"Normal for Age"

Sometimes while you are surfing through breeder's webpages, you might come across the words "hips & elbows normal for age".  What does this mean? Depends on where you see it and how it is used. 

I was recently surfing through a website and saw "normal for age" being used for an 8 week old puppy.  I was a bit startled and amused.  Unless this person has x-ray vision, there is no way they know for sure this dog is normal.  My first reaction is this person is a complete newbie and has no clue as to what they are doing.

If you see it on a young puppy such as this, then it means they have hips and elbows.  Period.   Without a preliminary x-ray of the hips and elbows there is NO WAY anyone can tell a puppy has normal hips and elbows for age.  They are misleading you and its time to click off that page.  Big red flag.

Generally, most breeders do preliminary hip and elbow x-rays when the dog is approx. 14-15 months of age.  Anything before that time isn't considered as acurate.  According to the OFA, "For normal hip conformations, the reliability was 89.6% at 3-6 months, 93.8% at 7-12 months, and 95.2% at 13-18 months."

I asked some prominant Labrador breeders what they thought when someone claims "Hips/Elbows Normal for age" on young puppies or dogs not prelimed and their responses follows:

"I guess I'd think the puppy wasn't obviously crippled. Nothing much more you can say"

"Hmmm... It's either somebody who really doesn't know about such things, or, well, somebody who just doesn't know. That's what I would think."

"Probably that it's "normal for age" to have not x-rayed yet, and the dog doesn't limp"

"As for any dog who hasn't been prelimed, there is no logical way anyone can say he/she is normal for age! Only a specialist like those at OFA/OVC can determine that!!! It would be great if we could just look at a dog and make that statement but obviously that is not the case!!!"

"I think that either the breeder isn't as experienced as they are trying to lead people into believing or, they are playing to the ignorance of the dog buying public"

"For me, when I see something like this, I automatically think the person is either very new or trying to dupe the buying public"

So if you see a website which claims "hips/elbows normal for age", please ask them when their preliminary x-rays were done.  If the animal hasn't had prelims, then you are being deceived.


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