Hips and Beyond

First, sorry for the repeating myself but I just received Cabo (Tiles de Abelgas) and Thule’s (Thule de Cerro Viento) OFA certifications, and I’m just a little excited. Thule received a “Good” rating and Cabo received an “Excellent” rating. We are THRILLED with these results especially with our big guy Cabo’s as this makes him the only Spanish Mastiff in the US to receive this rating. Many thanks to Mastines de Abelgas for breeding this awesome boy!

The Spanish Mastiff is a giant breed, and all large and giant breeds come with orthopedic challenges. Many of these issues can be alleviated with selective breeding, others can be avoided by feeding a balanced diet and not allowing your puppy to become over weight. It’s just as important to avoid stressing your puppies joints with too much exercise, and to avoid unforgiving surfaces such as concrete. Still, even after taking all these measures, you may end up with joint degeneration in your dogs hips, because no one really has definitive answers as to a foolproof formula for eradicating hip dysplasia.
By the way, there is no such thing as the perfect dog, and shouldn’t other characteristics also factor in? What about stable, nurturing temperaments and guardian instinct? What about straight feet and strong top-lines? These are both important structural aspects. Should one be more important than others? If so which ones and why? What about healthy gestation, whelping and mothering instinct in females? How is a structurally sound female a good breeding prospect if she consistently refuses to feed her puppies? Or if she can’t conceive? What about temperament? A 200 lb. dog who needs psych meds to keep them from attacking their owners or livestock is a pretty scary prospect, I don’t care how well put together that dog is.
Of course, excellent and good hip ratings make these decisions easier….and so far I haven’t had to decide on a dog rated as fair. At some point if I do this long enough I am likely going to have to make that decision. I only hope I have the wisdom and lack of ego to make the right choice when that time comes.