First, some facts:
- The “standard” view (positioning of dog for X-ray pictures of hips) is not the best… it is not the most accurate way to determine the real quality of hips. OFA, SV, and other registries have the dog stretched out on its back with legs straight out on the table, for the X-ray picture. While this is good for showing joint deterioration at the time, it is not accurate in showing true looseness, and it is not good for predicting what the hips will look like in a few years, when perhaps the dog has already produced puppies that inherit its hip quality.
- Accuracy in diagnosis and prediction, using that old ventro-dorsal position (lying flat on its back) increases with age of the dog being “X-rayed” (radiographed). At one year of age, which is when the SV starts “certifying” dogs, accuracy in predicting mature hip quality is rather poor—only the worst are identified when young, so progress in reducing incidence of dysplasia is still relatively poor.
- The SV has recently required a second hip radiograph after a dog has produced a certain number of litters, but popular dogs will still have put far too many dogs on the ground by then. That means many buyers will be stuck with pups that have less than ideal hips or chances of being valuable to the bred in that regard.
- The greater the number of truly “normal” ancestors in the near pedigree, the greater the odds that your dog will have good hips, meaning that it will have a better chance of avoiding both orthopedic problems itself, and of passing problems along to descendants.
- The only technique that gives an accurate, early, and relatively unchanging look at hip quality is the PennHIP technique and evaluation service. It is an abbreviation for “(U. of) Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program” developed at that university, and is available in a great number of countries. The German hierarchy (at least in the GSD world ruled by the SV) has typically, stubbornly resisted the better science of PennHIP and has thus condemned its members and followers to a world of limited improvement.