Irish Water Spaniel Club of America

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Best Breeding Practices for the Irish Water Spaniel

The Breeders Education Committee of the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America is composed of member breeders committed to the healthy future of the Irish Water Spaniel. To that end, the Committee has developed and embraces the following best breeding practices for their breeding stock and breeding programs.

The IWSCA is a parent breed club of the AKC. All references in this statement to registration and titles are solely to those of the AKC and/or its accepted Foreign Registry Organizations


Thorough knowledge and support of the AKC approved Standard for the Irish Water Spaniel. All breeding decisions are made with the Standard in mind.
Supporting the IWSCA in outreach and education as requested by the IWSCA Board and Club Committees.
Sharing knowledge and championing the Irish Water Spaniel through education and outreach; encouraging responsible breeding practices; and promoting public awareness of responsible pet ownership.
Continual review of both the art and science of purebred dog breeding and the implications of breeding within a limited gene pool.


Supporting the health and well being of the Irish Water Spaniel by sharing information with the IWSCA Health and Genetics Committee and by participating in Committee recommended breed-specific and breed-related health studies.
Breeding only IWS exhibiting proper breed type, good health, and physical and temperamental soundness. Any IWS consistently producing seriously affected offspring and/or quality of life health issues will be not be bred again. Known health issues in the get of a potential mate will be disclosed to dam or stud owners prior to breeding.
Screening every IWS prior to breeding for known hereditary diseases for which screening is available. Every IWS bred must be included in the CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) database with results for the IWSCA/CHIC approved list of conditions affecting hips, elbows, thyroid, eyes (and optionally hearts). Any IWS bred before the age of 24 months must have received prior screening consistent with CHIC for the IWS; and the puppies from any sire and/or dam lacking a CHIC number will be placed on Limited Registration not to be lifted until CHIC numbers are published including hip and elbow ratings consistent with Best Breeding Practices *
Breeding only IWS with passing hips.
Breeding only IWS with normal elbows. An IWS with an elbow rating no greater than DJD1, that otherwise is expected to make an important positive contribution to the breed, may be bred to a normal mate with careful consideration of the elbow status of the mate's parents and siblings, and should be replaced in the breeding pool by normal offspring**
Carefully analyzing the pedigrees of potential litters with an eye toward both type and health status of close relatives of both the sire and dam. Doubling on dysplasia and other health issues known to affect the IWS (epilepsy, autoimmune disease, early cancer, etc.) is strongly discouraged. 

Breeding Program

Breeding only registered IWS to another registered IWS. Deliberate participation, either as the breeder of record or stud dog owner, in an IWS bred to a non-IWS shall result in immediate expulsion from the BEC and/or IWSCA disciplinary measures.
Providing extra care and supervision of every dam or stud dog in one's possession (on lease or to be bred) and communicating regularly with the owner regarding her/his health and well-being
Abiding by and adhering to AKC rules concerning record keeping, DNA profiling, registration, sale and transfer of dogs, and abide by these rules, ensuring that all litters produced, either as the breeders of record or stud dog owners, are eligible for AKC registration as purebred IWS.
Using written agreements detailing all warranties, obligations, and expectations of sellers, buyers, receivers and providers of services. Written agreements should stipulate that buyers notify the breeder should their IWS be in need of re-homing, giving the breeder the opportunity to assist.
Regular follow up to the best of one's ability with new owners after the transfer of any dog/pup to ensure their appropriate and continuing care. Every responsible IWS breeder remains available for advice for
the lifetime of the dog and agrees to take his/her dog back or assist in re-homing.
Ensuring any IWS deemed not suitable for breeding due to an obvious fault or defect is registered/placed with an AKC limited registration and non-breeding contract.
Providing assistance to any IWS of one's breeding or sired by one's stud dog in need of re-homing whether through a shelter, auction, rescue organization or an individual.
Ensuring no stud dog or brood bitch or their puppies are directly or indirectly involved with any dog broker, substandard breeding establishment, pet shop retailing dogs, auction, litter lot sales, or any other commercial enterprise whose business is involved in these activities. Further, that those dogs are not wholesaled or offered as prizes in contests, raffles or fundraising events.
Displaying good sportsmanship and conduct in a manner that reflects credit on the IWSCA, the AKC, and the breed.
Refusing to engage in false or misleading advertising or misrepresentation in oral and/or written advertising to convey a false impression.
Ensuring against accidental breeding. The Breeders Education Committee understands the occasional accident is inevitable; but any resulting offspring will be sold and remain on limited registration until both the sire and dam have received CHIC #s with clear hips and elbow ratings consistent with stated best breeding policies.
* CHIC requirements are not applicable in the following instances:
  • Sires born prior to January 1, 2000 provided these dogs have received a passing (fair, good, excellent) hip score from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or similar organization.
  • IWS Lacking permanent IDs provided hip, elbow, thyroid, and eye evaluations are published in the OFA database.
  • Non-North American residing breeding stock provided that they have received the equivalent of OFA Fair or better hip score evaluations/ratings, and have received other screening commonly available in their countries of residence. This applies to stud dog owners as well as breeders of record.
** For more in depth information on reducing the incidence of elbow dysplasia, the BEC recommends the publications of Jerold Bell DVM.
Those signators found to be in violation of this agreement will be subject to review and possible disciplinary action by the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America's Board of Directors, including possible removal from the BEC, the Breeders Directory on the IWSCA website, and/or from any other Club documents or media.