Astrid's Hip Results
First X-rays (8/18/2021)
Second X-rays (6/9/2022)
Anyone who knows me and has followed my journey on my personal page knows how important transparency is for me and my program, and how open I have always been about Astrid's OFA results.
Astrid herself has grown into the most charismatic and eager companion I've ever had. She oozes charisma, and has been described as flirtatious towards judges in the ring. He has an excellent temperament, something sorely needed in the breed. She eagerly greets everyone she comes across, and has been seamlessly integrated into a variety of groups of dogs of different sizes and sexes throughout her life. She is resilient- not noise or environmentally sensitive. Besides her temperament, she is clear of three genetic diseases seen in Kooikerhondjes- Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy, von Willebrand's Disease, and Polymyositis. She has normal eyes and patellas. In Kooikerhondjes all over the world, only Finland and the USA require the test for hips. As a small breed, it is not seen as a problem compared to more serious issues like epilepsy, kidney problems, and cataracts.
I have posted about Astrid's mild unilateral hip results as soon as I got them back, in an effort to get feedback from other breeders. As a new upcoming breeder, I didn't know how to move forward or if I even should. I got tons of responses back from other breeders of rare breeds mentioning how the positioning was off for the x-rays and that the results may not be accurate, and that even if they were accurate that I shouldn't "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and exclude an otherwise exceptional dog from an already small gene pool based on a single polygenic health result. I have also listened to long-time kooiker breeders both in the US and Europe who explained that hip testing in Europe is rare.
In the 2021 VHNK (Dutch Kooiker parent club) International Symposium, there was an entire section on the current health of the breed, including hip data. As of 2021, 98% of dogs tested have had no hip issues, and according to the health presenter a mild hip rating (called "C" in FCI standards) is okay to breed as long as you keep breeding to A or B hips (Excellent, Good, or Fair). Most breeders in Europe do not test hips, but it is very common amongst breeders who do test to include C hips in their program and simply breed for better hips.
In my opinion, I still think it is important we require hips to know what is in our lines and move forward accordingly. Even before testing Astrid's hips I have stated on my kennel website my plans to hip test all show/sport prospect puppies from my litters in order to know what I am producing, and that plan will be in place for all puppies that Astrid produces after her hip result has come back. I have told most prospective puppy folks who I have met in person about her results, the reason why, and have answered any questions they may have about it. I have publicly listed these results and am not hiding them in any way. On the contrary, I am more than happy to answer questions about these results for anyone who asks!
I have since retested Astrid's hips at an actual OFA clinic and have talked to that veterinarian in-depth about how they look. He stated that the positioning was definitely at fault for the first round, and that they actually look "fair" which is a B rating. But unfortunately it is very hard to get OFA to change the rating after a retest, so the result was the same.
I am confident in my decision to move forward, especially in breeding to males with good or excellent hips with pedigrees full of good or excellent hips. My goal is always improvement, and with a foundation female as otherwise exceptional as Astrid I could not be more excited about what she produces.