Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan, USA
As far as the rating itself, A3 is still passing under the German system. While some question whether it should pass and indeed the grade may include a dog with mild HD (at the same time I've seen a3s go OFA Good), a dog with a3 hips is still physically sound from an ability to work/quality of life standpoint. Some people say the same thing about OFA Fair.
As far as breeding it, one has to look at the overall dog and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. IMO, a dog with a3 with exemplary temperament and health overall is a better breeding candidate than a dog with perfect hips and poor temperament or overall health. Though a breeder would most likely "breed up" with regards to hips, mating that dog to one with a better hip rating from a family of strong hip producers.
One also has to look at the depth and breadth of the pedigree as it relates to hip production and look beyond just the parents and grandparents but the littermates and other offspring of the parents and grandparents to get an idea of what genes those lines hold as it relates to hips. What percentage of dogs from these lines pass the a stamp? What are the ratings? What are the ZWs? If a high percentage are passing hips, and most with better ratings than a3, then the a3 is far less worrisome. If a high percentage aren't passing hips, or aren't even being submitted, or a3 is the most common rating in the relatives that do pass, then the dog may not be a good breeding candidate from a hip standpoint even if she were an a1 herself.
A breeder must always look beyond the rating on the individual dog. In many ways the individual rating is meaningless beyond pass/fail, one has to look at the trends in the family as a whole not just that one dog.
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