What is Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a complex inherited condition where the hip joint does not develop correctly. Abnormalities include structural changes to the shape of the hip, ball and socket

As an affected dog gets older, the joint undergoes degenerative changes, leading to a loss of function. Development of osteoarthritis is likely. This is a painful condition

Is the Vizsla prone to Hip Dysplasia

Yes. The Hungarian Vizsla is one of 10 breeds identified by the BVA as “at risk” of developing Hip Dysplasia

Signs of Hip Dysplasia

These vary between individuals and may include:

  • Lameness (being unable to walk correctly)
  • Stiffness after rest
  • A reluctance to exercise
  • Groaning while resting or getting up
  • Difficulty in using the stairs

A vet’s physical examination will provide a more reliable assessment of whether hip dysplasia is present and an X-ray is the only definitive way of diagnosing hip dysplasia.

How Can Hip Dysplasia be avoided

The best way to avoid Hip Dysplasia is to use the Kennel Club Health Checker to see whether your puppy comes from pedigree lines where both parents and as many relatives as possible have been hip screened – and have low scores. There is also a useful tool called “Estimated Breeding Values” (EBV) which is a calculation (based on known data) of the genetic “risk” of a particular individual’s (or a mating’s progeny) being affected by HD

Screening for Hip Dysplasia

The BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club (KC) Hip Dysplasia Scheme assesses dogs’ x-rays to look for abnormalities in hip joints. A panel of experts provide a graded score for each x-ray. Your vet can organise this for you

BVA hipscoring table

Under the scoring scheme, nine radiographic features for each hip are assessed with a numerical score given to each (0-6). Points are given to each undesirable feature with zero being a perfect example of that feature.

To achieve meaningful comparisons between dogs, the individual parameter scores are then summated giving a total for each hip and a total score for the dog. The total scores for each hip may range from 0-53, with the lowest numbers being most desirable. See Table 1.

A Hip Score of 0,0 (Total=0) is perfect and one of 53,53 (Total = maximum 106) as bad as can be. For each breed the British Veterinary Association provides a rolling calculation of an average score.  This is known as the Breed Mean Score (BMS). The BMS for Hungarian Vizslas is currently (2021) a Total =11. The highest hip score ever recorded for a vizsla is a total of 95.


Health screening under the KC/BVA Hip/Elbow/Eye schemes, BEFORE mating, is mandatory for Hungarian Vizsla Club members. The Hungarian Vizsla Society has a similar code of conduct. The Kennel Club requires the same tests for membership of its Approved Breeder Scheme.

It is important not just to undertake Health screening – but also to be guided by the results! For the avoidance of Hip Dysplasia it is recommended that only dogs with good low hip scores be used for breeding purposes. The current breed mean score is a total (across both hips) of 11 – and ideally dogs and bitches higher than this should be discounted.

Family history is also an important consideration and the Kennel Club’s Estimated Breeding Value tool gives a calculation (based on known data) of the genetic “risk” of a particular individual’s (or a mating’s progeny) being affected by HD. The guidance is to use only dogs with a score in the “green” zone