Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds

Since they started xraying dogs for Hip Dysplasia there has been virtually no decrease in the amount of HD cases among the German Shepherd breed. Between 1966 to 1990 there were 41,680 (yes forty one thousand six hundred eighty) German Shepherds xrayed for hip dysplasia and out of all those dogs 22.2% tested positive for HD. In 10 year spans thereafter less and less dogs have been xrayd

GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG Dysplastic statistics according to the OFA

Although it appears we've had improvement, overall you can see that isn't so! It shows improvement based on the dogs submitted but there's also a drastic reduction in xrays being submitted, by the thousands!!! Many folks xray their dogs and if the hips are bad they do not submit the xrays for review! This has led to a false sense of improvement to the naive public.

1991-1995 20.0% Dysplastic out of 23,433 xrays submitted

1996-2000 20.2% Dysplastic out of 18,143 xrays submitted  

2001-2005 18.6% Dysplastic out of 14,806 xrays submitted

2006-2010 18.9% Dysplastic out of 12,263 xrays submitted

2011-2015 18.0% Dysplastic out of 5,607 xrays submitted

I think it's realistic to say owning or purchasing a German Shepherd you have approximately a 20% chance of ending up with a dysplasic dog (+/- based on the parents hip production), which really isn't bad considering the German shepherd ranks 38 on the list of top 100 breeds with HD. Bulldogs coming in #1 at almost a 75% chance of having HD!!!

To decrease risk of your German Shepherd Developing Hip Dysplasia it's of upmost importance to keep your puppy lean when young and in its' growth phase (up to 2 years of age)!!! This is a Scientific Fact, not speculation! Fat puppies & dogs have a hugely increased risk of Joint disease! Keeping your pup or dog overweight you're ensuring your dog a potential life or pain, suffering and joint disease at an early age. Please think before you feed your dog because those sweet eyes are looking at you when you prepare a meal!!!!!!


Signs of severe hip dysplasia usually appear before the dog reaches one year of age. Signs include rear leg pain, in-coordination, and a limp or wavering gait. A common sign is the dog that has trouble rising and reluctance to run and play. This condition is not to be confused with the painful condition PANO also known as growing pains which causes lameness in one joint, all joints or rotated from one leg to another.

Don't believe this and want to see the scientific evidence? View the studies and info below:


"Probably the single most significant risk for development of hip dysplasia is body weight. I have talked elsewhere about the studies that clearly show that food consumption during puppy-hood can make the difference between a life free of joint disease into old age, or the development of painful dysplasia as a puppy."



There are so many more, I will add them as time permits. In the meantime visit our articles page if you'd like to learn more! http://www.vtgsd.com/puppies/articles-for-other-breeders-and-german-shepherd-enthusiasts.html
Understanding the ZW breeding value and your dogs SV Hip and Elbow ratings https://www.sv-doxs.net/page/derhdzuchtwert


This is a friendly reminder for all raising young dogs and those who will be in the future. I post this not to be snide but I post this to educate and for the love of our dogs as I know everyone here loves their dog(s) with all their heart and wants nothing but the best for them. Keeping your dogs lean not only helps them produce the best joints possible it also extends their life by up to 2 years!!!!!!!!!!!! Who would not want their best friend around as long as possible??? Here's a study if I sound like some crazy breeder talking:-) HAHA! https://www.avma.org/…/Collec…/Documents/javma_229_5_690.pdf

There are many more, here's one for people that mention animals http://www.lifeextension.com/…/…/caloric-restriction/Page-01

Preventing the development of hip dysplasia & many other orthopedic disorders in your puppy/dog.

Genetics play a roll and German Shepherds are predisposed to having hip dysplasia. Our breeding stock is selected from HD free ancestors 10+ generations back but we cannot control ENVIRONMENT and Non-genetic factors which influence the development and progression of hip dysplasia.

Major environmental causes are:

•Rapid growth - especially between the 3rd to 8th month of life.

•Over nutrition -This is related to rapid growth e.g. excess of Calcium, Vit D, high protein and high calories for puppies under 18 months. THIS IS WHY WE DO NOT FEED PUPPY FOOD, EVER, AND DO NOT RECOMMEND IT.

•Obesity – weight reduction is highly effective in reducing or preventing onset of osteoarthritis. Injury at a young age, overexertion on hip joint or ligament tear at a young age, repetitive motion on forming joint (for example jogging with a puppy under 1 year of age)

If your puppy (2 years or under) is panting their last 2 ribs should be visible. You should always be able to easily feel all their ribs, hips and spine without "searching" under layers of fat. Puppies should look lanky and never plump beyond 10 weeks of age.