When the ED scheme was set up in 1998 the breeding advice, following international protocol, was not to breed from dogs of grades two or three but that dogs of grade one were acceptable.
However, as ED is progressive, many of the dogs with grade one elbows who were tested at a young age may go on to develop grade two or three elbows later in life, despite initially being considered suitable for breeding.
The revised British Veterinary Association procedure notes now read:
'It is strongly recommended that breeders wishing to reduce the risk of elbow dysplasia should select their breeding stock (both dogs and bitches) only from animals with an overall grade of 0. Dogs with elbow grades of 2 or 3 have marked osteoarthritis likely to be due to ED, with or without a visible primary lesion. Dogs with elbow grades of 1 show mild or early osteoarthritis which is also likely to be due to ED.'
It is hoped that the revised breeding advice will more quickly reduce the incidence of elbow dysplasia in dogs in those breeds in which it remains a significant problem.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "In accordance with the revised British Veterinary Association's procedure notes, the Kennel Club would recommend that breeders only use dogs in their breeding with an overall grade of zero. This will help to minimise the risk of elbow dysplasia and fall in line with the Kennel Club's dedication to improving the health of pedigree dogs across the board. We are sure the new guidelines will be welcomed by all the conscientious pedigree dog breeders who work to maintain the best level of breed health for their breeds."