Genetic variation and genetic trends in hip and elbow dysplasia in Swedish Rottweiler and Bernese Mountain Dog


Sofia Malm, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7023, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. Tel: +46-18-671990; Fax: +46-18-672848; E-mail:


The aim of this study was to estimate genetic parameters and genetic trends for hip (HD) and elbow dysplasia (ED) in Swedish Rottweiler (RW) and Bernese Mountain Dog (BMD). Analyses were based on screening results of hip status for 14 693 RW and 8221 BMD and elbow status for 11 891 RW and 7963 BMD, as well as pedigree data for 16 614 RW and 9835 BMD, recorded by the Swedish Kennel Club. Components of (co)variance and breeding values were obtained with a mixed linear animal model. The model included the fixed effects of sex, birth month, age at screening and a combined random effect of clinic and year of examination. The need to include genetic groups for phantom parents in the model was evaluated by comparison of two different models: with and without genetic groups. Estimated heritabilities for HD and ED were between 0.34 and 0.42. The genetic correlation between the traits was weak and positive for RW (rg = 0.23 ± 0.05) and not different from zero for BMD (rg = 0.06 ± 0.06). F-statistics of the genetic group effects were not significant, implying that genetic groups do not need to be included in the model. Genetic trends indicated a genetic improvement in both traits. However, a faster genetic progress is expected if selection is based on predicted breeding values rather than phenotype. Based on the results, a statistical model for routine prediction of breeding values for HD and ED in Swedish dogs was suggested.