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Questions to consider when looking for a puppy

Irish Water Spaniel Litter with Dam

Can I see the puppies with their dam?  

The puppies should be seen at the breeders home interacting with their dam.


How old is the dam?

The IWSA recommend that the bitch should be at least two years of age and under seven at the time of mating.

How many litters has mum had? 

The IWSA recommend that bitches do not have more than 3 litters.

What health checks do Irish Water Spaniel breeders do?
It is advised that all dogs are hip scored and elbow scored prior to mating and also are eye tested by a specialist  through the BVA/KC scheme.

Hip scoring is a measure of the degree of hip dysplasia.  Each hip is x-rayed and scored.  The scores can range from 0-53 for each hip, 0 being perfect and 53 the being the worse.  The average hip score for Irish Water Spaniels is 10.  Each elbow score ranges from 0 to 3 and the highest score is counted as the dogs elbow score.  Elbow scores should be 0 to 1, it is recommended that dogs with an elbow score of 2 or 3 are not bred from.


Are the puppies weaned? 

Puppies are usually weaned by the time they are 8 weeks old


What should I feed the puppy and do you have a diet sheet?  Breeders should  provide a diet sheet covering present and future diet.


Have the puppies been wormed?

 Puppies should be wormed regularly and  information given as to what wormer was used and when the next doses are due.

Have the puppies had any vaccinations?
If yes, when and what vaccination was given?  

The vaccination record card should be supplied with the puppy.  If not, contact your own vet to discuss vaccination requirements.


Can I return the puppy if it has any health problems?
The breeder should take the puppy back at any time if there are any problems.

Irish Water Spaniel Litter

Looking for a puppy? A check on whether the Sire and Dam have been Health Tested might be informative:  Your breeder will hopefully have ensured Sire and Dam have been health checked as part of planning their litter, and if so you should be able to find the results listed on the Kennel Club website - SEE HERE.  For more information, see the Health and Breeding section on thisKennel Club website page

How much exercise should the puppy be given?

Advice should be given by the breeder to ensure a young puppy is not given too much exercise which could result in joint damage.


What grooming does the puppy require?
An information sheet should be given by the breeder.  You may need to find a groomer to trim your dog if you cannot do it yourself.  Puppies should be groomed regularly from being young so they get used to standing still and accepting combing and brushing.


Is the puppy Kennel Club registered?
Registration papers should be given to you or sent on as soon as possible.  Don’t forget to transfer the puppy’s ownership to your own.


Is the puppy microchipped?
Since April 2016 all puppies/dogs are required to be microchipped.  It is important that on change of ownership the details to be updated to your name and address. 


Is the puppy insured?
Many breeders give 6 weeks free insurance with a puppy.  It is worth shopping around to find the right insurance policy for you if you are going to continue insuring your puppy. 


What the breeder should ask you
Be prepared for the breeder to ask you questions to try and assess your suitability as an owner.  A good breeder will give you all the information you need to cope with your puppy and will always be willing to give you advice.  A good breeder will also want you to agree to return the puppy to them at any time if you are unable to keep it for whatever reason. 

You should find out as much about the breed as possible before deciding to have a puppy.  Look into attending puppy classes in your area, go along to a few to watch before you get your puppy to see if you like their methods.  You may need to book a place in advance as puppy classes get filled up quickly.


The following books may be useful:   

  • ‘The Perfect Puppy’ by Gwen Bailey 


  • ‘Before and After getting Your Puppy’ by Ian Dunbar

Litter Advertisements

Advertising a litter or a planned litter is free to members of the IWSA.

See HERE for how to advertise.


Proof of Hips Score, Elbow Score & an indate Eye Test is required from Dam & Sire.


The IWSA hold a register of dogs currently available to stud - See HERE. 

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