I'm sure I've asked this before, but this topic just continues to baffles me. Why?? If these dogs were well documented as producing many progeny with severe HD, were they considered such an asset in the breeding world?? Are their progeny's successes more heavily documented than the ones with issues?
When these dogs were being bred, the ZW system was not in place...this was about WINNING...
the attitude here in the States - particularly as expressed by people who love GSDs, have companion GSDs, and are not active in any sport - is vastly different from the European and especially the European breeder from my exposure/experience. Hips are only ONE line on a punch list of attributes considered in a breeding....and every aspect has a risk factor of being carried through....temperament, dentition, hips, coat, color....etc etc
It is common in Germany (from the people I have spoken to!!) that a dog or pup with bad hips will be put down rather than seeking a home for that dog if it is in a competition home (pet home - don't know!) but the people who show/trial/compete/breed UNDERSTAND that there are many negative variables that can show up - hips, drive, temperament, grips, courage, etc - that will wash the prospect out of their program....hips are no more or less important than any other. Frankly, MANY dogs who fail OFAs or 'a' stamps still live happy productive lives. Not all are severely dysplastic, and many get titled and are active in sports or real work...many live full lives as pets... a smaller percentage are severe enough to be surgical candidates or be euthanized
One of the problems today is the line breeding and back massing on these well known dogs who were poor hip producers....even with the closer generations showing clear - the back massing allows a larger risk for the genes of the poor hips to come through - just like the issues with Lance of Fran Jo affecting the ASL population. Breeders breed to change angulation of forearm, set of ears, coup, tail - all the things they can see...but the conformation of the hip joint is not visible, so they don't think about it in the same way...I believe as technology progesses, we will be able to see the hip x-rays of our breeding stock and potential mates more easily and can take them into account in our breeding decisions!