Manchu Shih Tzu Society

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I have often heard around the ring the whispers and curious thoughts spoken aloud

as to why is that dog "bunny hopping"....


After many years of research and study of the canine anatomy, I do not proclaim to be a vet nor a specialist in this field, I am simply sharing some of the knowledge I have procured and accept no responsibility for its accuracy.

In the larger breeds this can be caused by hip dysplasia which occurs when the dog has a loose fitting hip joint and can cause arthritis from wear and tear the inflammation and pain can cause the dog to 'skip' along rather than extending and retracting the sore leg in the joint cup. Genetics play a vital role in preventing this and a simple test can be done 'prevention is better than cure'

However, the smaller breeds are more prone to luxating patella such as the Shih Tzu, Pekinese, Bulldog, Toy Poodle, Chihuahua and so on, but it must be stated that it can also affect dogs of all shape and sizes. This is a condition where the knee cap (patella) pops out of its groove, this can range in severity from where the stifle joint can appear normal to the severity of where surgical intervention is necessary. When the knee cap is out of place a ‘hop’, ‘skip’ or ‘three legged walk' can be easily seen. Acute lameness and ongoing 'hopping' can be a cause of medial patellar luxation and rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament these are intertwined in many ways. It is estimated that at least up to 20% of dogs with patellar luxation will eventually rupture their cranial cruciate ligament.

Ever wondered why some judges are lifting a dog’s rear leg up and down after it has been moved. One of the reasons for this is that a luxating Patella can often be felt when cupping the dogs stifle joint gently in your hand and bending the joint up and down, a slight pop or 'pip' sound can be felt but always if you are ever unsure LEAVE ALONE!

There are studies done by the numerous 'official bodies' where the overwhelming majority of patellar luxation are congenital and certainly hereditary. So, this can be prevented by not using affected dogs in ongoing breeding programs.  This is not a condition that should be overlooked or dismissed as it does and will cause unnecessary pain to the dog and possibly it's progeny.


This is never to be confused with juvenile excitement where the dog will often do these strides as they have not yet fully developed and cannot contain their excitement when moving.


Mrs P Baines


Bunny Hopping