Breeders are encouraged to screen for hip and elbow dysplasia, and retain their records. Dogs with moderate or severe hip dysplasia, or a combined hip score of 20 or above should generally not be used for breeding. Dogs who have hip scores in the mildly dysplastic (09-19) range should not be excluded from breeding, but ideally should be mated with dogs with excellent-fair (00-08) hips.
The strength of this recommendation is limited by the lack of an adequate Australian hip-score database and of necessity our guidance must differ from that issued in the breed’s home country. Clinical hip dysplasia is rare in the breed.
Hip scoring of individual dogs in isolation does not provide breeders with enough information or strategy to make major improvements to breed hip health. Nevertheless, it is an important issue for breeders as the condition can impact markedly on a dog’s quality of life if it is clinically severe.
Hip dysplasia is only moderately heritable. For screening to be truly effective in improving the health of the breed it requires high levels of screening participation, computerised data, and the calculation of estimated breeding values (EBV) to allow consistent long-term choices of “better than breed average” stud and bitch combinations. If an EBV is to be calculated it is critical that all scores, including poor ones are disclosed. (FCI-IBS 4.1).
The Finnish Lapphund average hip score in Finland is B, with D and E hips being uncommon. The average hip score of the Lapphund in Finland has improved from B/C to B with 20 years of screening.
In the USA, The Finnish Lapphund average OFA hip score is ‘Fair’ with both excellent and dysplastic hips being uncommon. (Data retrieved Feb 17 for all historical OFA scoring till December 2016)
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) no longer administers the Australian hip-scoring scheme (CHEDS). Of the 103 Australian Finnish Lapphunds that were screened under the CHEDS scheme until 2014, the average score was 10.3, with ranges from 0 to 40.
The Australian national canine hip screening scheme is significantly unlike its Finnish equivalent. The scheme in Australia is now administered by the ANKC. “Score Shopping” is an acknowledged practice and referred to on the ANKC website for ORCHID, the national canine health database. (www.pedigreeblue.com. Accessed February 2017.) There are plans to make selected data in ORCHID publicly available but only with owner consent. It is the opinion of the FLCNSW that this will be of limited value without full disclosure of all hip scores and EBV calculations. There are unfortunately no known plans for a national EBV scheme for hips. Further discussion is beyond the scope of this current guideline. For the time being, it is acknowledged that screening any potential breeding stock and excluding the rare dysplastic dogs may be the only available hip-improvement option for Australian breeders. Screening of breeding dogs is recommended both to exclude severely affected dogs, and to collect data for a point in time where the breed community may have tools available for a better strategy.
(FLCNSW recommendation, supported by JTO)