Recommendations for testing and breeding of the Maine Coon

The recommendation is that all Maine Coons should be tested for HD before being used in a breeding programme, in order to reduce the frequency of HD in the breed.

The grading protocol under this system is as follows:

  • Normal: good hips, no anomalies
  • Grade 1: the mildest form of dysplasia
  • Grade 2: moderately affected hips
  • Grade 3: badly affected hips

We have been advised by geneticists not to make a too narrow a selection of the breeding stock at the beginning of the health programme. It would not be wise to exclude cats with HD entirely from breeding. Therefore we recommend today that cats with the test result "Grade 1" on the scale used in the health program are not automatically excluded from breeding but should only be mated to cats with no sign of HD = "Normal".

Feline Hip Dysplasia is an inherited trait involving multiple gene pairs. Two cats with no sign of HD together can produce offspring that develop HD. Two cats having HD can also produce kittens that do not develop HD. Therefore each generation of a breeding stock should be tested for HD in order to reduce the risk of developing HD.