For those that know me, know that I like to keep up on the health of my dogs, dogs that I breed, and tests where applicable (or appropriate). The hip score (by x-ray) for some breeds is one of the recommended tests by breed clubs. It's not with our breed, and therefore most Welsh Terriers breeders don't do it.
I'm on the fence about this one. Some long time breeders tell me it is not an issue, while others are adamant that it is (or was). The issue comes up occasionally on pet focused email lists. In the last 36 years, 101 Welsh Terriers that had hip x-rays submitted to OFFA - 6% were "excellent" and 18% were "dysplastic" (click here for the link). This clearly isn't representative for the breed - but it does say that hip dysplaysia can be seen in the breed.
I've decided to take the approach to test dogs that are living with me, over 2 years of age (min for the test), active part of my breeding program, and time permits. (note, it is much more difficult to arrange to do this if they are at dog shows every other weekend with a handler). Given that this is not mandated by my breed club, I won't try to get 100% coverage, and I won't require bitches that want to breed to my dogs do this. But, for my own interest, I will now have this test done on my important dogs in my breeding program.
A couple of years ago, Haley (Parker and Athena's dam) was one of my first ones to be done. Her hips came back as Good (apparently, Excellent, Good and Fair are all just fine!). Today I received the results in the mail that her son, Parker, BISS/BIS Am/Can Ch Darwyn's Webslinger also has "Good" Hip Scores! Parker, of course, is my boy that won Best of Breed at the Welsh Terrier Club of America National Specialty, on Montgomery day in 2009 - and went on to be the #8 overall Terrier in Canada last year! This year he is just hanging out with us at home, watching over some of his beautiful offspring that he sired with Paisa - MBIS Am/Can Ch Sanherpinc Paisa, and enjoying the AWESOME success of his 1/2 brother Joe - BISS/MBIS GCh Am & Can Ch Darwyn's I'm Not Arguing That, in the Canadian show ring this year (and US last year!).
Given the importance of this test for some breeds, OFFA has a public record for dogs that have been tested. Click here for the OFFA link to Parker's OFA results.
My vet has the nifty x-ray machine that provides a digital output -- here are Parker's beautiful hips! (click on it to see a larger view) :-)
So ... do we all need to go out and x-ray our dogs? Not necessarily, however, it is something that as a breed, we should keep our eye on and watch out that we aren't going downhill and bringing those dysplastic ones into our breeding programs -- clearly they are in the breed ... somewhere!