• breeding values;
  • genetic trend;
  • heritability;
  • lateral patellar luxation;
  • phenotypic trend;
  • prevalence;
  • sex predisposition


Canine patellar luxation has been described in various dog breeds, with high prevalence especially in smaller dogs. Most dogs suffer from medial displacement of the patella, although in larger dogs lateral displacement is also seen. A sex predisposition has been described for females. Patellar luxation is considered a polygenic, multifactorial disorder. From 1990 to 2007, in total 3834 Flat-Coated Retrievers were screened; 23.6% of those animals were affected with patellar luxation. Lateral displacement of the patella was most common in this breed (61% of cases), whereas medial (31% of cases) and lateral and medial (8% of cases) were less common. Unilateral involvement (51% of cases) was just as often observed as was bilateral involvement (49% of cases). Females were more often affected with patellar luxation (30% of all tested females) than were males (17% of all tested males). The heritability of patellar luxation was 0.17 ± 0.03 in this population, and breeding with one affected parent increased the prevalence of patellar luxation in offspring by 45% compared to that with two unaffected parents. Since the start of the screening program, there was an initial decrease from 28% to 18% in incidence, but this stagnated thereafter. The annual average estimated breeding values followed the same pattern. With approximately one quarter of the Dutch Flat-Coated Retrievers being affected with patellar luxation, this population shows unusually high prevalence compared with reports in other large-breed dogs. The heritability for patellar luxation in this population was moderate (0.17), indicating that environmental factors play a large role in the manifestation of the disorder. A screening program reduced the prevalence of patellar luxation in this breed, but improvement has recently stagnated. Inclusion of breeding values in the screening program could improve its effectiveness.