Genetic evaluation of elbow scores and the relationship with hip scores in UK Labrador retrievers

Tom Lewis, Joanna Ilska, Sarah Blott, John Woolliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A linear mixed model analysis of elbow and hip score data from UK Labrador retrievers was used to estimate the heritability of elbow score (0.16-0.19) and to determine a moderate and beneficial genetic correlation with hip score (0.40). A small improvement in the genetic trend of elbow score was observed during the years 2000-2008, equivalent to avoiding only the worst 3-4% of scored dogs for breeding, but close to what may have been anticipated if the current British Veterinary Association-approved guidelines were followed. Calculations suggested that a correlated response to indirect selection on hip score may elicit a greater response than direct selection on elbow score and that the genetic trend in elbow score may be explained as a consequence of the stronger selection pressure that has been placed on hip score. Increases in the accuracy of estimated breeding values for elbow score of 4-7% for dogs with elbow data only and 7-11% for dogs with both hip and elbow score were observed from bivariate analysis of elbow and hip data. A selection index confirmed the benefits of bivariate analysis of elbow and hip score data by identifying increases in accuracy (directly related to the response to selection) of 14% from the use of optimum coefficients compared to use of hip data only. The quantified genetic correlation means that hip score effectively acts as a 'secondary indicator' of elbow score in this breed and the preponderance of hip data means that it acts as a major source of information that may be used to improve the accuracy of estimates of genetic risk for elbow dysplasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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