Hip Dysplasia Scheme for dogs

The Hip Dysplasia Scheme was established by BVA and the Kennel Club in 1965 to reduce the incidence and severity of the condition which can have serious effects on the health, behaviour and welfare of dogs. The Scheme has screened more than 250,000 dogs from over 75 breeds for hip dysplasia.

The Scheme uses radiology to screen for abnormalities in the hip joints. The radiographs are scored by BVA appointed Scrutineers. This score can then be used by breeders to help ensure they are breeding from healthy dogs and as a health check by owners and their veterinary surgeons.

The Scheme is open to all dogs and breeds including crossbreeds and non-Kennel Club registered dogs.

What is canine hip dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia is a common inherited orthopaedic problem where abnormalities occur in the hip joints.

Changes to the hip joint will begin at a young age as the puppy starts to become more active and will escalate with time. These changes can lead to excessive wear and tear of the joint, causing one or both hip joints to become defective. At this stage the joint(s) may be painful and can have serious effects on the health, behaviour and welfare of the dog.

pelvis hip joint

hip joint normal hip joint with dysplasia hip dysplasia  arthritis

Signs of canine hip dysplasia

Signs of hip dysplasia in dogs vary between individuals and breeds. Some observable signs include:

  • Lameness
  • Stiffness after rest
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Groaning while resting or getting up
  • Difficulty in using the stairs

However, a veterinary surgeon’s physical examination will provide a more reliable assessment and radiography is the only means of diagnosing the presence of hip dysplasia.


It is possible to alleviate some of the signs of pain and limitation of movement caused by hip dysplasia. Sophisticated medications and various surgical procedures are now available. Applied heat, massage, good bedding, exercise and weight management as well as nutrition and physiotherapy also play a part in caring for a dog affected by hip dysplasia. 

Common breeds at risk

Hip dysplasia affects a range of breeds including crossbreeds.

Common breeds at risk of hip dysplasia are:

Many other breeds suffer from hip dysplasia, visit the Kennel Club Breed Information Centre for further information.