Mapping of Genetic Risk Factors for Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an inherited disorder of Portuguese Water Dogs. Currently, breeders utilize phenotypic screening methods in an effort to decrease the incidence of this disease in the breed. However, understanding the genetics of this disorder would have a profound impact on the ability of breeders to prevent this disease in future generations. Breakthroughs in other breeds can be utilized to better understand the genetics of this condition in Portuguese Water dogs.

Research Objective

Canine hip dysplasia is a common developmental disorder of the hip joint that severely affects a dog’s quality of life. As the disease has several genetic risk elements and is influenced by environmental factors like diet and exercise, it is of paramount importance that genetic association studies are conducted using adequately-sized cohorts of genotyped diseased and healthy animals.

Dr. Iivanainen will sample a large population of dogs (>300-400 dogs) so that contributing genetic loci can reliably be discovered. This research group expects that with such a strongly powered study all major genetic risk factors can be uncovered with a high statistical significance. Investigators expect that identified loci will be discovered across breeds. The identification of genetic risk elements will allow the development of genetic tests that can be used in breeding programs to control the disease incidence, as well as further studies regarding the possible role of diet and exercise in hip dysplasia development.

Co-sponsored with the Morris Animal Foundation, Grant Number: 01828


Dr. Antti Iivanainen, DVM, PhD
University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics