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Code of Ethics

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All members of the Spanish Water Dog Club undertake to abide by its general Code of Ethics.



Club members:

1)  Will properly house, feed, water and exercise all dogs under their care and arrange for appropriate veterinary attention if, and when required. 

2)  Will agree without reservation that any veterinary surgeon performing an operation on any of their dogs which alters the natural conformation of the animal, may report such operation to the Kennel Club. 

3)  Will agree that no healthy puppy will be culled. Puppies which may not conform to the Breed Standard should be placed in suitable homes.   


4)  Will abide by all aspects of the Animal Welfare Act.   


5)  Will not create demand for, nor supply, puppies that have been docked illegally. 

6)  Will agree not to breed from a dog or bitch which could be in any way harmful to the dog or to the breed.   

7)  Will not allow any of their dogs to roam at large or to cause a nuisance to neighbours or those carrying out official duties. 

8)  Will ensure that their dogs are microchipped, wear properly tagged collars and will be kept leashed or under effective control when away from home.  


9)  Will clean up after their dogs in public places or anywhere their dogs are being exhibited. 

10) Will only sell dogs where there is a reasonable expectation of a happy and healthy life and will help with the re-homing of a dog if the initial circumstances change. 

11)  Will supply written details of all dietary requirements and give guidance concerning responsible ownership when placing dogs in a new home. 

12)  Will ensure that all relevant Kennel Club documents are provided to the new owner when selling or transferring a dog, and will agree, in writing, to forward any relevant documents at the earliest opportunity, if not immediately available. 

13)  Will not sell any dog to commercial dog wholesalers, retail pet dealers or directly or indirectly allow dogs to be given as a prize or donation in a competition of any kind.  Will not sell by sale or auction Kennel Club registration certificates as stand-alone items (not accompanying a dog). 


14)  Will not knowingly misrepresent the characteristics of the breed nor falsely advertise dogs nor mislead any person regarding the health or quality of a dog. 


15) Will abide by the constitution and the rules of the Spanish Water Dog Club and Rules of the Kennel Club (KC).   

16) Members shall be aware, at all times, that the Club exists to protect the breed and that these aims are to be uppermost in the minds of members in all their activities.  


 17) Will only use positive, motivational handling and training methods that are free from physical pain and fear. 

18) Will be courteous and respectful to all other members and their dogs. 

19) Will appreciate the unique nature of the Spanish Water Dog and try to develop the characteristics this dog has inherited through selective breeding over the centuries (intelligence, love of water, keen scenting ability and herding ability).   

20) Will understand that anyone breeding Spanish Water Dogs bears a great responsibility to the future of the breed.  They  should  match  stud  and bitch based upon temperament, conformation,  the individuals and their bloodlines and accepted principles of health and genetics. Breeders should endeavour to keep abreast of developments regarding possible problems associated with heredity and temperament with a view to avoiding these problems being passed on through their stock.  

21) Will ensure that no bitch shall whelp before the age of two years and no more than once in any twelve-month period. No bitch shall have more than 4 litters.  

22) Will not allow a puppy to be exported before the age of twelve weeks and will ensure it is in good health and inoculated before it leaves the country.  

23) Will be prepared to take back, or re-home satisfactorily, any puppy bred by them if necessary.  

24) Will not breed a litter unless they are able to keep and look after all unsold puppies and to have enough time and facilities to rear a litter.   

25) (a) (i) All dogs and bitches used for breeding must have been eye tested preferably under the 

BVA/KC/ISDC  or  ECVO  eye  examination  although  other  countries  certified  schemes  would be acceptable.  


(ii) Goniodysgenesis Testing/Primary Glaucoma (PLA) as per Schedule A on the BVA Criteria, having had a test every three years to determine the breeding status of the dog concerned. 

Results of this test are in the form of a number, with 0 and 1 being seen as safe to breed from, 2 to be used with caution and 3 not to be used for breeding.     

(iii) PRA Testing: the Club recommends that all breeding stock is DNA Identification tested for both prcd PRA and EO PRA

(i)  Identification DNA Testing for both prcd PRA and EO PRA is encouraged by the SWD Club as a positive way forward to ultimately eliminating this disease in the breed and is a strong  recommendation. Identification may also be achieved by hereditary status.

(ii) Any dog or bitch identified as affected must only be mated to a DNA identified Clear dog/bitch,  however it is recommended that any dog/bitch identified as affected should not be bred from.

(iii) Any dog or bitch DNA identified as a carrier is only bred to a dog or bitch DNA identified clear.

(iv)The annual eye test for PRA and other changes in the eye must still be carried out and any certificate must be dated within the last 12 months.    

(v) All dogs of 8 years and older that have been bred from should also be re-examined under the Eye Scheme in order to identify later onset inherited eye disease and to gather longitudinal information. (as recommended by BVA)    

(iv) CHG Testing* Identification DNA Testing for CHG is encouraged by the SWD Club as a positive way forward  to  ultimately  eliminating  this  disease  in  the  breed  and  is  a strong recommendation. Identification may also be achieved by hereditary status.  

(v) NAD Testing* Identification DNA Testing for NAD is encouraged by the SWD Club as a positive 
way forward to ultimately eliminating this disease in the breed and is a strong recommendation. 
Identification may also be achieved by hereditary status. Dogs who are tested for CHG and NAD will be recorded as – Clear, Carriers, or Affected. Please note that being a Carrier or Affected does not preclude a dog from being bred from but does mean the breeder should use a Clear dog as a mate.
The reason that we recommend owners/breeders take part in testing is to check their dog/dog’s status for known simple inherited disorders. This way, as a breed, we can steer away from known inherited diseases before the dogs are bred from. Testing all potential breeding dogs, where relevant, allows breeders to determine the chance a dog may pass a disease-causing gene on to its offspring.


(b) All dogs and bitches used for breeding must have been x-rayed and hip scored, preferably under the B.V.A/KC/ Hip Dysplasia Scheme, and the results received prior to mating. 

It is a strong recommendation that only a dog or bitch each individually with a total hip score of 20 or below is considered for breeding.  Other countries' officially certificated schemes would be acceptable provided that: 

i) The scheme is certificated and controlled by that country's official recognised body or Kennel Club. 

ii) The permanent identification number (i.e. microchip or tattoo) appears on the x-ray, placed there by the veterinary surgeon at the time the x-ray is taken  

*BVA British Veterinary Association ISDS International Sheepdog Society

(c) It is a strong recommendation that breeders are aware of the Coefficient of Inbreeding (CoI) of their dogs and for any litter they breed.  Guidance is that a CoI below 10%, preferably below 5% for any planned litter, is desirable for breeding in most cases.

(d) The SWDC encourages all members, whether Club listed Breeders or not, to be able to share information confidentially relating to Health. The Health Sub Committee understands that sometimes accidents may happen, and rather than wait for them to be reported by others, we would urge members to speak to a member of the Health Sub Committee immediately for support and assistance. 


26) Will endeavour to keep updated of their puppies' progress in their respective homes.  

27) Will ensure no Natural Bob shall be bred to another.  Identification DNA Testing for brachyury is encouraged by the SWD Club as a way of clarifying whether a dog/bitch is a natural bobtail (NBT) or not, so that breeders avoid mating two NBT together.  This is especially important for dogs that are assumed to be naturally long tailed or for imported foreign dogs which may have been docked.   

28) Will co-operate with other breeders, especially, but also with clubs and veterinary bodies, in an effort to eradicate hereditary defects.  

29) Will, when having stock for sale, be conversant with the Sale of Goods Act and be cautious in their claims of potential. Misrepresentation by members in advertising is discouraged. 

30) Will understand that it is recommended that all breeders initially apply all Kennel Club endorsements to their stock and inform the purchasers to that effect in accordance with Kennel Club guidelines.   

31) Will ensure that no puppy shall leave the breeder before seven weeks of age and extra consideration be given when selling stock prior to Christmas.  

32) Will  insist  in  writing,  when  selling  a  puppy,  that  the  purchaser  have  the  puppy  checked  by  a veterinarian within two working days of sale, making it clear that if found to be unfit, the puppy must be returned for either replacement or refund of the purchase price. 

33) Officers and Committee members will fulfil their obligations to the club and its members.   

34) Officers and Committee members will remain impartial in performing duties expected of them.


35) Officers and Committee members will represent the confidentiality entrusted in them by members.  

36) Officers and Committee members will not represent personal opinions as those of the Committee or the Club. 

37) All Club Members should be conscious that their actions and reactions are under scrutiny by our members and other clubs   


Breach of these provisions may result in expulsion from club membership, and/or disciplinary action by the Kennel Club and/or reporting to the relevant authorities for legal action, as appropriate. 


UPDATED March 2021 (updates subject to KC confirmation) 

Want to download

a copy of the

Code of Ethics?

Click on the icon below to download a copy of the
Code Of Ethics

Updated July 2021

Ethics Sub-Committee
We also have an Ethics Sub-Committee, which was voted into our Club Rules & Regulations via our Postal Ballot at the 19th AGM in March 2022.   
Please find a copy of the agreed operating guidelines and methodology. 
If you have any concerns relating to ethics of Club members, or wish to self-report, in the first instance, please contact the Ethics Liaison 

Rachel Cooper - on 07855 474414 or email:
Your correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence, as per the agreed guidance below.

Click on the icon below to download a copy of the Operating Guidelines for the
Ethics Sub-

Updated March 2022

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