Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is said to be a breed of great antiquity. As his name suggests, he loves water and is an enthusiastic retriever. He is the tallest of all the Spaniels and gets his intelligence from the part that Poodles played in his ancestry. The IWS is a dark liver colour with a coat of dense, tight ringlets. He is said to be an affectionate and lovable dog with a sense of humour! The IWS will need to live in a house with a large garden and needs two hours exercise every day – a good portion of which will need to be off lead.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 3.5% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPSTBC
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) (Bloat)
- Hip Dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability) breed mean score 12.8 (parents should be lower).
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Eye Scheme
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cancer: Lymphoma
- Addisons Disease
- Cushings Disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: