I just the other day came across an interesting article from Norway: In doing research on hip dysplasia in dogs for her doctoral thesis, Randi I. Krontveit found that environment plays a bigger role than earlier thought when it comes to canine hip dysplasia (CHD). Surprisingly, heavy weight and rapid growth, which are usually blamed for contributing to CHD, did not seem to increase the risk.
The study, which followed a total of 500 dogs from four large breeds – Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds and Leonbergers – for 10 years, showed that puppies born in the spring and summer, and who spent their first 8 weeks of life in a rural setting were less prone to developing CHD. And once the puppies were with their new owners, those who had the opportunity to run around in open areas on a regular basis during their first few months had a reduced risk of CHD, while puppies who lived in houses where they had to go up and down stairs on a daily basis had an increased risk.
Later on in the dogs’ lives, Newfoundlands were found to develop CHD earliest of the four breeds, and Labs latest. Again, dogs who were able to run around in varied terrain fared the best, whereas less active dogs were worse off.
Read the entire article here