This study presents the estimates of heritability for spondylosis deformans in the boxer based on 353 offspring from 24 randomly selected sires, each with at least three radiographically investigated offspring. The estimated heritability (h2) for maximum degree of osteophyte development was high, both when estimated by paternal half-sib correlation (0·42) and by the regression of offspring based on the parents (0·62). The heritability for the number of affected discs estimated by paternal half-sib correlation was also high (0·47). The estimate of heritability for the number of affected discs based on regression of offspring on the parents was lower at 0·13. All heritabilities had large standard errors. A positive phenotypic correlation between spondylosis deformans and hip dysplasia was observed. Assuming a significant portion of the correlation is genetic, this fact may permit selection against spondylosis deformans without negatively influencing the incidence of hip dysplasia. Since the incidence of spondylosis deformans is high even in young dogs, it should be possible to detect a large proportion of genetically predisposed animals by radiographic examination of the spine at one year of age; at the same time that dogs are presented for a routine test for hip dysplasia.