Hip Dysplasia Scheme for dogs

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a common inherited orthopaedic problem of dogs and a wide number of other mammals. Abnormal development of the structures that make up the hip joint leads to joint deformity. ‘Dysplasia’ means abnormal growth. The developmental changes appear first and later one or both hip joints may become mechanically defective. At this stage the joint(s) may be painful and cause lameness. In extreme cases the dog may find movement very difficult and may suffer considerably.

Common breeds at risk of Hip Dysplasia

It is generally accepted that Hip Dysplasia is more common in larger breeds including large cross breeds. Common examples include:

British Veterinary Association and Kennel Club publish breed specific statistics (116 KB PDF) which include median hip scores for particular breeds.

What is the Hip Dysplasia Scheme?

British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club (KC) have run a Hip Dysplasia Scheme since 1975 to assess the degree of hip deformity of dogs using radiography. To date radiographs (X-rays) from more than 250,000 dogs have been assessed providing a standardised reflection of the HD status of those dogs that have been examined. This information is primarily of use for breeders. Currently 126 breeds are surveyed by the scheme in the UK.

Please read the Hip Dysplasia Scheme procedure notes (39 KB PDF) for helpful instructions on using the scheme.

The scheme is open to all dogs and not just those registered with the Kennel Club.

Submissions to the Hip Dysplasia Scheme

Dog owners should contact their veterinary surgeon and arrange an appointment for their dog to be radiographed (X-rayed). The radiographs must be taken under anaesthesia or heavy sedation which means that the dog may have to be left for a short time at the veterinary practice. 

Hip radiographs can be taken at the same time as those for the Elbow Dysplasia Scheme.

When taking the dog for its radiographs owners should remember the following:

  • Any breed of dog can have radiographs submitted to the scheme
  • The dog must be at least one year old, but there is no upper age limit
  • The dog must be permanently and uniquely identified by way of a microchip or tattoo
  • The dog’s KC registration certificate and any related transfer certificates must be available so that the appropriate details can be printed on the radiograph
  • Microchip/tattoo numbers will also be printed on the radiograph
  • The owner will be asked to sign the declaration (first part) of the certificate, to verify the details are correct and grant permission for the use of the result
  • Practices can submit digital DICOM images on CD or DVD to be scored
  • Once a certificate of HD scoring has been issued the dog may not be resubmitted for scoring

Find out more

Cost of submissions

The owner is liable for their veterinary surgeon’s fee for anaesthetising the dog and taking the radiographs, as well as the CHS’ fee for the scoring which are listed below.

The cost is currently reduced if Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia films are submitted for screening at the same time.

Item description Cost ex VAT per dog Cost inc VAT
1 to 4 dogs £52.50 £63
5-plus dogs, same owner £46 £55.25
Rescoring under appeal £95 £114
Copy of certificate £30 £36
Joint hip and elbow £95 £114


Publication of results

The names of Kennel Club registered dogs scored under the scheme, together with the results will be sent to the Kennel Club for publication and inclusion on the Mate Select website. Results can be found by entering the registration name or number.

Relevant details may be sent to a geneticist for statistical analysis or creation of estimated breeding values as arranged by BVA.