For The Puppy Buyer

As you have seen here it is only due to some extraordinary events I have become a Labrador breeder.

I grew up on a dairy farm in New Zealand so I have been involved with animals my entire life. Although my working life has envolved horses, during my career I have always had dogs. Dogs have always played an important part of my life.

While I was mentored by Geoff, I was taught the basics and belived that Geoff would always be arround for advice but sadly that is not the case. However I have been very fortunate to be able to seek advice from Robyn, Ben and Jane for which I am very grateful and appreciate.

One of the first things I have learnt is the importance of the Hips and Elbow Scores with regards to the parents of a puppy that may be purcahsed. 

What do the scores mean?

Really, all that matters is that all breeding stock have scores. 

So I hope this helps new owners know a little about the scores and what they mean.

HIP SCORE. The dogs hips are scored after being x-rayed under a general anaesthetic. The dogs must be at least one year old before this assessment. The x-ray will show the femoral heads in the acetabulum. Which for us laymen means the top of the bone (femur) in the hind legs, which is shaped like a ball, as correctly as possible in the sockets of the pelvis. The smoother and rounder the ball at the top of the femur and the deeper it sits in the scoket of the pelvis, the better the dogs' hip condition is considered in most cases.

ELBOW SCORE. The elbow is positioned so as to show a lateral view of a fully flexed elbo. This really means so that we can see a side view of the elbow with a folded front leg, This x-ray can be done without the need of a general anaesthetic but is generally done when the hip x-ray is performed. 

The x-rays are sent to a radiographer approved by the Australian National Kennel Council to be assessed. The scoring system is a measurment of nine componets of the hip score from 0, which is perfect, 5 or 6 which is the worst possible result. The best result is a 0.0. This means there are no changes at all to the joints. The worst possible scores is 53.53 which means the hips are badly made a degenerative joint disease in the form of arthritis will set in very early in the life of the dog.

So the lower the score the better. hip / elbows. It is also very important that tthe hips are relatively even. 4.4 is considered better that a score of 0.7.

Grade 0 - Normal- No change.

Grade 1- Changes of less than 2mm of calcifation. (arthritis)

Grade2- Changes of 2-5mm of calcification.

Grade3- Changes of more than 5mm of calcification.


There is no restriction on the parameters of breeding stock. Be informed about this iformation regarding the parents of a puppy that you maybe about to purchase.

Remember these scores are for the parents only. 


Contact Details

Kerry Alderton / Geoff Jolly
Kingston, SE., SA, Australia
Phone : 0422138074
Email : [email protected]