New statistics show impact of BVA/KC Hip and Elbow Schemes

25 January 2016    16:52

The latest data from the Hip and Elbow Schemes show a clear and sustained reduction in the incidence and severity of these conditions, clearly demonstrating that responsible breeding, supported by testing, can make a difference to the health and welfare of dogs.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club jointly run the Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Schemes to screen dogs for certain inherited conditions. Owners and breeders use the results from the schemes to make informed breeding decisions to help produce healthier puppies and work towards eliminating debilitating inherited conditions.

Results from the Hip Dysplasia Scheme, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, showed improvements in the median scores of 20 of the 21 most-scored breeds over the last 15 years, indicating a reduction in the incidence and severity of hip dysplasia in scored dogs. The remaining breed, Tibetan Terrier, has maintained a low median score for the entire period.

Results from the Elbow Dysplasia Scheme give the numbers and percentage of the different grades (0-3) for all breeds combined for each year since 1998. This also shows a clear reduction in the incidence and severity of the condition in the dogs which have been assessed under the scheme, with a higher percentage dogs from all breeds achieving grade 0 (normal elbows) and fewer dogs grading 1, 2 and 3 (affected).

These findings show that health considerations are particularly important when it comes to mating, and it is vital that the risk of passing on inherited conditions is continually reduced.

Breeders who health test their dogs are having a sustained positive impact on dog health, and the Kennel Club encourage any breeder who does not currently use the schemes to do so, to enable the positive results to continue.

The Canine Health Schemes cover hip and elbow dysplasia as well as hereditary eye disease and Chiari-malformation/Syringomyelia. Breeders interested in using Canine Health Schemes testing should contact their vet for further information.

The statistics and additional information about the Canine Health Schemes are available at


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