Hereditary Diseases in Golden Retrievers

Just like all breeds, Golden Retrievers have hereditary defects. Breeders who are members of the Golden Retriever Club of Qld. Inc. are recommended to follow the rules set down by our Club. These rules include screening of all hereditary defects by either x-rays, specialist consultations etc. before breeding with a male dog or bitch.

The hereditary defects most commonly associated with Golden Retrievers are Hip dysplasia and Eye Defects.


Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip-joint, influenced by hereditary and other factors. The hip-joint is referred to as a ball-and-socket joint, the rounded head of the femur fitting into the cup-like acetabulum. Hip dysplasia results in instability of the joint due to alterations of the head of the femur and a shallowness of the acetabulum. The degree of change can vary from slight to so severe that the head of the femur can become totally dislocated. The dog’s movement does not always give an accurate assessment of the degree of hip dysplasia. Dogs with changes of hip dysplasia will develop osteoarthritis later in life.

The only way to confirm hip dysplasia is through an x-ray. All breeders x-ray their dogs and bitches before considering breeding with them. The x-rays are sent away to be scored. The x-ray plate of each hip joint is measured and scored between 0 and 53 e.g. 4:5 (9). See attached two examples of the forms, which accompany the dog’s x-ray to the accredited Hip Scoring Schemes.

Dogs with Hip Dysplasia can lead normal long lives. Veterinary Science today is much advanced in the treatment of the ailments of Hip Dysplasia and only in very severe cases will a dog be considered by a vet untreatable and need to be put to sleep.

It must be stated at this stage, by keeping your puppy the correct weight, not over exercising, not allowing the puppy under 12 months of age to jump into/onto objects, you will help minimise the chances of your dog sustaining any injuries that could present as Hip Dysplasia.

Even though Hip Dysplasia scoring might not mean much to you, when purchasing your puppy ask your breeder for a look at the breeding pair’s hip scores and ask the breeder to explain the scores to you.

There can never be a guarantee given when purchasing a puppy against Hip Dysplasia – all that responsible breeders can do, is follow the guidelines put down by the Canine Control Council and the Golden Retriever Club of Queensland Inc.

Please click on this link for a more informative and detailed explanation on HIP DYSPLASIA.

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