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Hip scores - what do they mean?

Hip Scoring

Open to dogs at least 12 months of age, and is evaluated using a single radiographic view of the pelvis in extension. A general anaesthetic is required to undergo hip x-rays. If you want to get your dog's hips x-rayed, the procedure can be found on the website of the Lykos Wolfalike Council of Australia here

Hip dysplasia is an abnormality in the hip joints. These abnormalities include changes to the shape of the hip, ball and socket and the development of osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis). Changes to the hip joint will begin at a young age as the puppy starts to become more active and will usually get worse over time due to 'wear and tear'.  The severity of hip dysplasia can vary from a poorly shaped hip joint with osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis) to a very deformed hip joint with advanced and very painful osteoarthritis.


There are 9 criteria evaluated, with scores between 0-6 allocated for each, except for the caudal acetabular edge which is scored out of 5.  The scores for the right and left are added together to give a total score.  The lower the score the better. The minimum (best) score is 0 and the maximum is 53 for each hip is considered severely dysplatsic. The total range of the scoring is 0 to 106, with 0 being the best, and 106 being the worst.

Currently and since the commencement of the breeding program, the Lykos Wolfalike breed hip limit is set at a total of 10, but the breed average is a total of 5.  Total scores over 10 may be used for breeding in very special circumstances, which must be approved by the Lykos Wolfalike Council of Australia, as well as the Council's Health and genetics consultant veterinarian, Dr Ray Ferguson BVSc, with a future plan to monitor hip quality in the next generation via the additional PennHip method.

The nine anatomical features assessed in the BVA/KC scheme are the Norberg angle; Subluxation; Cranial acetabular edge; Dorsal acetabular edge; Cranial effective acetabular rim; Acetabular fossa; Caudal acetabular edge; Femoral head and neck exostoses; Femoral head recontouring.

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International Comparison of Hip scores


Out of 46 dogs, I have produced 3 dogs with hip scores over 10, including one only 2 points over. The other two are considered borderline and the very start of mild (i.e. scores between 10-26 via the BVA method). The higher scores acquaint to only 1% of pups produced and includes some pet-only dogs that have been scored.


For the most part, the higher scoring dogs were from excellent/good hip scored parents, grandparents so the higher scores were not expected.  With hip scores, outliers do occur, as even generations of excellent scoring parents can still produce an affected dog.  If the issue did not have a polygenetic/multifactorial mode of inheritance with environmental factors, it was easy to eradicate – but it’s something all breeders need to be screen for and be aware of. 

To date, progeny directly from the higher scoring parent have passed PennHip evaluation which tests the likelihood of the dog developing osteoarthritis, scoring better than 90% of other dogs (12,389) tested under the PennHip method, which is a great result.


Additionally, the total average hip score of all dogs (pet or breeding and that I have used) is a great, low score of 5.  35% of dogs (bred by Lykosia) produced have been hip and elbow x-rayed.


Not only does hip scoring non-breeding dogs provide more important data for our developing breed, it also gives owners information and piece of mind on the status of their dog's hips and whether their puppy is at future risk of developing hip dysplasia/arthritis.

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