The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), established in 1966, is a non-profit organization established to assist breeders in identifying canines with hip dysplasia. Since its inception, the OFA's focus has expanded to include numerous additional hereditary concerns (i.e. craniomandibular osteopathy, elbow and patella deformities, etc.).
When breeders use the term OFA, they are typically referring to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals evaluation of a canine's hips. Any owner can have the hips of his or her dog checked for hip dysplasia by having his/her veterinarian x-ray the hips according the OFA's guidelines and submitting the "film" to the OFA. Radiologists then generate a radiographic report depicting any abnormalities. An OFA hip evaluation may yield one of the following seven ratings; Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, or Severe. The hip ratings that fall within the normal range (excellent, good and fair) are assigned OFA numbers and entered into the AKC record, available to the public domain. In contrast, the OFA hip evaluations that result in borderline, mild, moderate and severely dysplastic readings are closed to the public, unless the owner chooses to make this information public. The AKC requires a canine to be at least 24 months of age before assigning an OFA number to the evaluation and requires the dog to be permanently identifiable, via a tattoo, microchip.
Hip Dysplasia is a polygenic heritable disorder, as such, more than one gene contributes to the disorder. The polygenic nature of hip dysplasia makes it very difficult to selectively breed the disorder completely out of existence. However, by carefully selecting breeding stock, with OFA hip evaluations performed, a breeder can significantly reduce the chance of this disorder in offspring. Getting a puppy from OFA certified parents will increase the likelihood that your puppy will be also be normal, however, it is not guaranteed.
Hip Dysplasia Classifications: (As explained by OFA)