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I have noticed that some members of the forum recommend only buying puppies from breeders where both the sire and dam have at least OFA good hips.

My thought is that if breeders only bred dogs with OFA good or better, the gene pool would be greatly reduced. In my research, I have noticed one litter where there were 3 pups listed who became champions - one was Fair, one was Good, and one was Excellent. OFA states that a dog with a Fair rating is not dysplastic.

OFA hip statistics for Goldens evaluated from 2011 to 2015 show a percentage of 8.4% Excellent and 15.5% dysplastic. This leaves 76.1% that were either Good or Fair. I could not find a breakdown for % Good and % Fair. A total of 156,606 Goldens have been evaluated pre-1990 through 2015.

We all want healthy dogs, but narrowing the gene pool by not breeding OFA Fair dogs could lead to more health problems in the long run.

I would like to hear more thoughts on this from other members. Thanks
 

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I haven't seen this-
Fair hips are passing hips, I tell people that 'fair' is not 'almost dysplastic' - they are rating the conformation of the hip joint in the non-dysplastic dog.

Borderline, and below- those are dysplastic dogs.
Your numbers for Excellent are twice what I have seen, but I have not looked lately- so if your numbers are right, that just means continuing to breed animals with hip clearances is causing an increase in the number of excellently conformed hip joints in Goldens.
 

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I'll prefaces this with I have probably only looked at maybe a 1000, maybe 1500 Goldens on OFA (far less then some on here) but the percentage of OFA ratings of Fair and Good I would think is pretty close to even. Without keeping track I feel there isn't one rating I would say I have noticed being much more frequent then the other (being fair or good rating), maybe good a little more then fair. The one you tend to notice are excellent since they really aren't very common. I rare see more then 1 or 2 dogs in any hobby breeding program that have an excellent rating.


I have never worried about a fair rating in a breeding pair that I was looking to purchase a pup from, even if both have a fair rating. Like Robin said above, passing is passing and means the hips aren't dysplastic.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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We want to avoid genetic bottlenecks if at all possible. IMHO, popular sire syndrome is by far the worst for the breed. You're much better off avoiding a litter from a popular sire, or which has lot of popular sires in the pedigree, than you are buying a puppy from a dog with fair hips. And, after all, as Prism says, fair hips aren't "almost dysplastic" hips, they are passing, correct, nondysplastic hips.
 

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Kate
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For people on this forum looking for a puppy - as long as the clearances are all there, it's an easy recommend. Because a lot of people looking for pups on this forum are looking at really bad breeders sometimes. It's breeders breeding dogs with no clearances (includes prelim or none). And this sadly includes us sometimes deliberately not looking behind the parents. As long as the parents have full clearances (eyes, heart, hips, elbows), it's all good.

Fair is a passing grade, PLUS - Excellent hips can produce fair hips. Fair hips can produce excellent hips.

Personally speaking, I DO somewhat look for Excellent hips close behind my pup... if I am buying? But that's because I want a dog to have a long career in obedience and now conformation has added some pressure as far as getting more of a sure thing in something that really has no sure things?

With my Jovi (and Glee), their parents both have Good hips. And then 3 out of the 4 grandparents have Excellent hips (other gp has Good hips). That makes me somewhat happy - but it does not take the stress and uncertainty out of the equation while waiting until he's 2 to do hips/elbows.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OFA hip Statistics for All goldens evaluated (including pre-1990 through 2015) are:
# of Goldens evaluated: 156,606
% Excellent: 4.7
% Dysplastic: 19.9

OFA Statistics for Goldens for just the period of 2011-2015 are:
# of Goldens evaluated: 16,161
% Excellent: 8.4
% Dysplastic: 15.5

Of course it may be hard to be precise because owners may choose not to have failing x-rays submitted.

However, the huge increase in excellent ratings over time indicates to me that breeding dogs with OFA passing hips has made a huge difference over time.

You can check out these figures for Goldens and figures for other breeds on OFA the site is OFFA.org.

Thanks so much for your replies to my post.
 

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For people on this forum looking for a puppy - as long as the clearances are all there, it's an easy recommend. Because a lot of people looking for pups on this forum are looking at really bad breeders sometimes. It's breeders breeding dogs with no clearances (includes prelim or none). And this sadly includes us sometimes deliberately not looking behind the parents. As long as the parents have full clearances (eyes, heart, hips, elbows), it's all good.

Fair is a passing grade, PLUS - Excellent hips can produce fair hips. Fair hips can produce excellent hips.

Personally speaking, I DO somewhat look for Excellent hips close behind my pup... if I am buying? But that's because I want a dog to have a long career in obedience and now conformation has added some pressure as far as getting more of a sure thing in something that really has no sure things?

With my Jovi (and Glee), their parents both have Good hips. And then 3 out of the 4 grandparents have Excellent hips (other gp has Good hips). That makes me somewhat happy - but it does not take the stress and uncertainty out of the equation while waiting until he's 2 to do hips/elbows.
I know this is a little bit of an older post now and I also don’t mean to derail it or hijack but you mentioned you look for better hips since you do obedience and conformation, do you think it is possibly even more important for other, possibly more active or I guess demanding, sports like agility or dock diving? I’ve been thinking of trying those with the next dog I get as well as possibly nose work or skijoring or bikejoring.

I know fairs are technically passing but it seems if they’re doing a lot of jumping and twisting or pulling it could be a bit more of a concern??

Or do you think fair hips would be perfectly fine?
 

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Kate
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do you think it is possibly even more important for other, possibly more active or I guess demanding, sports like agility or dock diving? I’ve been thinking of trying those with the next dog I get as well as possibly nose work or skijoring or bikejoring.
More important for agility... but quite honest, overall structure of dogs = very important for agility as well. But depends on what you are DOING in agility too. Dabbling is different than what some of the serious top level stuff people do.

Nosework is low concern. Dogs are not exactly running full distances in a nosework trial. :)

Dockdiving is as demanding as you make it.

Skijoring and bikejoring - I have no idea what either of those are without googling. But I suspect other breeds might be more idea for these things. Golden retrievers are not breeds shaped and intended for long distance running.

Excess - Jumping, twisting, pulling are negative for any joints AND muscles. You have to be in good contact with a chiropractor if these are your plans. :)
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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I know fair hips are technically passing but it seems if they’re doing a lot of jumping and twisting or pulling it could be a bit more of a concern??

Or do you think fair hips would be perfectly fine?
Fair hips are not "technically" passing. This characterization misunderstands the grade and the hips. Fair is passing, period. Not "technically," any more than mild dysplasia is "technically" dysplastic.

And I've had dogs with fair hips that were agility and hunting dogs, and they did just fine their whole lives.

Personally, I think the OFA should change "fair" to "correct" or "passing" or some such. The fair/good/excellent scale is a technical grade characterizing the amount of coverage of the femoral heads, and isn't an indication of how close they are to being dysplastic. It's time we get away from this misunderstanding of passing, non-dysplastic hips, which I think is caused by our lay interpretation of "fair" as being "almost dysplastic," which it is not.

We don't, for instance, grade rear angulation as fair/good/excellent depending on the amount of angulation. Nor do we grade coat length in that way. The scale for hips is taxonomic, and says more about the priorities of tho radiologists and orthopedists who created the scale than it does the functionality of the hips graded. It's not as if by creating the grade they discovered new and different kinds of hips. They are simply dividing them up according to their own agendas, the way an optometrist might divide his nearsighted customers into single/bifocal/progressive lens customers.
 

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I know fair hips are technically passing but it seems if they’re doing a lot of jumping and twisting or pulling it could be a bit more of a concern??

Or do you think fair hips would be perfectly fine?
Fair hips are not "technically" passing. This characterization misunderstands the grade and the hips. Fair is passing, period. Not "technically," any more than mild dysplasia is "technically" dysplastic.

And I've had dogs with fair hips that were agility and hunting dogs, and they did just fine their whole lives.

Personally, I think the OFA should change "fair" to "correct" or "passing" or some such. The fair/good/excellent scale is a technical grade characterizing the amount of coverage of the femoral heads, and isn't an indication of how close they are to being dysplastic. It's time we get away from this misunderstanding of passing, non-dysplastic hips, which I think is caused by our lay interpretation of "fair" as being "almost dysplastic," which it is not.

We don't, for instance, grade rear angulation as fair/good/excellent depending on the amount of angulation. Nor do we grade coat length in that way. The scale for hips is taxonomic, and says more about the priorities of tho radiologists and orthopedists who created the scale than it does the functionality of the hips graded. It's not as if by creating the grade they discovered new and different kinds of hips. They are simply dividing them up according to their own agendas, the way an optometrist might divide his nearsighted customers into single/bifocal/progressive lens customers.
Thank you, this is very helpful. You are right, I definitely have that misconception and maybe it is not fair (no pun intended). It is good to know that it’s not necessarily a worse rating or anything and that they can and are still active and healthy dogs and I appreciate all the information and you taking the time to explain it so thank you.
 

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do you think it is possibly even more important for other, possibly more active or I guess demanding, sports like agility or dock diving? I’ve been thinking of trying those with the next dog I get as well as possibly nose work or skijoring or bikejoring.
More important for agility... but quite honest, overall structure of dogs = very important for agility as well. But depends on what you are DOING in agility too. Dabbling is different than what some of the serious top level stuff people do.

Nosework is low concern. Dogs are not exactly running full distances in a nosework trial. <img src="http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />

Dockdiving is as demanding as you make it.

Skijoring and bikejoring - I have no idea what either of those are without googling. But I suspect other breeds might be more idea for these things. Golden retrievers are not breeds shaped and intended for long distance running.

Excess - Jumping, twisting, pulling are negative for any joints AND muscles. You have to be in good contact with a chiropractor if these are your plans. <img src="http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />
Thank you!! This is very helpful!!

I would mostly just be dabbling in all these sports and honestly I might not even do most of them. I’ve just always had an interest in them and the -joring stuff (more on that in a second) I just figured would be fun and good exercise for both the dog and I. But it all depends on the dog too. If they’re not interested in any of this stuff then I won’t do it either. But definitely not planning on being seriously competitive either. Mostly just dabbling in various things for fun and for the exercise and mental stimulation.

Currently I’m actually probably most interested in nose work and rally but might dabble in the other stuff.

But yeah I’d definitely find a doggie chiropractor if needed. ?

The skijoring and bikejoring thing isn’t really necessarily long distance, it can be as long or short as you make it, and with the biking one you can choose to have them next to you rather than actively pulling. Just figured it might be good exercise. But if they can’t do it I wouldn’t force them or anything. But from what I have read, any breed of dog can do it as long as they’re over about 35 pounds and like to pull. But I have a lot of other ways to exercise them that I can do instead if needed or if they’re not interested. Just figured it might be fun. Skijoring is basically just cross country skiing except the dog pulls you or at least helps (you do have to ski/help too). I wouldn’t compete in either, btw. They do have races but I don’t have any interest in that. But even the races are mostly sprints. But I’d mostly just go near my house and only go like a couple miles at most or less. Just thought it might be a fun winter sport and good exercise especially since winter is usually harder to get out. But totally understandable if it’s not the sport for us. Might actually probably be better for a breed that has tons of extra energy like even a GSP or something that’s harder to wear out haha most Goldens are pretty mellow right?

Anyway, sorry for rambling.

Thanks for all the info.

Either way, no matter what sport or hobby/exercise I chose, I’d be careful and make sure to not over exert the dog or do more than they could handle or anything like that. And if the dog showed they had no interest in it then I’d also stop pursuing that one. Wouldn’t want to force them to do anything they don’t want to do or injure them or anything like that.

That’s also why if I did do anything, I’d wait till like at least 18-24 months for their joints to close properly before doing any of the hard physical demanding sports.

Anyway, thanks again for all the info.
 

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Goldens aren't sled dogs.

*** I now remember where I heard about skijoring from - I have a friend who is kinda tops with Alaskan Malamutes. She's got probably the very rare record of putting MACH's and OTCH's on Malamutes. And I believe her dogs are conformation champions as well. She has a sled that she uses with her dogs, but she also does skijoring with them too.

The running joke especially for those of us with multiple goldens is put a sled or buggy behind them and really have fun. And it is very tempting - but even biking with my dogs could be kinda dangerous because they are so aware of me and are prone to double back and check on me. They could get run over. It's why the bikes for working conformation dogs have an attachment on them to keep the dogs out away from the wheels unless they are trained to run with a bike.

My guess is the same thing could happen with malamutes and huskies and saints and BMD's and so on and other dogs bred for sledding or drafting, so I probably don't know what I'm talking about. LOL. Those other breeds are bred for hauling though.
 

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Goldens aren't sled dogs.
I know that but it is quite a popular sport these days and a lot of people use all kinds of breeds and mixes for it.

I wasn’t planning to do it seriously or anything, just for some fun and exercise, but if it’s really not a good idea I won’t.

I wouldn’t want to injure them.

But all kinds of breeds do this. They don’t have to be sled dogs to do this particular one which is what I liked about it. It’s fun and good exercise.

But if it’s a bad idea I will skip it. It was just an idea I had, not necessarily one I’m actually going to do.

Nope, not really built for it. I wonder if there is a price to pay down the road.
That makes sense. Maybe longer, leaner dogs/breeds would be better for it? Though all kinds do it. But wouldn’t want to hurt them so I can skip it.

I actually don’t know if I want to do it either. Not big on cold or skiing in general. It was just an idea I had.

Not sure on the damage or if they’ve done any studies on it or anything but from what I understand running on soft ground is easier on dogs than running on hard surfaces? But idk if that’s true.

I would think maybe running alongside me rather than pulling may be a bit easier???

Which brings me to another question....

When you guys say they are not built for it, does that mean the pulling part or does that include running too?? Would running alongside or going on long hikes be easier? Or is that out too?
 

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I think I will skip the skijor and bikejoring idea. Seems like it’s not a good idea for them and also I think their fur might catch in the harness or snow anyway. Plus it seems Goldens are usually mellow than some other breeds and might not need that extra exercise/wearing out anyway? Not that they don’t need exercise but seems simpler exercise like swimming, fetch, walks, hiking, etc. would be fine for them? I know some friends who have dogs who never seem to wear out. May be better for those kinds of dogs. Or taller, longer, leaner dogs more built for it.

Although that said, if I did do it (which I most likely won’t now), I would only probably do it a couple times a month if even that often. It would not be a regular thing at all. Just an occasional for fun thing to try and at their pace. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time or hurt them or anything.

But I do think other breeds may be more suited for it or maybe ones with slightly shorter fur or a longer build.

So I think I will consider other stuff like maybe nose work or rally.

But all of this is still just hypothetical. I don’t have a Golden or any dog atm. We put our last dog down in December and I still haven’t narrowed down a breed for the next one yet. Between several.

Anyway, thanks for all the input because I’m glad to find out now they may not be suited for it versus later if I went to try it
 

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I know that but it is quite a popular sport these days and a lot of people use all kinds of breeds and mixes for it.

I wasn’t planning to do it seriously or anything, just for some fun and exercise, but if it’s really not a good idea I won’t.

I wouldn’t want to injure them.

But all kinds of breeds do this. They don’t have to be sled dogs to do this particular one which is what I liked about it. It’s fun and good exercise.

But if it’s a bad idea I will skip it. It was just an idea I had, not necessarily one I’m actually going to do.



That makes sense. Maybe longer, leaner dogs/breeds would be better for it? Though all kinds do it. But wouldn’t want to hurt them so I can skip it.

I actually don’t know if I want to do it either. Not big on cold or skiing in general. It was just an idea I had.

Not sure on the damage or if they’ve done any studies on it or anything but from what I understand running on soft ground is easier on dogs than running on hard surfaces? But idk if that’s true.

I would think maybe running alongside me rather than pulling may be a bit easier???

Which brings me to another question....

When you guys say they are not built for it, does that mean the pulling part or does that include running too?? Would running alongside or going on long hikes be easier? Or is that out too?
My Aunt has a Vizsla, and let me tell you THAT dog could run ALL day. She takes him on a long run every morning to help him stay calm, and then take him out on weekends hiking and running, and then her husband takes him hunting as well. You can just tell when comparing the body types of these breeds which one is built more for running and which one is not.

Goldens are not built for that type of running, though they do LOVE to run. I would be wary of too much stress on young, developing joints first and foremost. My golden LOVES hiking, nature walks, swimming especially and we also take obedience and are starting agility next week (low jump heights). Your golden will most likely like doing anything with you, but I will say that I think running on pavement shouldn't be a method of exercise.

Yes soft ground is much nicer on the joints than say, pavement or running and playing on asphalt. Even when we play fetch with Denver on a grass soccer field was stop after 5 throws just so he's not repetitively sprinting around on any type of ground.

Goldens do love doing all sorts of activities and I would encourage you to try whatever you want. Be mindful that goldens joints are developing until they're well over 1 year old, so you'll want to be conservative. Begin with obedience as a precursor to any other sport.
 

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I know that but it is quite a popular sport these days and a lot of people use all kinds of breeds and mixes for it.

I wasn’t planning to do it seriously or anything, just for some fun and exercise, but if it’s really not a good idea I won’t.

I wouldn’t want to injure them.

But all kinds of breeds do this. They don’t have to be sled dogs to do this particular one which is what I liked about it. It’s fun and good exercise.

But if it’s a bad idea I will skip it. It was just an idea I had, not necessarily one I’m actually going to do.



That makes sense. Maybe longer, leaner dogs/breeds would be better for it? Though all kinds do it. But wouldn’t want to hurt them so I can skip it.

I actually don’t know if I want to do it either. Not big on cold or skiing in general. It was just an idea I had.

Not sure on the damage or if they’ve done any studies on it or anything but from what I understand running on soft ground is easier on dogs than running on hard surfaces? But idk if that’s true.

I would think maybe running alongside me rather than pulling may be a bit easier???

Which brings me to another question....

When you guys say they are not built for it, does that mean the pulling part or does that include running too?? Would running alongside or going on long hikes be easier? Or is that out too?
My Aunt has a Vizsla, and let me tell you THAT dog could run ALL day. She takes him on a long run every morning to help him stay calm, and then take him out on weekends hiking and running, and then her husband takes him hunting as well. You can just tell when comparing the body types of these breeds which one is built more for running and which one is not.

Goldens are not built for that type of running, though they do LOVE to run. I would be wary of too much stress on young, developing joints first and foremost. My golden LOVES hiking, nature walks, swimming especially and we also take obedience and are starting agility next week (low jump heights). Your golden will most likely like doing anything with you, but I will say that I think running on pavement shouldn't be a method of exercise.

Yes soft ground is much nicer on the joints than say, pavement or running and playing on asphalt. Even when we play fetch with Denver on a grass soccer field was stop after 5 throws just so he's not repetitively sprinting around on any type of ground.

Goldens do love doing all sorts of activities and I would encourage you to try whatever you want. Be mindful that goldens joints are developing until they're well over 1 year old, so you'll want to be conservative. Begin with obedience as a precursor to any other sport.
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense and I never really thought of it like that before. Those are the kinds of dogs that are probably the best for it. And coincidentally also probably NOT the kind of dog I want haha soooo much energy. Pointers have tons of energy too right? Thought about a GSP but I do love the mellow, calm nature of the Goldens and seems this kind of goes against that. Although I would think agility would be hard on their joints too with all that twisting? But maybe because it is a shorter duration it is less harmful?

It is nice to know they can still hike and do other sports and such though. ?

And oh yeah, whatever I do, I would definitely wait until they’re probably 18-24 months to do it. Definitely want them to be fully developed so they won’t get injured. Would never do that stuff with a puppy. Also from what I’ve read even fetch or too much repetitive stuff can be bad for puppies and young dogs? Or even stairs?? So if I did play I think I would roll the ball gently on the grass and/or not do too many repetitions of commands? Or is that not true? Hard to tell as there is so much conflicting information online. I try to read and learn as much as possible not just about Goldens but dogs and training in general as well as any animal I bring into my life but so hard to know what’s fact or not.

So I appreciate all the input and advice you guys have given.
 

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And oh yeah, whatever I do, I would definitely wait until they’re probably 18-24 months to do it. Definitely want them to be fully developed so they won’t get injured. Would never do that stuff with a puppy. Also from what I’ve read even fetch or too much repetitive stuff can be bad for puppies and young dogs? Or even stairs?? So if I did play I think I would roll the ball gently on the grass and/or not do too many repetitions of commands? Or is that not true? Hard to tell as there is so much conflicting information online. I try to read and learn as much as possible not just about Goldens but dogs and training in general as well as any animal I bring into my life but so hard to know what’s fact or not.
We did play fetch with Denver when he was small, but at that age it maybe was one or two throws. They just don't have the attention for it until they're older. I think we started hiking when he was 5 months. I remember someone from here gave me the advice "If a little kid can do it, a puppy can too" meaning if a hike is ok for kids a puppy will be fine.

We didn't let him do stairs, and didn't let him jump in or out of the car. He started jumping up on the bed around 5 months, and we did our very best to ALWAYS lift him back down. I think as long as everything is done in moderation, and you do your very best to avoid stairs, jumping off sofas, beds that's all you can do.

Finding a breeder that tests all of their dogs for hips/elbows helps to stack the odds in your favor of getting a puppy with the correct structure to withstand normal activities.
 
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