In late 2019 breed health representatives from both the Sporting Irish Water Spaniel Club and Irish Water Spaniel Association worked with The Kennel Club to develop an evidence based health and conservation plan for the IWS. Data that is available in the public domain and data not readily available was pulled together as a starting point. This included various health surveys from the US and UK and population genetics data. A meeting was then held in December 2019 at The Kennel Club offices in London to go through the initial Kennel Club draft. From The Kennel Club were Hannah James and Dr Tom Lewis the Kennel Club's Geneticist. As part of their submission to the Kennel Club a paper "Factors affecting the viability of The Irish Water Spaniel" was submitted. On the basis of this the KC understood the limited numbers of IWS worldwide and were happy to add worldwide breed context to a document that would have otherwise been UK centric. Finally, a list of actions for both The Kennel Club and breed clubs was developed. During January 2020 further drafts of the document were written by The KC until the Breed Club representatives were happy with it.
The document is due for review in 2025. It can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
The agreed priorities for the breed were agreed as :
Genetic diversity (conservation genetics)
And to those a fourth could be added: immune mediated.
These complex health conditions are a consequence of the lack of genetic diversity in the breed.