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to Breed or not to Breed ...

Breeding dogs needs to be a responsible voluntary decision, not an accident or something that you do because it would be cute to have puppies. Every one of those pups could be the responsiblity of their owner for up to 20 years in the future, and they do not remain a puppy for long. Breeding a livestock guardian means you should be providing people with a robust, healthy dog capable of guarding against large predators for an average of 12 years, sometimes longer.

So if you have had an xray and hip score performed on you dog or bitch and the result is not good, should you breed from that animal? The answer is no, but it is also not a completely simple answer.

If you haven't read the section on genetics of dysplasia, read that section now to assist you in working out why breeders need to make informed breeding choices.

OFA recommend to breeders that they choose their breeding partners by:

  • only breed normal hip scored animals together - in other words, don't take a dog with a normal score and breed a poor scored animal to it thereby introducing dysplastic genes
  • only breed normal hip scored animals to others that have normal scoring ancestry
  • select sires that show they produce a low incidence of hip dysplasia
  • check your bloodline scores against the breed average and always breed with dogs that are higher than the average.

Typical maremma sheepdog puppy from parents test clear of canine hip dysplasia

I would add that another thing breeders can do to help prevent hip dysplasia in their bloodlines is to give high quality information to their puppy buyers on how to raise thier puppy correctly - the importance of nutrition on the growing pup, what constitutes too much food and what constitutes correct and enough exercise.

Links to article sections for Canine Hip Dysplasia:

Introduction What is canine hip dysplasia?
Normal hips description and xray image of normal dog hips
Abnormal / dysplastic hips understand what it means to say hips are abnormal or dysplastic
Symptoms of dysplasia signs to watch for in your dog
Diagnosing dysplasia how canine hip dysplasia is diagnosed
Interventions and management what are the treatment options for canine hip dysplasia?
Genetics of dysplasia is canine hip dysplasia inherited or caused by environment?
Breeding decisions how do I know if I should breed my dogs?
The AVA/ANKC hip dysplasia scoring scheme an explanation of how this scoring scheme is used
PennHIP® method an explanation of the PennHIP radiographic method

male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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