Health screening you can trust

Our Hip and Elbow Schemes operate to the highest standards of expertise, quality, and consistency, giving dog owners and breeders complete confidence in the rigour and accuracy of hip and elbow scoring and grading processes.

How we work

1. Streamlined submission

We operate a secure portal through which vet practices submit X-rays for assessment.

We hold weekly scoring and grading sessions with our expert scrutineers. Your dog’s results will be uploaded to the vet portal the same day and, where applicable, published to the Kennel Club website the following day.

Canine Health Schemes is the only provider whose scores are recognised by the Kennel Club.

2. Highly qualified and experienced veterinary specialists

We have a panel of ten scrutineers.

Every member of our panel is a veterinary surgeon with advanced professional qualifications in veterinary radiology and/or orthopaedics. They are extremely experienced in the assessment of hip and elbow X-rays, scoring and grading over 16,000 each year. Meet our scrutineers

3. Dual-scoring system

Our scrutineers work in pairs.

Each submission is simultaneously assessed by two scrutineers working together as a team, and reaching a consensus on the score/grade.

4. Quality and consistency

We only accept high-quality DICOM radiographs, and these are reviewed using high-definition radiology-grade equipment and medical imaging software.

Our panel of scrutineers are continually assessed throughout the year, and meet annually to carry out a quality control exercise and discuss the results; review a sample of appeal radiographs; and explore recent scientific advances. This ensures consistency and continuity of results over time.

We randomly select scrutineer pairs, ensuring that there is continuous peer-review within the panel at each scoring/grading session.

5. Robust appeals process

The schemes have a robust appeals process, which is open to any breeder or owner who disputes the score/grade for their dog.

Upon appeal, the X-rays are re-evaluated by two further scrutineers who are unaware of the original score/grade and then reviewed by the Chief Scrutineer. The final appeal score is therefore based on the professional opinion of five expert scrutineers. Find out more here.

Frequently asked questions

Hip and elbow scores/grades of both individual KC-registered dogs and their relatives are published online via the Health Test Results Finder on the KC website. Taking into consideration the scores of an individual dog’s relatives provides greater guidance about a dog’s genotype than does its own score in isolation.

In addition, for the most affected breeds, ‘estimated breeding values’ (EBVs) are also provided for each dog. This service is unique worldwide in dog breeding and is underpinned by the close working relationship between the Kennel Club and BVA.

In many other schemes one scrutineer works alone and independently, with no central body providing oversight, and no ongoing quality control or validation. This means that scores or grades may lack consistency and reliability. Some schemes accept lower quality images (e.g. JPEG files) whereas we only accept medical-grade DICOM image files.

While scores or grades from other schemes can assess the degree of hip or elbow disease, the results from other schemes are not directly comparable with the BVA/KC scheme and so this data cannot be used to inform Estimated Breeding Values.

Yes, the schemes are open to both pedigree and crossbred dogs. The requirements your dog needs to meet are as follows:

  • The dog must be at least 1 year old.

  • The dog must be permanently and uniquely identified by a microchip.

  • If applicable, the dog’s Kennel Club registration certificate and any related transfer certificates must be available so that the details can be printed on the X-rays.

Yes, submissions from outside the UK are welcome. Talk to your vet and find out if they are registered on our portal. If they are not, they can register here

Explore our schemes

Need more help?

Visit our CHS help centre to see answers to frequently asked questions. 

If you can't find your answer there, you can contact our expert in-house CHS team via email: [email protected]