problem anymore.
Could you expand on your second point please.
In the UK we can still breed and register litters from dogs that have not been hip scored whereas on the Continent it is not possible. I think the time will come when the UK KC will fall into line.
I had my dog hip scored for two reasons....firstly because he was being used at stud and following on from that because it was the responsible thing to do and secondly, in this litigious society a breeder has to safeguard herself and her breeding stock or leave herself vulnerable should things go wrong.
Cheryl makes a valuable point. Maybe this bitch is the only option to continue her line. In which case mating her to a 'B' hip dog is the best way.
In any case, Estelle has answered her own question.........if there is the slightest doubt in her mind then she must walk away.
Good luck Estelle!!
Oh Carmel, by the way.......I am just the stud dog owner. It's Camilla who bred my bitch so credit for the litter must go to her. I believe she has in her puppy contract that all the pups from her litters are to be hip scored whether they are bred from or not. It is the best way to monitor this condition.
Credit to you and Camilla ;o)
I would never never buy a puppy from this litter. My dog's hip score is D, and he is have more and more problems with his hips. She is only four years old, she can get problems later on. Health should be priority number one when breeding.




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