In dogs hip joint laxity that can lead to degenerative joint disease (DJD) is frequent and heritable, providing a genetic model for some aspects of the human disease. We have used Portuguese water dogs (PWDs) to identify Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that regulate laxity in the hip joint. A population of 286 PWDs, each characterized by ca. 500 molecular genetic markers, was analyzed for subluxation of the hip joint as measured by the Norberg angle, a quantitative radiographic measure of laxity. A significant directed asymmetry was observed, such that greater laxity was observed in the left than the right hip. This asymmetry was not heritable. However, the average Norberg angle was highly heritable as were the Norberg angles of either the right or left hips. After correction for pedigree effects, two QTLs were identified using the metrics of the left and right hips as separate data sets. Both are on canine chromosome 1 (CFA1), separated by about 95 Mb. One QTL, associated with the SSR marker FH2524 was significant for the left, but not the right hip. The other, associated with FH2598, was significant for the right but not the left hip. For both QTLs, some extreme phenotypes were best explained by specific interactions between haplotypes. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.