There tends to
be a constant turnover of people, be they exhibitors, breeders or whatever, who
are involved in any given breed at any one period of time. This applies to all
breeds and Gordon setters are no exception. As this is the case, and as it
seems to have been some considerable time since there have been any articles or
features in any breed Newsletters or Year Books concerning hip scores and hip
dysplasia (HD), I feel that there may be many who are now involved who will
benefit from an article giving a very general overview of these.
History
First reports
of canine HD appeared in American Journals in 1935 but it received little
publicity until the 1950’s. Over the following ten years serious research began
and schemes to combat HD were set up initially in Scandinavia. A scheme was set
up in Britain under the auspices of the GSD League in 1961 but this was
abandoned in 1965 when the BVA scheme began.
To start with
the BVA/KC scheme simply categorised hips as Certificate, Letter or Fail which
corresponded to Normal, near Normal or Failure. Total submissions to this
scheme from all breeds rarely exceeded 400 per annum. During 1978, Dr Malcolm
Willis, acting on behalf of the GSD Improvement Foundation, approached the BVA
to consider another scheme. Prof Lawson,
who was the Chief Scrutineer of the BVA panel, put forward the idea of the
scoring scheme and by late 1983 the old BVA/KC scheme was abandoned for all
breeds in favour of the scoring scheme as we know it today.
Gordon setter
breeders became more and more concerned about hip problems and they approached
Dr Willis for help and guidance at the start of 1984. Dr Willis was Senior
Lecturer in Animal Breeding & Genetics at NewcastleuponTyne University, a
renowned author on Genetics and GSD’s; he also maintained comprehensive data on
hip scores in all breeds. For many years he supplied Gordon Breed clubs and
individual breeders with help, information and detailed annual reports which
were included in Year Books or Newsletters.
Report content
As far as I am
aware, the last time any Gordon breed club published a full report from Dr
Willis was in 1992, and as I write this I can see that his report covered up to
23 June ’92; as we are now at June 2008, that is 16 years ago! Dr Willis has
not been in good health recently but as his reports were comprehensive and
provided information which was specific to Gordons, I
am surprised that nobody seems to have continued maintaining these types of
statistics and made them available.
The 1992 report gives overall figures for
scoring in Gordon setters; at that time a total of 880 Gordons
had been scored, which included 41 Australian scores. The scores ranged from 0
– 104 with a mean score of 25.70 for British Gordons,
which reduced to 25.05 when the Australian data was included.
I felt that it
would be more prudent  and better received by Gordon setter breeders  if an
‘official’ up to date analysis could be obtained. With this in mind I
approached Prof Jeff Sampson, KC Genetics Consultant, and the following is the
report he kindly compiled. I forwarded it to the British Gordon Setter Club and
it reproduced it in its Newsletter.
Analysis of Hip Scoring results for the Gordon Setter
Dr Jeff Sampson, Kennel Club Genetics Consultant. July 2008
I have been
asked to provide an update of hip scoring in the Gordon Setter, analyses that
have been provided by Dr Malcolm Willis in the past. Dr Willis was the consultant to the BVA/KC
Hip Scoring Scheme and as such probably had access to more data than is
available to me. The following analyses
have been produced from data that has been deposited on the KC Registration
Database since 1992, to which I have access, and will closely approximate to
the data available to Dr Willis.
Table 1
reflects the trends in hip scoring since 1992 and I have chosen to use the
concept of a 5year rolling mean (median) to demonstrate these trends. So, the
1996 mean (median) reflects all dogs scored in the previous 5 years, i.e. from
01/01/1992 to 31/12/1996. Then, to
compute the 1997 mean (median) the start and finish year moves on by one, so
the 1997 mean (median) reflects those dogs scored between 01/01/1993 and
31/12/1997, the 1998 mean (median) is computed from dogs scored between
01/01/1994 and 31/12/1998, and so on ending with the 2007 mean (median)
representing those dogs scored between 01/01/2003 and 31/12/2007. Remember, the mean is the arithmetic average
of all dogs scored, i.e. the sum of all of the scores in the period divided by
the number of dogs scored in the period.
The median is the middle value in a distribution, above and below which
lie an equal number of values.
Table 1 5year Rolling Trends in Hip Scoring between 1992 and 2007
Year End 
No. of scored dogs in the
period 
No. of dogs registered in the
period 
5year Rolling Mean (Median) 
Range of scores in the period 
% of * dogs scored with scores of 0 – 10 
% of * dogs scored with scores > 30 







1996 
467 
2366 
26.0(19) 
097 
20 
29 
1997 
475 
2193 
25.1(18) 
097 
22 
27 
1998 
454 
2192 
24.2(18) 
097 
20 
24 
1999 
451 
2095 
23.7(17) 
097 
21 
24 
2000 
426 
1969 
23.2(16) 
092 
23 
22 
2001 
412 
1843 
21.0(15) 
076 
25 
21 
2002 
414 
1747 
20.2(15) 
086 
27 
20 
2003 
412 
1705 
18.7(13) 
086 
33 
18 
2004 
399 
1744 
18.5(13) 
092 
35 
17 
2005 
426 
1602 
18.6(13) 
0100 
36 
17 
2006 
431 
1659 
17.9 
0100 
39 
15 
2007 
407 
1721 
18.0(12) 
0100 
39 
15 
* to the
nearest whole number
This table
paints a very encouraging picture for the breed, exemplified by the year on
year fall in the 5year rolling mean and median values. Often criticism of the scheme, and the
progress seen by these analyses, is that the downward trends are simply the
result of an increasing trend for breeders/owners not to submit the radiographs
of high scoring dogs on the advice of their vet. I am sure that this does happen, although
under the scheme rules it shouldn’t, but these results do not support this as
the reason for the improvement seen.
Yes, the results do show that during this period the percentage of dogs
scoring greater than 30 has reduced by 50%, but this is accompanied by a 50%
increase in the percentage of dogs with scores less than 10. I think that this shows that these data are
demonstrating a genuine year on year improvement in the average hip scores in
this breed.
Progeny testing using dogs scored since 01/01/1992, for sires that have
had 10 or more progeny scored during this period.
In the past Dr
Willis has produced average progeny scores for individual sires. The last time that he did this for the Gordon
Setter was in 1992, so I have taken this analysis from 1992 until the present
time (See separate table). Average
progeny scores can give a lot of information about a particular sire and the
kind of progeny that the sire is likely to produce. Obviously, this will depend on the number of
scored progeny for each sire; to quote Dr Willis, “Progeny averages on 5
progeny are about as reliable as the dog’s own hip score. This, in turn, would depend on heritability. Averages from 20 progeny are more reliable
than the dog’s own hip score to the point that the dog’s own hip becomes almost
irrelevant”
So, in this
table I have listed the average progeny scores for all sires that have had 10
or more progeny scored during the period.
I have listed the dogs, in order of average progeny scores. I have listed the number of scored progeny,
together with total registered progeny for sire, and the number of dams that
have produced these scored progeny with the sire. I have also listed the range of progeny hip
scores, together with the percentage of progeny that fall within various hip
score ranges. Finally, obviously the hip
score of progeny not only depends on the sire score, but also the dam score, so
I have also indicated the range of scores in the dams mated to the sire. ‘NS’ means that the dams have not been hip
scored. The sire’s own hip score is
given in parenthesis; ‘NS’ showing that the sire was not scored.
It is worth
repeating the advice that Dr Willis has given in the past:
“The way to
reduce hips score means is to initially breed from the better (lower) scored
animals and, as progeny data become available, breed from those animals which
are producing lower mean scores and better distributions of scores”.
In the tables
below the sires are listed in ascending order of mean progeny score based on an
arithmetic mean. “In looking at these
rankings one must not think that a dog with a mean of say 14.1 is better than a
dog with a mean of say 15.5, since both are in a similar area. However, dogs that have wide differences are
likely to be truly different. One must,
of course, take account of the number of progeny available. The more progeny scored (for a given sire),
the more reliable the information”.
“In using
these tables, remember that lower progeny scores are better and higher progeny
numbers from large number of dams are also better. In looking at the ranges of progeny try to
use sires with high percentages of progeny in the lower score ranges (05, 610
and 1120) and low percentages in the higher score ranges (above a score of 30)
Bonnie
Scougall writes: Although Prof Sampson has marked a number of the sires/dams as
‘not scored (NS)’, readers should note that in the majority of cases, these Gordons were in fact scored. As it was prior to the KC
publishing all scores, perhaps it would be advisable to read it as ‘not
recorded’.