My Dog Suffers From Hip Dysplasia, Can They Still Compete?

My Dog Suffers From Hip Dysplasia, Can They Still Compete?

Health & Safety

Hip dysplasia is a horrible and painful condition that all too many dogs suffer from and which can affect their ability to move around to varying degrees. However, a dog's ability to move around freely when suffering from the condition really does depend on the severity of their symptoms. If your dog only has mild symptoms, the majority of judges at dog shows would not normally pick up on the fact there may be an underlying health problem.

Dogs are Judged on Specific Things at Shows

Dogs are judged on very specific things when they take part in a dog show. This includes their temperament, conformation, appearance and presence so as long as your dog is able to trot up and move soundly around a show ring, there is no reason why they should not compete in a show. If the truth be known, many dogs suffering with certain health issues still compete in the show ring with lots of success. Sadly, there are also quite a few congenital diseases which certain breeds of dog have because specific characteristics are thought of as being desirable in the show ring.

Where hip dysplasia is concerned, the condition can be very mild to very severe so it really does depend on a dog's condition as to whether they would be able to perform well in a show ring. With this said, if your dog suffers from a mild case of hip dysplasia, they would be able to move quite freely and therefore may well be a great success whether it's at a local fun dog show or other.

Helping Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

Although there are cases where a vet might recommend a hip replacement for a dog, most of the time, it is one condition that can be carefully managed with certain medications and supplements. Therefore dogs would not have to undergo any sort of invasive surgery, but this does depend on the severity of the condition and a vet would be able to recommend which route would be best for a dog once the condition has been diagnosed.

Because it is typically an inherited condition, there is not much anyone can do to prevent dogs from developing hip dysplasia, but making sure a dog is fed a healthy well-balanced diet and being careful when it comes to your pet's weight as well as ensuring they live in optimum conditions, will help reduce the risk of them developing this painful condition.

There are certain breeds of dog that are more prone to developing hip dysplasia namely the following which are all large breeds:

  • Mastiffs
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labradors
  • German shepherds
  • Rottweillers
  • Retrievers
  • Great Danes
  • St Bernards
  • Giant dog breeds

With this said, the condition can affect smaller dogs too although more rarely. It generally affects medium sized and large dogs. Although hip dysplasia is a painful condition, most dogs can lead pretty normal lives which means they can do most things other dogs can do and this includes taking part in dog shows, but as previously mentioned, this does depend on the severity of their condition.

Getting Your First Dog & Hoping to Show Them

However, if you are thinking about getting your first dog and are hoping to show them as often as you can, then it would be far better to choose a breed that is not predisposed to suffering from hip dysplasia. In fact, it is always worth having a dog screened for any known hereditary disease, one of which is hip dysplasia no matter what breed you are hoping to share your home with.

A reputable breeder would normally avoid breeding from any dogs that suffer from the condition, preferring to choose lines that do not, but this does not mean it does not happen because as previously mentioned, there are certain characteristics and traits which are sought after in the show ring and which out of the ring are not desirable at all.

Managing the Condition

There's never any guarantee that a pedigree or other dog will not develop hip dysplasia, which is why it's important to recognise the first signs there may be a problem and then know how to deal with the condition to make life as comfortable for your pet as possible.

There are many joint supplements as well as anti-inflammatory drugs available which help alleviate any pain a dog might be experiencing when they suffer from the condition and which your vet would be able to recommend. It is always worth discussing things with a vet before giving your dog any medication you might have sourced on the internet, just to make sure it is safe to give them and that your dog would not run the risk of suffering any unwanted or nasty side-effects associated with the treatment.


Many dogs suffering from hip dysplasia take part in shows and as long as their mobility is not drastically effected, they can achieve great results. If your dog suffers from mild symptoms of the condition, the chances are that judges would not even notice there is an underlying health issue. When showing, judges look for specific things and as long as a dog can trot up and does not appear lame or uncomfortable, there is no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to compete and have a lot of fun in the process.



Pets for studWanted pets

Accessories & services

Knowledge hub


Support & safety portal
Pets for saleAll Pets for sale