What do Hip and Elbow Ratings mean?

A common question that’s asked among new and returning german shepherd owners is, “What do the hip and elbow ratings mean?”. It can be beneficial to know and understand the hip and elbow ratings assigned to your dog and their parents. It’s also important to know that every dog is different and that even excellent hips and elbows should be taken care of as genetics only play a partial roll in the health of the hips and elbows over time. With that said, let us jump into the ratings to see how they’re rated and what they mean!

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals does one of the most common ratings of hips and elbows for animals, also known as the OFA Rating. When the dog is one year old, their x-rays can be sent to receive a preliminary rating on their hips and elbows. Then when the dog is two years of age, they can be x-rayed to receive an OFA rating. This process is done by having an x-ray sent in and reviewed; a consensus of three independents will evaluate and certify them. Once the images have been reviewed, they will be given a rating such as excellent, Good, Fair, and Borderline. Below we break down the ratings directly from OFA in more detail.

The above information is the general ratings provided by the OFA. However, these ratings can be described by differing terms. Below you can find a table that shows some alternative names and terms for these ratings:

Overall, understanding your dogs’ rating can help give a general idea of the quality of your dog’s hips and elbows. While the rating is great for a general idea, it’s important to keep in mind that genetics only play a partial role. Making sure to take care of your dogs developing hips and elbows can also affect them. It’s best to avoid activities that are hard on developing hips and elbows such as jumping in and out of tall structures and vehicles.

The more that we know about the development of the hips and elbows of a dog, the better we can help protect them. This is a wonderful example of how knowledge is power on the road to helping your dog achieve a good hip and elbow rating. As we know, genetics, diet, and environment play a vital role in hip and elbow development. However, the choice of spaying or neutering your dog can also have an impact. Check out this article Canine Extreme posted from a study by Trina Wood on when to Spay or Neuter your dog. Click below to read more!

Early Neutering Poses Health Risks for German Shepherd Dogs


Hip Grade Details | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals …. https://www.ofa.org/diseases/hip-dysplasia/grades

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