In cooperation with breed clubs and practising veterinarians throughout Norway, the elbow joints of rottweilers, Bernese mountain dogs and Newfoundlands were screened for osteophyte formation/arthrosis, indicating primary elbow lesions. The changes were graded 0 to 3 and the results subjected to statistical analysis regarding frequencies, frequencies relative to sex, relative risks, differences between offspring groups and heritability. The number of dogs examined were: rottweilers, 1423, Bernese mountain dogs, 414 and Newfoundlands, 209. The frequency of elbow arthrosis varied from 30 to 50 per cent, males being more often and more severely affected than females. The relative risk of developing arthrosis among offspring of affected animals compared to offspring of non-affected animals, was 1–6. Heritability varied from 10-4 per cent to 47-8 per cent, depending on the method used. Based on these results, it is concluded that elbow screening programmes should be carried out in breeds disposed to elbow lesions. Breeding animals should be selected on the basis of the elbow status of parents and other relatives, if possible.