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  • 1 University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Department of Veterinary Sciences-CIT Vila Real Portugal
  • 2 University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Department of Zootechny-CECAV Vila Real Portugal
  • 3 University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Department of Engineering-CITAB Vila Real Portugal
  • 4 Technical University of Lisbon Department of Clinic-CIISA, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Lisbon Portugal
  • 5 University of Léon Department of Animal Pathology: Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Léon Spain
  • 6 University Complutense of Madrid Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Madrid Spain
  • 7 Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Departamento de Ciências Veterinárias 5000-911 Vila Real Portugal
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Two hundred and fifteen Estrela Mountain Dogs (EMD) were examined using the PennHIP method between 2002 and 2006. Passive hip laxity (PHL) was estimated calculating the distraction index (DI). Pedigree information was obtained from the Portuguese Kennel Club. The heritability and breeding values were estimated using the linear Animal Model. The DI, using as reference the worst joint of each animal, ranged from 0.15 to 1.12 (0.55 ± 0.19). The PHL was equal in right and left sides, and was higher in females than in males (P > 0.05 and P < 0.01 in the t -test, respectively). The estimated heritability was 0.83 ± 0.11. The mean breeding values for PHL were stable in EMD born between 1991 and 2003, and showed an improvement in 2004 and 2005. The data confirm high PHL in breeds with high prevalence and severity of canine hip dysplasia. The high heritability indicates that the DI could be reduced in the breed if PHL were used as a selection criterion. The early favourable evolution of DI breeding values could be related with the increase of voluntary radiographic hip screening in the last years, and the subsequent introduction of hip quality as a breeding criterion.

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