Hip and elbow dysplasia to be tackled in two more breeds with new breeding resource

The Dogue de Bordeaux and Newfoundland are the latest breeds to be provided with Estimated Breeding Values, an online resource that helps breeders breed away from hip and elbow dysplasia. 

Following consultation with breed clubs, the Kennel Club has developed Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for elbow grades in the Newfoundland and hip scores in the Dogue de Bordeaux.

This valuable resource is supported by complex calculations that assess the risk that a dog may have inherited or may pass on genes associated with these conditions. EBVs utilise Kennel Club pedigree data to link hip and elbow scores for an individual dog, recorded through the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club health schemes, with the available scores of all its relatives. This delivers a more accurate way of measuring genetic risk than by using an individual’s hip scores or elbow grades alone.

EBVs form part of the Kennel Club’s Mate Select online service that helps breeders to make informed, health conscious breeding choices based on robust data. Mate Select also allows breeders and puppy buyers to see the health test results for every Kennel Club registered dog and the degree of inbreeding (or the Coefficient of Inbreeding) – and so potential health risk - for a hypothetical mating.

EBVs were originally developed with scientists at the Animal Health Trust, the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Currently, EBVs are available for twenty nine breeds. As more breeders continue to hip and elbow score their dogs using the BVA/KC schemes, it is hoped that more breeds will be added in the near future.

Dr Tom Lewis, Quantitative Geneticist for the Kennel Club, said “The latest EBVs for the Newfoundland and Dogue de Bordeaux will be available as part of the Kennel Club’s online Mate Select resource, which helps breeders to make the best breeding choices.

“We hope that anyone breeding pedigree dogs, will use – and be encouraged by the veterinary community and their peers to use – Mate Select, which helps dog breeders make decisions based on robust data that estimates genetic risk, something that will undoubtedly help to protect the future of our pedigree dogs.

“EBVs make use of data collected through the British Veterinary Association and Kennel Club hip and elbow dysplasia schemes. By continuing to hip score and elbow grade breeders are effectively securing the future for countless other dogs. The more data we collect, the more accurate our EBV resource becomes.

“The inclusion of a growing number of EBVs on Mate Select is an example of how breed clubs, the veterinary profession, researchers, and the Kennel Club are working together to improve canine health.”

The latest EBVs were developed for both the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Newfoundland because of the good rate of participation in the relevant health screening scheme. The Breed Health Coordinator for the Newfoundland made a request for the development of an EBV for elbow grade and the development of an EBV for hip dysplasia was identified as an action point in the Dogue de Bordeaux Breed Health and Conservation Plan, a recent Kennel Club initiative to help improve pedigree dog health. The Breed Health and Conservation Plans project aims to use and identify gaps in scientific research and findings to help each breed identify health concerns and create a strategy on how to improve health. 

EBVs currently exist for 28 breeds – Airdale Terrier, Akita, Alaskan Malamute,  Bearded Collie, Bernese Mountain Dog, Border Collie, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue de Bordeaux, English Setter, Flat Coated Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Hungarian Puli, Hungarian Vizsla, Irish Setter, Italian Spinone, Labrador Retriever, Large Munsterlander, Leonberger, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Tibetan Terrier, Weimaraner and Welsh Springer Spaniel. Newfoundlands become the sixth breed to have EBVs for both hip score and elbow grade (along with Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers and Bernese Mountain Dogs).

Read more information regarding Estimated Breeding Values.

Visit our health section to read more information on the BVA/KC Health Screening Schemes, Breed Health and Conservation Plans and other Kennel Club health initiatives and resources.