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Hip Dysplasia and the SV

All encompassing agreement and great understanding: The breeders and members commented entirely positively on the introduction of the Breed Value Assessment for HD in the SV!

Countless phone calls and requests in the Head Office document the great interest, that the members of the SV, have in this scheme. The decision of the federal general meeting of the SV to introduce the Breed Value Assessment for HD is generally welcomed. The SV thereby fulfills it's great responsibility towards the welfare of the German Shepherd breed!

The result of the last few weeks makes it clear, however, that there is still a very great need for education. As a matter of fact only a very few of the callers know what this procedure is all about. It shows, that the articles on the Breed Value Assessment published so far in the SV Zeitung, were clearly given little attention, or were not understood properly. Rumors went around and produced a feeling of uncertainty.

The Breed Value Delegates of the Regional Groups (Landesgruppen) are now very much in demand, and also of course, the Regional Breed Wardens, and those of the Branches. (Ortsgruppen) It is now their responsibility to inform the members and breeders of the SV of the procedure of the Breed Value Assessment for HD and its strengths and virtues, and to completely and comprehensively clarify the matter.

The announced decision of many breeders, to adopt the Breed Value Assessment even before this becomes mandatory, (during July 99) and to adhere to this, until then not mandatory breeding plan, is very pleasing. With such wide spread support, the first successes in breeding towards a reduction of Hip Dysplasia in the German Shepherd Dog should soon be apparent!

The right answers to the most prevalent questions.

"Where can I take my dog to have his breed value assessed?", or "Which Breed Value is better, over 100 or under 100?" These are the questions about the Breed Value Assessment HD, that are put to the Head Office time and again.

That's why we have again compiled the most frequently made queries and Herr Dr. Beuing, the administrator of the project, answers them for you.

  1. How is the Breed Value HD worked out for my dog? What is the formula for it?
    There is no precise formula in these calculations. The Breed Value of every animal is considered "unknown" at the beginning of the calculations. Then an equation is put up for every animal, of the formula:

    HD = the breed average + Breed Value of this animal + variation of sex + other influences.

    In this equation the breed average, breed value and the effect of the sex are formulated as the "cause" of HD. In the SV, 450,000 equations are formulated for 450,000 animals, with the 450,000 unknown Breed Values. Then some supplementary conditions (stipulations or prerequisites) of the laws of inheritance and heredity are mathematically formulated. Following this, the computer has to solve the 450,000 equations with the 450,000 unknown factors. The answers are the assessed (estimated) Breed Values. This means that there is no formula, in which a dog's breed value is worked out on its own.

  2. What role does its own HD score play in my dog's HD Breed Value?
    The dog's own HD grade modifies that, which was already known about the line (sire and dam). Siblings, (same father and same mother) may differ through their own HD status. If an animal has progeny, its own HD status slips more and more into the background. With 30 - 40 progeny, it is practically of no consequence.

  3. How is a foreign "a" evaluated for the Breed Value Assessment?
    At the this time, dogs from abroad with the "a" are evaluated in the formulations as though they were not x-rayed. Their Breed Value Assessment is gained only through their x rayed relatives. As these animals cannot be clearly termed as "free" or "still Acceptable," an assumption in this case, would be unfair.

  4. How can a dog, that was not x -rayed, have a Breed Value for HD?
    In the system of equations (see Answer 1), there is a lateral clause, that the father (and the mother) give half of their genes to the progeny. Therefore the Breed Value of the progeny can be assessed or estimated, if nothing is known about the animal ( un x-rayed), as well as the breed value of the sire and dame known. In the same way, a parent can be assessed if the progeny is known, because progeny have one half of their genes from their parents. Siblings on the one hand help to characterize the parents, the knowledge about the breed value of the parents helps on the other hand, to assess the breed value of the untested siblings.

  5. How accurate can the Breed Value Assessment be, if for more than half of the whelps, no HD information is available?
    In the Breed Value Assessment, the percentage of the pups does not matter, but the absolute number. The last Sieger has at this point in time, 71 x-rayed progeny, who characterize his heredity well. In the breed Value Assessment it is not the percentage of the whelps that counts, but the total number! The last Sieger, at this point in time, has his heritage well demonstrated by 71 progeny.

  6. My bitch has passed on the "a" well up to now. What happens if I mate her to a dog that has a HD Breed Value over 100?
    If the bitch has produced well, this must be seen in her Breed Value. Good progeny however, can also be the result of good matings. If the bitch, for instance, is mated to a dog with a value of 100, then the risk for the puppies is higher. The bitch is only "accredited negatively" if the pups are worse than could be expected with that dog.

    Generally it is a fact that the stud dog owner would be well advised if he also accepted "poor" bitches, because with the poor bitches a dog can show plainly that he "improves."

    With HD, where there is no freer than free, it is difficult to prove a positive heritability of the top bitches.

  7. How do dogs that have no HD findings flow into the HD Breed Value calculations?
    At this stage un-x rayed animals are neutral for the Breed Value Assessment, they are not taken into consideration.

  8. What does the mean Breed Value of 100 mean, and the stated deviation of the standard of ten points mentioned in the breeding plan?
    The Breed Value of 100 means, that the animal's heredity is typical for the breed. At this time the breed mean is 1,71, that is between HD free and slight HD. What is passed on, can be better or worse than 100. The average deviation above or below this, will be set at 10 points for the mean.

  9. What does a Breed Value over 100 mean for my dog?
    The Breed Value for one's own dog means that he passes on poorly. As the breed average itself is still unsatisfactory, matings should be strived for, that lie under 100. With this, "you must not throw out the baby with the bath water." The first priority is working ability, Temperament and so on. If one finds a stud dog who brings the expectations for the pups (the average of father and mother) below the 100 value, that is sufficient.

  10. Conversely, what does a breed value below 100 mean for my dog?
    A Breed Value below 100 means, that there is a greater freedom in the choice of dogs firm in character, strong in performance and of good construction, even if their breed value is around 100. With a bitch value of 83, one can even accept a dog of 117!

  11. Can a Breed Value be worked out for criteria other than HD, and if yes, for which ones?
    A breed value Assessment can be taken for other characteristics. For this, it is important, that the characteristic is accurately defined. The inheritance of size, it is thought, will be described next. These breed values would then be purely for the breeders' information in their breeding plans. There will be no editions published for this.

Dr. Reiner Beuing
University of Gießen

Comments from Ed Frawley

Here is the content of a post to my web board that is food for thought on HD:

There was a very good long term study done on the effects of overfeeding in dogs as it relates to HD. To cancel out the effects of genetics and focus just on food intake, they randomly divided Lab pups from several litters into two groups. One group (the ad libitum-fed control group) was allowed to eat as much as they wanted, while the other group (the limit-fed group) was fed 25% less than the first group. They were all fed the same thing (I think kibble). The dogs were followed from 8 weeks of age until they died. Here's some excerpts from the 4 reports that were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

"Using the OFA method, 7 of the 24 limit-fed dogs and 16 of the 24 ad libitum-fed dogs were diagnosed as having hip dysplasia. Similarly, using the Swedish method, 5 of the 24 limit-fed dogs and 18 of the 24 ad libitum-fed dogs were diagnosed as having hip dysplasia. "

"Radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis that affected multiple joints was significantly more common in the control-fed group than in the limit-fed group. Prevalence of lesions in the hip joint was 15/22 in the control-fed group and 3/21 in the limit-fed group. Prevalence of lesions in the shoulder joint was 19/22 in the control-fed group and 12/21 in the limit-fed group; lesions in this joint were generally mild. Severity, but not prevalence, of osteoarthritis in the elbow joint was greater in the control-fed group than in the limit-fed group"

" dogs weighed less and had lower body fat content and lower serum triglycerides, triiodothyronine, insulin, and glucose concentrations. Median life span was significantly longer for dogs in which food was restricted. The onset of clinical signs of chronic disease generally was delayed for food-restricted dogs."

My comments to this article were:

There is NO QUESTION that over feeding is a major factor in HD - the above post addresses this - what it does not address is how a quality all-natural diet in limit-fed dogs improves orthopedics’ AND how over-exercise at a young age increases HD.

For years, people wrongly laid the blame of HD on genetics and breeders. As this information comes out it will improve our dogs because people will step to the line and raise their pups in a healthier manner.

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