For taking radiographs of the hip joints for hip dysplasia (HD) scoring, a person is usually required for positioning the dog during the X-ray. Until now, no data on the radiation exposure of such assistants have been available. The present study was aimed at assessing the personal radiation dose for these types of radiographs by measuring ambient doses. We investigated the impact of the position of the restraining person, the body weight of the patient, and the use of alternative exposure settings on the ambient dose. Furthermore, we determined the additional dose contribution of a preceding fluoroscopy, often used to control the positioning of the dog before taking the diagnostic radiographs. The measurements were performed at four levels above the floor (100 cm, 130 cm, 150 cm, 170 cm) and at three distances lateral from the axis of the central beam (30 cm, 60 cm, 90 cm) with two dogs of different body weights (18 kg; 45 kg). The images were taken with two different exposure setting combinations (small dog: 79 kVp/9 mAs and 70 kV/18 mAs; large dog: 85 kVp/9 mAs and 75 kVp/i8 mAs). The detector dose was 5 mu Sv in both cases. A fluoroscopy exposure time of 5s was used for positioning control. The highest ambient dose measured was 2.5 mu Sv at a height of 100 cm and 30 cm away from the central beam axis in the large dog. At the height of 100 cm, the dose decrease with distance could be fitted to an inverse quadratic function. Additionally, the dose increased with increasing current-exposure time product (mAs) and decreasing tube voltage (kVp). All dose values for the fluoroscopy were less than 1.05 mu Sv. The ambient doses due to the fluoroscopy were, therefore, lower than for taking the diagnostic radiographs. These results show that the ambient dose can be substantially reduced by increasing the distance from the patient by even a few centimetres. Radiographs with lower current-exposure time products and higher tube voltages resulted in a lower local dose. The comparably low additional dose due to fluoroscopy justifies the use of this procedure, since it ensures good patient positioning; repeating radiographs would result in higher exposures.