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Thread: Hip Scores- Labrador Parents

  1. #1

    Default Hip Scores- Labrador Parents

    I am a new member of this forum and have registered interest in buying a labrador pup in the near future. The breeder has provided with hip scores as follows
    hip score-11
    Elbow score 1
    hip score 5
    Elbow score 0
    I would appreciate feedback if it is ok to buy a pup from this litter? The dog is being bought purely as a companion for my children and will not be bred.
    Looking forward to your input.

  2. #2


    The average score for Labs is 12 so anything under a that is considered good.

    Elbow scores are excellent, should have no problems there, the hips are good to average so you also should not have problems.

    Of course there is no guarantee, even excellent scores have been known on rare occasions to produce pups with bad hips, but I wouldn't have a problem buying a pup from this litter.

  3. #3


    When i was looking for my lab puppy ( now 5 months old) I did heaps of research and asking around and then hunting for a breeder..... Although as pp said the exceptable score is 12 you can get much much lower. So for me I wanted the lowest possible score and would not look at parents with scores over 4.
    What i was looking for was even scores as well, I did not want 0-4 or 1-4 etc.
    The parents of my pup are mum 0-1 for elbows and 0-0 hips father 2-2 elbows and 0-1 hips. But just because you have good scores does not completely remove the chances of hip and elbow problems, there are alot of environmental issues that come into play as well. also make sure parents have been eic and eye tested.
    if I where you I would keep looking but that is just my personal choice.

  4. #4


    Thats a relief. Thank you crested love and lillylovely.
    7 more sleeps until my furry baby arrives!!

  5. #5


    Congrats, how exciting! You will need to come back and post photos when they big day comes

    What sort of flooring do you have at home?
    Tile or wooden flooring can have a big impact on joints, especially while they are growing. I have floorboards and had to purchase floor runners to put down everywhere while my pup was growing so he wouldn't slip and cause extra stress on his joints.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Sydney, NSW


    Congrats on choosing a beautiful Lab to join your family, they truly are an awesome breed and in my totally biased opinion, lol, the best breed there is

    Below is a reply I made to another member who had a similar thread on the parents hip scores of a pup she was getting, and she revealed in later posts in this thread that the pup she was getting was a Lab pup which was not revealed in her original post to which I replied to.

    In addition to the other posters responses, you do need to know your Breed's average hip score so you can compare your pup's parents hip scores with the breed average. If you have been given a copy of the parent's Hip & Elbow scoring report, it should contain the breed average, and then all you need to do is add the right and left hip scores together for each parent (i.e. lets say the mum's score is 4 for right hip & 5 for left hip (4/5) then the total is 9 for mum so you then compare this against the breed average for your breed to see how the mum's score compares against the breed total. You do the same thing for the dad's scores. Whilst the lower the better, particularly lower than the breed average, you need to also be mindful that it is better to have fairly equal scores for each hip i.e. 4/4 is better than say 1/6 or 1/5 as even though the total of 1/6 or 1/5 is lower than the total of 4/4, a 4/4 score indicates both hips are the same, whereas the 1/6 or 1/5 indicates uneven hips with the left hip having the higher score indicating a problem in the left hip.

    If you are concerned with the hip scores discuss them with your breeder as whilst most breeders aim to breed dogs with low hip/elbow scores, they do also breed dogs that may be close to/equal to the breed average or even slightly over it as they also consider other important factors when breeding a dog, like temperament which is extremely important. A puppy buyer that is not knowledgeable about the breed may consider the breed average hip scores to be quite high, but it really depends on the breed and the potential for joint problems. This is particularly so for large and giant breeds. My breed is the Labrador Retriever and the and the breed average hip scores for Labs is 12, so it is quite reasonable for Lab breeders to breed Labs with hip scores up to 12, particularly if they have an excellent pedigree/excellent lines. Breeders have to take many things into consideration when determining which dogs to breed and just because a dog has low hip scores, it may not be a great example of the breed as it may not have the correct breed temperament and or may not be physically close enough to the breed standard for the breeder to breed it.

    My breed of choice is prone to joint problems, both hip and elbows and whilst I don't have an issue with hip scores up to the average breed score of 12 for Labs, I am more particular on the elbows and expect elbow scores of 0 in both parents as I believe elbows to be more of a problem than hips for my breed.

    If you really want to learn as much as possible about hip/elbow scoring, you should get a copy of your pup's parent's Hip & Elbow Scoring Report/Certificate from the Breeder if you don't have them already as this should list the individual scores for each area of the hip joint that the Radiologists score and there are 9 areas that are individually hip scored/graded. You can then follow the link above that one of the other posters gave you to Veterinary Imaging Associates Veterinary Imaging Associates who explain on their website each of the areas that are scored during the hip scoring and it also gives an explanation of each of the scores for each of those areas. Elbow Scoring is a lot less complicated than hip scoring as the elbow joint only is graded, rather than different areas of the elbow, so a dog receives one score only for each elbow (0 or 1 or 2 or 3).
    As had been mentioned already, even if a pup's parents have excellent hip scores, you still need to be mindful of environmental issues that can cause joint issues in developing Lab pups/youngsters. To give your pup the best chance of developing correctly without any joint/bone issues, you need to be mindful of the following issues.
    • Correct nurition - hopefully your breeder will provide you with a diet sheet for your pup containing advice on what to feed and how much to feed. As Lab pups develop they go thru growth spurts so correct and balanced nutrition is of paramount importance in managing their growth. A number of Lab breeders, particularly long term Lab breeders (including my Lab youngster's breeder) recommend changing Lab pups over from puppy food to adult food at 4months of age if pups are being fed kibble (dry food), to help slow down the pup's growth rate. If they grow too fast, it can impact detrimentally on their developing joints/bones.
    • Dont over exercise pup - use the 5 minute rule per month of age when you begin walking your pup on lead (i.e. at 8 weeks of age only walk for 10mins, at 10 weeks of age, only walk for 12mins, at 12 weeks of age only walk for 15 mins - use this 5 min rule up until at least 12months of age.
    • Restrict high impact activities/exercise - don't let pup jump up on and off furniture or any other high off the ground like steps/balconies/kids playground equipment etc. If pup is allowed on lounge/beds etc, then lift pup up and place on furniture and I would recommend placing a mattress or dog bed by the lounge/bed when pup is on furniture as they tend to move very quickly in jumping off the furniture, so a mattress/dog bed can cushion the impact of them jumping off the furniture. Also be mindful of slippery surfaces like tiles etc as puppies LOVE zooming around at great speeds and slide across slippery floors, so place some rugs/runners down that won't move when the run across them if you have tiled/slippery floors.

    Labs growth plates close around the 14month mark, so it is important that care is taken in all of the above until their growth plates close to minimise any potential joint issues. Another issue that can affect joint and bone development in Lab youngsters, is early desexing and hopefully your breeder will give you some advice on this issue.

    Enjoy your new beautiful baby and don't forget to post some pics and stories of your new pup's adventures

  7. #7


    Thanks labsrule and crested love. The parent dogs have had DNA test for eye conditions and are clear. I will definitely graduate the youngster to adult diet by 4 mo. The breeder is recommending chicken necks to start with. I was going to feed chicken necks until the vet consult at 12 week immunisation visit and take it from there. The vet's place is stocked high with Eukanub@ puppy formula. Was going to get one of those 12 kg bags (how long do these last? 1 month?) And yes the kids have great plans on teaching pup a lot of clever things! Shall keep you posted!

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