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                       For  'Frequently Asked Questions' information sheet on Bernese Mountain Dogs

                                                     Email Fay at phase1@vic.chariot.net.au

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    1.  FACT SHEET        2.  LINKS         3.  CODE of ETHICS/PRACTICE         4.  BMD BREED STANDARD          5.  UNDERSTANDING HD        6.   PennHIP

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1.  FACT SHEET - BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS                                   

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG

  

BACKGROUND 

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a working dog that had their origins in the farm areas of Switzerland, principally the Canton of Bern where most examples of the breed were concentrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are four breeds of Sennenhunde (mountain dog), the Appenzell, the Entlebuch, the Great Swiss Mountain Dog and the Bernese Mountain Dog, all sharing similar markings, the Bernese having a somewhat longer coat. They are a strong and sturdy farm dog that in their native country were used extensively for herding  and also for draft work when carting milk to the local cheese factories or produce to the local markets. They were also watchdogs around the farm and of the herds and this required a calm natured, self-confident dog, devoted to his home and his people.

AVERAGE LIFESPAN 

Usually noted as 8-10 years but some studies indicate 10 yrs. These are mathematical averages. Some Bernese achieve 12 years and occasionally we hear of 15yrs.

AVERAGE HEIGHT AND WEIGHT - THE ENGLISH BREED STANDARD

 Height:         Dogs           64-70cms (25-27.5inches)

                   Bitches        58 –66cm (23-26 inches)

Weight:        Dogs           88-99 lbs (40-45Kg) usually more like 50-55 kg's and often see them around 60 -65 kg.

                   Bitches        66-77lbs (30-35kg) usually more like 40-50 kg's

 As with all large breed dogs, Hip Dysplasia and OCD of the elbow can present as a problem. It is important therefore, to screen and select suitable stock for breeding Breeders test for suitability with accredited AVA/ANKC hip and elbow evaluations  given after X-Ray examination of potential breeding stock..

Ectropian, Entropian, Elongated Soft Palette, and  Histiocytosis (a form of early onset cancer that can affect animals between the ages of principally 4 and 8 years) are conditions that breeders are aware of and endeavor to reduce the incidence of .

Bloat - is a serious condition that generally speaking affects all 'deep chested breeds'. Its onset is quick, extremely painful for the dog and is life threatening if not dealt with immediately. Full gastric torsion - twist of the stomach- can occur. Veterinarians can surgically reposition the stomach and stitch to prevent another event of torsion. This is only successful where patients can be attended to before circulation is cut to various critical pathways. This does not prevent another event of bloat. If your dog appears uncomfortable (they have a hunched appearance dealing with the stomach pain), you must take your dog to a Vet immediately for examination and treatment options. From my only experience with bloat, my girl was restless, clearly in pain and discomfort, had a hunched look about her and on running my hands down both sides of her body, one side was markedly more swollen and uncomfortable for me to examine. Dealt with quickly and given timely Veterinary care and options there can be a full uncompromised recovery. The exact cause of bloat is unknown. There seems to be a correlation between overexcitement/stress/food intake/exercise. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and know your emergency contact numbers for Veterinary assistance around the clock. It may never happen but you need to ready if it does.

BREED PERSONALITY / CHARACTERISTICS / TEMPERAMENT

 The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, sturdy working dog with striking black, tan and white distinctive markings and the long double coat. They are a gentle and placid dog devoted to their family. They thrive in the family/home environment and consider themselves another member of the family. Puppies and young dogs are often quite boisterous during their adolescent stage. Some patience and reward oriented training is recommended. Bitches are distinctly more feminine in appearance with a less commanding demeanor. Dogs have a distinctly more masculine appearance with their more imposing size, bulkier body, broader head and especially coat development over the chest area. They are a slow maturing breed. They are not an aggressive dog but are considered very good watchdogs as they usually bark to announce visitors arriving. Their favorite activity is being with you.

COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER FAMILY PETS

 The Bernese Mountain Dog has a wonderful reputation in this regard and can be bonded to pet rabbits and so on, and cats in the household are usually the boss!

CARE REQUIREMENTS

 Grooming requirements are moderate. A regular brush of the coat is ideal and simple to do. When they molt more grooming may be required paying  attention to the area behind the ears and the back of the legs in particular. Their coats are naturally quite resistant to wet conditions and the cold wet weather is not normally an issue for them. However, be mindful of their environment in the summer and always provide a cool shady place to rest inside or out and plenty of water during the hot summer days. Bernese usually adjust their exercise to a minimum and rest in a cool relaxing place through the heat of the day.

IDEAL OWNERS

 The Bernese Mountain Dog needs a consistent, firm but kind hand in training. Encouragement and reward always ensures the best results because their most endearing quality is their willingness to please. They need to be with you and thrive in this environment. Left alone with a solitary life and no personal attention would be stressful and he would likely become miserable, less sociable and create problems. Despite their size and energy and enthusiasm for their walks, they generally don’t require a lot of exercise . Early socialization is important as is patience with training as they are a slow breed to mature.

SELECTING YOUR PUPPY

 If you decide that a BMD is suitable for you,  to avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you  select and choose from screened, registered breeding stock with accredited AVA/ANKC hip and elbow X-Ray evaluation reports.

Ideally, both the sire and the dam  of the puppies should  have scores of 0:0 on the elbows and the hips scores should not exceed the breed average, which changes from time to time, but is approx  a total of 12 on the hips.

If possible, meet the sire and the dam of the puppies to be comfortable about the temperament ensuring  they have a friendly and warm nature.

IN CONCLUSION

Be prepared to train and socialize your Bernese for a most rewarding relationship. Owners of Bernese generally comment that once “they  have been owned by  a Bernese”, they can never be without one !!

It is a very special experience.

Originally written  for the Victorian Canine  Association “Breed Flyer” This version edited and modified.

                                                 

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2.     LINKS

Breed Standard comparisons AKC, FCI, CKC Health
Carting BMDCC, Obedience, Herding, Tracking, Agility, Conformation, Therapy Diet-BARF
Carting Midlands UK  
  Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada
  Bernese Breeders Assoc. of Great Britain
Data Base-Bernerped Australia - closed Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America
Berner-Guarde Foundation www.bernerguarde.org  
  Dogs for Kids with Disabilities     

Website: www.dogsforkidswithdisabilities.com

   

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3. CODE OF ETHICS -  VICTORIA - (CURRENT  VERSION  in REVISION refer to BMDCV 2015 )

This Code of Ethics , with regard to enjoyment and interest in , the keeping of, and the breeding of the Bernese Mountain Dog, addresses the following :-

1.        Conduct of Members

2.        Health/Wellbeing and the Keeping of BMD’s

3.        Breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs and related matters

1.CONDUCT OF MEMBERS and  MEMBERS RELATIONS 

(a)     Essentially members are encouraged to participate in the club for the enhancement and enjoyment of the breed through education and sharing of information and participation in club activities. The club therefore advocates a code of conduct for it’s members that is befitting and based on principles of honesty, integrity and pride and encourages relations between members and any interested parties accordingly. 

(b)     Members should always conduct themselves in an honorable and professional manner at organized shows and club events or promotions and should exhibit good sportsmanship at all times. 

(c)     Members shall not denigrate any other member or members kennel/and or their dogs 

(d)     To assist in a positive reflection on our breed,  members are encouraged in a constructive and positive manner,  to (a) share expertise, (b)encourage and support newcomers to the breed, (c)seek out and strive to keep abreast of the latest information not only in relation to health and care aspects of the breed but also organizational changes and amendments to rules and guidelines of relevant bodies. 

2.    HEALTH AND WELL BEING AND CARE OF BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS 

(a)     Members shall not use cruel or abusive punishment to control or manage their dog(s) and should be willing to take council/advice and become educated on more appropriate handling techniques

(b)     Encourage training activities puppy socialization classes, obedience training , show training or carting or any other suitable work and socialization appropriate for the development and mindset and wellbeing of the breed.

(c)     Members should commit to providing good and proper nutrition, regular and preventative health care and to supplying adequate housing indoors and outdoors and maintain a positive, caring environment on a daily and ongoing basis

(d)     Members should be restricted to having no more dogs than may be properly cared for in terms of nutrition, health care, socialization and facilities (eg fenced yards and housing etc) and in accordance with local Government  Regulations regarding the keeping of dogs.

(e)     Members should at all times have control of their dog(s) . No member should place any other person or animal at risk or place their dog(s) in potentially dangerous situations, which might result in serious trauma.

(f)      Members , having due regard for their dog(s) and for the general public, shall make every effort to prevent dogs from roaming unsupervised, causing a nuisance or to be picked up and placed in an animal shelter situation. 

3. BREEDING BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS AND RELATED MATTERS 

Breeders shall breed for the specific purpose of improving the breed whilst maintaining their unique beauty and character and do so in accordance with the official standard set forth by the ANKC and in this regard shall:- 

(a)    Ensure that appropriate health checks/measures have been taken prior to a mating 

(b)    Ensure that all breeding stock be x-rayed for evidence of hip dysplasia (min 12 months of age) and that the x-rays plates be submitted for scoring under an approved Australian Canine Hip Dysplasia scoring scheme. 

(c)    Give priority to those animals assessed for breeding that have obtained hip  evaluation that does not exceed the breed average and preferably is lower than it. 

(d)     Ensure that all breeding stock be elbow x-rayed for evidence of  osteochondrosis of the elbow (min 12 months of age) and that the x-ray plates be submitted for scoring under an approved Australian Canine Elbow Scoring scheme.

(e)   Give priority to those animals assessed for breeding that have obtained an elbow grade of   0: 0

        Understand that a grade of 1:1 represents a greater risk. It is recommended to give priority to 0:0 grade 

       elbows  for breeding as any other score represents a greater risk of producing a problem with the risk

        increasing generally as the score increases.

(f)    Breeders shall identify and use physically and temperamentally sound stock and will refuse to  breed from dogs or bitches that are (a) of a different breed, (b) are unregistered (c) are known to have obvious hereditary/genetic defects. 

(g)   Breeding shall be carefully planned and must be carried out selectively in an attempt to reduce as much as possible hereditary defects such as hip dysplasia, oesteochondrosis of the shoulder and elbow, entropian, ectropian, trembler (hypomyelinogenis), elongated soft palette and elongated undershot jaw. This list is not exhaustive. 

(h)    Breeders shall understand the strengths and weaknesses of their stock and never double up on  a known or visible fault breeding towards the elimination of faults and the maintenance of strengths. 

(i)   Breeders should aim to preserve the breed temperamentally and as a working dog, breeding for soundness, durability and ease of movement. 

(j)   Breeders should co-operate with the collection of  data  on hip and elbow status and health status of breeding stock to assist in the establishment of a national pedigree/health data base and be pro-active in introducing accredited recommended measures to assist in breeding programs  ie: DNA testing and data collection, eye testing ie PRA, temperament testing etc. 

(k)    Breeders should ensure that nervous or aggressive Bernese shall not be bred from Refer to Breed Standard requirements 

(l)   Breeders should not  mate a bitch prior to  20 months of age, or before her second season and ensure that the last litter shall be whelped before the bitches 7th birthday.

These all, except under exceptional circumstances  with veterinary approval.

Ensure that no bitch shall be bred from in any way that is deleterious to the bitch or the breed. 

(m)    It is not recommended to breed from the same bitch in consecutive seasons. Should a mating of this nature take place it should be only in the most exceptional of circumstances and be accompanied by a letter of approval from a vet and be submitted to the club on request. A period of 12 months ( from the date of birth of the puppies resulting from the most recent mating) must have elapsed before the bitch can be mated again. 

(n)    We recommend that all dogs at the time of X-ray submit both their full kennel name and Micro chip  number for identification on the X-ray plates. 

4. SALES 

(a)     A breeder should sell stock with true representation of information and must not engage in misleading or untruthful statements in selling or advertising.

(b)      No breeder should sell puppies or adult dogs to any known retail or wholesale outlet

(c)     Breeders must be discriminating in the sale of puppies or dogs and be concerned with the type of home/environment in which the animal is to be placed.

(d)     No puppy should go to it’s new home before 8 weeks of age, thus allowing for vaccinations to be given at 6 weeks of age.

(e)     A buyer should be supplied with a Certificate of Registration showing at least a 3 generation pedigree with information on inoculations certified by a veterinarian surgeon . This should also include information on any other veterinary care that the dog may have received and instructions on the care feeding and exercise and training of Bernese.

(f)      No member shall knowingly export or assist in the export of a dog or dogs to any country which does not have legislation for the protection of animals

(g)     Breeders should try to keep in touch with the progress of the dog(s) of his or her breeding

(h)     Breeders should be prepared to take back any dog(s) of his or her breeding or be instrumental in the re-homing of the dog at any time throughout the dog(s) life.

(i)       A breeder will guarantee the health of his stock subject to a vet examination within 48 hours of the sale.

(j)       Members of the club will ensure that neither directly or indirectly shall any dog to be given as a prize or donation in any contest of any kind

(k)     Breeders should provide the purchaser of a puppy with a “Contract of Sale” which clearly defines the differences between the Open and Limited Register of dogs and in accordance with the appropriate  Canine Controlling body’s   Regulations. The contract will also state on which register the puppy has been placed and any other obligation that the purchaser is required to fulfill regarding ownership of the puppy.

(l)       Breeders who engage a purchaser in a contractual agreement over the sale of an animal are required to

       honour the contracts they engage themselves in, being sure that both parties understand all 

       requirements and all clauses prior to signing.

(m)    Breeders should keep accurate records of breeding and or stud service and should register all puppies with the VCA or other appropriate State Controlling body

CODE OF PRACTICE DOGS VICTORIA                                                                                                              

 Please refer to http://www.vca.org.au   ;

Select "About Dogs Victoria"

Select "Constitution, Rules and Codes"

Select "Code of Practice"

"Code of Ethics"

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4. Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Standard

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG'

Kennel Club, London 1994

GENERAL APPEARANCE - Strong, sturdy working dog, active, alert, well boned, of striking colour.

CHARACTERISTICS - A multi purpose farm dog capable of draught work. A kind and devoted family dog. Slow to mature.

TEMPERAMENT - Self-confident, good natured, friendly and fearless. Aggressiveness not to be tolerated.

HEAD AND SKULL - Strong with flat skull, very slight furrow, well defined stop; strong straight muzzle. Lips slightly developed.

EYES - Dark brown, almond shaped, well fitting eyelids.

EARS - Medium sized; set high, triangular shaped, lying flat in repose, when alert brought slightly forward and raised at base.

MOUTH - Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

NECK - Strong, muscular and medium length.

FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders long, strong and sloping, with upper arm forming a distinct angle, flat lying, well muscled. Forelegs straight from all sides. Pasterns flexing slightly.

BODY - Compact rather than long. Height to length 9:10. Broad chest, good depth of brisket reaching at least to elbow. Well ribbed; strong loins. Firm, straight back. 

HINDQUARTERS - Broad, strong and well muscled. Stifles well bent. Hock strong, well let down and turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws to be removed.

FEET - Short, round and compact.

TAIL - Bushy, reaching just below hock. Raised when alert or moving but never curled or carried over back.

GAIT/MOVEMENT - Stride reaching out well in front, following well through behind, balanced stride in all gaits.

COAT - Soft, silky with bright natural sheen, long, slightly wavy but should not curl when mature.

COLOUR - Jet black, with rich reddish brown on cheeks, over eyes, on all four legs and on chest. Slight to medium sized symmetrical white head marking (blaze) and white chest marking (cross) are essential. Preferred but not essential, white paws, white not reaching higher than pastern, white tip to tail. A few white hairs at nape of neck, and white anal patch undesirable but tolerated.

SIZE -     Height:   Dogs      64-70 cms (25-27'/2 ins) Bitches 58-66 cms (23-26 ins)

FAULTS - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

NOTE - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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           5.    Understanding Hip Dysplasia -Seminar November 2004

       

Dr. Ray Ferguson BVSc

 

The Hip Dysplasia (HD) Dilemma

Hip Dysplasia is the most common orthopaedic problem seen in dogs. It is a complex condition with a polygenic inheritance pattern. Environmental factors such as over feeding and over exercising play a role in its development.

It affects

1.    Young dogs from 4-12 months causing pain and lameness.

2.    Older dogs causing arthritis

Why is it a problem?

1.    Affected dogs develop arthritis & lameness

2.    It is an inherited problem

3.    Breed clubs, Veterinarians, and the VCA worry about it.

4.    Screening radiographs are a hassle and cost to breeders and owners.

5.    The breeding guidelines of elimination schemes can be confusing.

6.    Elimination schemes do not seem to be working.

7.    HD causes conflict with in breed clubs

Do we need to worry about it?

Yes:

•      It causes lameness and arthritis pain in dogs.

•      It causes unhappy puppy buyers.

•      We should be able to breed it out, eg Greyhounds

No:

•      A lot of show dogs with HD do not show lameness or pain

•      Some breeders ignore it and it doesn't affect their kennels success

How should we rank the importance of HD in our Breeding programs?

1. Temperament

7. Epilepsy

2. Conformation

8. CLAD

3. Coat quality

9. Heart disease

4. Entropian / Ectropian

10. OCD

5. PRA

11. Elbow Dysplasia

6. Fertility

12. Hip Dysplasia

We can only select for 2-3 genetic traits at any one time. We need to prioritise the characteristics we are selecting for.

The Rottweiler club selects on hips, elbows, eyes, teeth, conformation and temperament.

GSDC is similar.

These are clubs that have large numbers of dogs to select from.

They can be aggressive in selecting the parameters they choose to use to select which dogs they will breed from.

Dog clubs with smaller numbers must be careful not to put into place any disease elimination program which may exclude large numbers of dogs.

HD Elimination Plans

1.   Decide if we wish to eliminate HD completely from the breed.

2.   Decide if we wish to reduce the level of HD with in the breed.

3.   Set up a scheme which will not disadvantage many (if any) breeders.

4.   Have a transparent scheme, understanding that we are all pulling towards the same direction.

Currently available Schemes

1. AVA

2. OFA

3. Other National Schemes

4. PennHIP

AVA scheme

This scheme uses a protocol set out by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) The dogs must be given a general anaesthetic and correctly positioned on their backs.

It measures 9 parameters:

The first 2 of which are related to the laxity of the hips

The other 7 of which are related to degenerative joint changes, (arthritis)

Each parameter is scored out of 6 with a total of 106 points being the highest score possible.

HIP JOINT

RIGHT

LEFT

COMMENT

Norberg angle

 

 

 

Subluxation

 

 

 

Cranial acetabular edge

 

 

 

Dorsal acetabular edge

 

 

 

Cranial effective acetabular rim

 

 

 

Acetabular fossa

 

 

 

Caudal acetabular edge

 

 

 

Femoral head/neck exostosis

 

 

 

Femoral head recontouring

 

 

 

TOTAL

 

 

Total Score (max 106)

Laxity Assessments      
Ortolani's Sign      
Barden's Manouvre     1. Up to 2mm: 2. 2-5 mm:  3.>5mm:

 

The system is also used in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

It is the system Dr Malcolm Willis developed for use in German Shepherds. The dogs must be at least 12 months old.

OFA

The Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) uses the same positioning as AVA. The OFA requires dogs to be 24 months old.

The OFA does not give a score but rates dogs as excellent, good or fair, all of which are registered.

Borderline dogs are re radiographed in 6-8 months and reassessed then. Dogs with HD are graded mild, moderate or severe.

Other National Schemes

Various European and Scandinavian countries have schemes based on the same BVA positioning. Scoring and assessing varies between countries and there may be marked variation between countries.

Problems with the AVA system

1.         Positioning can change the result.

-      Dogs held firmly in a wedge may score lower for laxity than those not held firmly

-      Dogs whose hips and knees are tied together may score lower than those not tied.

2.         In adequate anaesthesia.

-      Dogs which are only heavily sedated or very lightly anaesthetised will tighten their hip muscles when the hips are extended and pull the hips back into the sockets, reducing the laxity.

3.         Joint capsule tightens in the normal positioning view and may reduce the laxity

4.        Age:

            -     Younger dogs are less likely to show signs of arthritis than older dogs.

            -     Older dogs are more likely to have a higher score than younger dogs due to arthritis   changes.

5.         Reader variation.

Individual readers may award different scores for the same dog

6.         Must wait until the dog is at least 12 months old before we get a score

7.         The true laxity of the hip joints is not always revealed.

8.         Low heritability

-      The heritability of this system is about 0.2.    That means that if we rely on the score to be a measurement of the genetic make up of the dog it is only 20% accurate.

-      In a controlled study with 53 litters of Golden Retrievers the estimate of heritability of OFA / AVA type subjective hip scoring was 0.221, and this was not statistically different from 0.

Heritability

Genotype

Genetic makeup

Phenotype

Phenotype

What you look like Genotype + Environment

A heritability of 0.2 (or 20%) means that only 20% of the phenotype is due to the genetic make up. This is one chance in 5 that the characteristic we are selecting for will be expressed in the pups.

PennHIP

PennHIP was developed in 1983. www.vet.upenn.edu

It must be carried out under general anaesthesia uses a different positioning to the AVA system.

3 radiographs are required.

1.    The standard AVA view which is used to assess for any arthritic changes.

2.    A compressed view wherein the hips are firmly pressed into the hip socket

3.    A distracted view where in the hips are firmly pushed out of the sockets.

PennHIP measures the laxity of the hips, in a quantitative manner.

Other laxity assessments such as Barden's manouvre and Ortolani's sign only give a guide as to the presence of laxity but there is no direct measurement.

PennHIP uses a parameter termed the Distractive Index (DI), to measure this laxity. The DI has found to be strongly inherited.

The greater the laxity of the hips the greater the chance of developing arthritis For a GSD with a DI of 0.8 or more the chance of arthritis developing is 100%. Rottweilers have less chance of developing arthritis at any given DI compared to GSD.

 

Benefits of PennHIP

1.      Can be done from 20 weeks onward.

       2.      The DI does not vary significantly with time. It is highly repeatable, & this          repeatability is better at 12 months than at 6 months than at 4 months.

       3.     The measurements are mathematical and so all readers return the same results.

       4.     Dogs with HD as determined by the presence of arthritis are documented.

       5.     Heritability of the DI is very high.

-      In the GSD it is 0.61

-      In Labradors it is 0.46

-      In Golden retrievers it is 0.64

The Distractive Index is the best phenotype that can be tested to predict whether a dog will develop hip arthritis.

Elimination of HD

To eliminate HD from a breed an aggressive program utilising the PennHIP scheme must be adopted.

To continue to use the current AVA / BVA scheme will result in the status quo remaining and no improvement will be made.

Club plans

Any plan must have a long term view.

It will take many generations to reduce and eliminate HD.

All club members are encouraged to participate.

No member should be disadvantaged during the initial stages.

Upper limits of acceptable scores are to be set.

These limits to be bi-annually reviewed and reset as needed.

Breeders to be encouraged to adhere to these limits BUT no breeder should be censured for breeding outside these limits.

Breeders who breed with dogs outside the limits should understand the consequences of such breedings and undertake to progeny test the offspring at 16 20 weeks utilising PennHIP.

They then should select only the tight hipped pups to go on with in their breeding program.

No pups should be sold unless both parents have been hip scored.

Copies of the hip scores must be made available to the club.

Copies of both parents' scores should be provided to each puppy purchaser. Potential purchasers can then assess whether they should purchase pups from sires and dams with high hip scores.

Dogs in the scheme must be positively identified (by microchip or tattoo).

Breeders may have their choice of either AVA or PennHIP systems.

Breeders are encouraged to appreciate the greater accuracy of PennHIP and to utilise it in preference to the AVA system.

Because the 2 schemes measure different parameters they cannot be directly compared.

BUT the following applies­

•      Good PennHIPs will have good AVA scores.

•      Poor PennHIPs may have good or bad AVA score.

•      Good AVA score may have good or bad PennHIP score.

At any AVA or PennHIP assessment both Barden's and Ortolani's laxity assessments should be carried out and recorded by the Veterinarian taking the radiographs.

All imported dogs should have a PennHIP or OFA / BVA assessment before entering the country, or prior to breeding.

A PennHIP or OFA / BVA assessment should be obtained from all dogs whose semen is imported into the country.

Any male or female who sires / whelps 5 or more litters, or 20 or more pups should have a PennHIP assessment.

This is because these dogs are having a significant influence on the breed and their true genetic merit (as determined by the DI ) must be known.

Acceptable scores

•      Dogs will be considered to have acceptable hips for breeding purposes provided it achieves a score that is equal to or less than the breed average.

•      The English Setter breed average is determined from the PennHIP database or the AVA database.

•      As of July 2004 the PennHIP breed average is 0.61 with a range of 0.24 - 1.09 based on 394 dogs.

•      The AVA breed average is 20.4

BUT:

• For breeding purposes the combined AVA scores of any 2 dogs to be breed with should not be greater than 1.5 times the breed average.

• PennHIP advises breeders to breed with dogs whose DI is lower than their dog's DI.

When using AVA system some allowance must be made for young dogs having potentially poor hips but no arthritis developed at the time of radiographing.

Dogs with a combined laxity scores (Norberg Angle and subluxation) of greater than 14 should not be breed with.

Summary

1. We can do something positive about reducing HD

2. PennHIP provides a useful tool to do this.

3. The AVA system should be used with caution.

4. All club members should embrace a new system which has definite long term goals.

5. No member should be disadvantaged with a new system.

 

Lax DJDO Perfect HipsP

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         6."Australian Veterinary Association Canine Hip Dysplasia elimination schemes and PennHIP".     

                    In 2007 a committee from the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists examined Hip Dysplasia screening schemes in Australia.

 The committee found that:

*There is an apparent failure of the current AVA scheme (using the extended hip view) to reduce the incidence of Canine Hip Dysplasia in Australia.

*There are potential advantages using the PennHIP system to eliminate CHD.

 Breeders and owners are advised:

* That the PennHIP scheme will provide them with much more usable information about the hip status of their dogs than the current scheme.

* That PennHIP will allow them to reduce the incidence of Hip Dysplasia in their lines much more rapidly than they can using the current scheme.

*While Veterinarians will continue to take the extended hip view and submit them for reading to who ever the client requests, they do so recognizing that this is not the best assessment to be using.

The Current AVA scheme will continue to exist, and it will be administered by the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Breed clubs and controlling bodies are to be encouraged to register either a PennHIP assessment or an AVA assessment for any given dog.

Breeders should not be forced to have an extended hip view score as well as a PennHIP assessment by their breed clubs or any other controlling body.

 Breeders wishing more information about PennHIP should consult with a PennHIP trained veterinarian or visit www.pennhip.org"

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For most frequently asked questions about the breed email Fay at - phase1@vic.chariot.net.au  and request FAQ information.

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