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Breed Health Conservation

Announcement from Breed Health Coordinator - 26 January 2020


As Breed Health Coordinator for the Irish Water Spaniel I am pleased to inform you that health teams from both the Sporting Irish Water Spaniel Club and the Irish Water Spaniel Association met with the Kennel Club on December 9th 2019 to formulate a Breed Health Conservation Plan for the Irish Water Spaniel (BHCP).

The health teams were David Wilcox (SIWSC),  Penny Willoughby (IWSA) and Jenny Menage (IWSA) and representing the Kennel Club Hannah James and Dr Tom Lewis.


I would like to thank both teams for their hard work. It is very important and vital that both clubs work together on the future health and welfare of our wonderful breed.


The BHCP can be accessed by clicking here.


If you have any queries or comments on the plan please email me and I will pass on the the Health Teams.

Sue Hempstead



The following information has been provided by the SIWSC, and is reproduced by kind permission of David Wilcox


Estimated breed values to be introduced - David Wilcox, SIWSC. (26 Jan 2020).

We are pleased to announce that as a result of discussions with the Kennel Club they have agreed that from 2021 hip and elbow scores for Irish Water Spaniels will be used to calculate estimated breeding values. These complex mathematical calculations estimate the genetic component where a trait is affected by both genes and the environment and when applied to hips and elbows will estimate the risk of using an individual IWS for breeding. The calculation involves using the breed mean score and those of close relatives of the dog involved to determine the risk. This risk may change over time as more hip scores are added.

This is a huge advance as the current schemes are not really any good at predicting hips in offspring from individual dogs, rather they act at the breed level (which can result in unnecessary exclusion of suitable dogs, at the expense of genetic diversity). Consequently we really need as many IWS between the ages of 1 (2 is better) and 4 to undergo hip and elbow scoring in order to make the EBVs as accurate as possible.


For more information, see The Kennel Club website, at:-


Eye testing - a request for older dogs to be evaluated - David Wilcox, SIWSC. (26 Jan 2020)

Discussions with The Kennel Club have resulted in a request for owners of older IWS (aged 8 and above) to have their eyes tested. This is obviously not to screen them for breeding purposes but to identify possible eye diseases in the breed that have a late onset. These would not be picked up by breeders testing for breeding purposes.


For more information on eye testing and to find a specialist eye panelist, see The Kennel Club website, at:- 

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