updated 2012



I. Purpose

This Code of Practice shall apply to all breeders who are members of The Irish Wolfhound Society of Ireland (IWSOI). Its purpose shall be to provide breeders with a set of mandatory standards and requirements relating to the proper maintenance, breeding, selling and overall protection of our beloved Irish Wolfhounds.

It shall be the aim of every breeder to breed dogs that are healthy and sound in both mind and body, to ensure that the dogs are true to their heritage and that they meet the requirements of the Irish Kennel Club (IKC) Breed Standards, to whom we are affiliated.

It shall also be the responsibility of every breeder to adhere at all times to proper and ethical business practices when buying, breeding, selling and placing their dogs.

Of course the Society cannot underwrite or guarantee the various issues involved in the areas of Hound Health or Commercial activity but we can recommend a set of standards, not uncommon in dog breeding circles, effectively a ‘code of practice’ which will allow members to advertise and promote the breed. These standards are common to many Dog Societies and Clubs and are widely accepted as a central ethos of breeding and breed standards. This understanding reflects on our general priorities of Hound welfare and responsible, researched breeding practice.


II. Breeding Principles

The breeding of dogs is a serious responsibility; therefore, the decision to breed should never be taken lightly. To this end, every breeder, or prospective breeder, must be willing to embrace the following general principles:

Be prepared to make a serious commitment of both time and financial resources in order to ensure that a proper breeding program can be carried out.

Be prepared to provide for the wellbeing of the dogs, both while in your care as well as in the ultimate placement of the dogs.

Be prepared to work hard to preserve and maintain the breed for future generations through the judicious selection of breeding stock.

Be prepared to share knowledge that is gained through experience with fellow breeders, particularly those who are novices.


III. General Responsibilities

The following are a set of general responsibilities that shall be understood and accepted by all IWSOI member breeders:

Every breeder shall be conversant with and fully adhere to the By-laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures of IKC, as well as the requirements of the The Control of Dogs Acts 1986 and 1992. Please refer to the Guidelines on Dog Breeding Establishments issued by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. COPY ATTACHED

Issue of Guidelines on Dog Breeding Establishments

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has published Guidelines in relation to the operation of dog breeding establishments and compliance by operators with the Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010. The regulations contained in the Dog Breeding Establishments Act came into operation on 1 January 2012.

It is important to note that only establishments with six or more female dogs over 6 months of age are covered by the Act. While these guidelines are intended to lead to best practice for dog breeding establishments, they have been prepared by veterinary professionals and can be used by anyone who keeps dogs as a useful guide to welfare issues.

All litters and all dogs in each litter shall be registered with the IKC. Litter registrations shall be forwarded to IKC as soon as is reasonably possible after the birth of the dogs.

Upon the sale of each dog from any litter, breeders shall transfer ownership and register each dog in the name of the purchaser in accordance with stated requirements.

At all times the dogs shall be provided with proper housing, nutrition, health care and necessary exercise.

Every breeder shall make a conscientious effort to learn about structure, movement and behaviour, understand and stay current with inherited traits, congenital and hereditary health problems related to their breed, and to have a basic knowledge of health care and first aid.

Breeders are encouraged to regularly test for health and genetic problems and are encouraged to openly share the results of all such testing that are undertaken. They should also follow recommended protocols for the control of genetic disease. The Society takes an active role in blood testing for the purposes if pooling of information sometimes on an International basis, always to promote the breed standard, longevity, quality and ongoing success of the Irish Wolfhound breed.

Every breeder shall maintain current and accurate records pertaining to their breeding program, the particulars of all dog registrations and all sales transactions.

No breeder shall sell or donate dogs for the purpose of their being auctioned, raffled, or to pet stores.


IV. Breeding Practices

In order to attain the goal of producing quality dogs that are healthy and sound in both mind and body, a breeder must give priority to the following:

Select breeding stock that conforms to the approved IKC Breed Standard to the highest possible degree.

Use dogs that are known to be of sound health and stable temperament.

Choose both a sire and dam that have reached such maturity that they can produce and raise a healthy litter.

Assure that all breeding documents and registrations are available for inspection and completely in order.

As the owner of a stud dog, ensure that the owner of the dam has the ability and the necessary facilities to successfully whelp, raise and assure the future wellbeing of any resulting litter. Commercial arrangements between the owners of Stud dogs and proposed dams are not the responsibility of the Society.

As the owner of the dam, ensure that the owner of the sire has the knowledge and experience to provide a safe and proper mating, including the diligent care of the dam.

5. Selling Practices

All breeders have a serious responsibility when selling dogs to purchasers, whether they are fellow breeders or members of the general public. In order to fulfil this responsibility and without limiting the specifics of the IKC By-laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures and ALL RELEVANT LOCAL AND COUNCIL STANDARDS, ALL RELEVANT LEGISLATION.

All IKC breeders shall adhere to the following general sales practices:

Dogs must never be sold on a “with or without papers” basis. As noted in Section III. (b) above, all dogs must be registered with IKC.

In accordance with the By-laws, the breeder is responsible for the submission of and payment for all registration applications. Such costs may be included in the price of the dog. Under no circumstances shall the buyer be asked to submit or pay for any applications to register or transfer the ownership of a dog.

All dogs must be uniquely and permanently identified with an approved Irish Standard microchip transponder or a tattoo, prior to leaving the breeder’s premises.

Potential purchasers of dogs shall be reasonably screened for their suitability and capability to own and meet the needs of the particular breed. The concept of a dog being a lifetime commitment should always be reinforced with the purchaser.

Breeders shall represent their dogs to prospective purchasers with honestly and integrity.

Breeders shall commit themselves to assisting novice dog owners in understanding the breed. They shall also encourage new dog owners to become involved in the activities of the sport of purebred dogs and inform them about the values in becoming a member of IKC.

Breeders shall provide a written sales agreement containing the name of the purchaser, the date of sale, a statement confirming that the dog is purebred, the name of the breed and the dog’s unique identification number. In addition, all terms and conditions of the sale, including a return or replacement policy, shall be clearly defined. The agreement shall be properly dated and signed by all parties.

Breeders shall provide the purchaser with a reasonable written guarantee that protects the dog, the purchaser and the seller.

Regardless of age, spaying or neutering of all dogs sold as companions should be actively encouraged.

Purchasers should be provided with copies of all relevant documentation, including such things as IKC registration documentation, copies of non-breeding agreements, completed sales agreements, guarantees, health and vaccination records, and a set of instructions on the care, training and diet for the dog.

It may be possible to have video content showing a litter or individual puppy added to this section of our website. Please contact our Webmaster for discussion.

How can I contact the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals?
Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA)

Derryglogher Lodge,


Co. Longford.

Tel.: +353 (0)43 25035 Fax.: +353 (0)43 25024 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How can I contact The Irish Blue Cross?
The Irish Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity,

15A Goldenbridge Industrial Estate,

Tyrconnell Road,

Inchicore, Dublin 8

Tel: +353 (0)1 4163030 Fax: +353 (0)1 4163031 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines



I am delighted to introduce these guidelines on dog breeding establishments, as provided for by Section 15 of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010, I am confident the guidelines will help to increase awareness regarding welfare standards and will aid good practice in dog breeding throughout the country.

The guidelines are written in a direct manner, using as little technical language as possible. I hope that they will be of use to professional breeders, sportsmen and women and the amateur breeder with a few dogs who, while not covered by the Act, would want what’s best for their dogs.

The guidelines are set out in two parts for ease of reference-

  • Part 1 deals with the construction and maintenance of establishments, including temperature, noise, bedding, hygiene, pest control and storage of food and chemicals.
  • Part 2 deals with the registration, operation and management of establishments including staffing, the welfare of the dogs, veterinary and health checks, and possible inspection by an authorised officer.

The draft guidelines reflect common sense and good practice. Breeders acknowledge that the welfare and performance of their dogs go hand in hand. Therefore, any well run dog breeding establishment would already have most of the requirements in place.

In this regard, I want to especially emphasise the unique position of registered hunt clubs in rural life and assure their members that the implementation of the Act will have due regard to their traditional practices, particularly in respect of communal kennels, flooring, bedding and feeding routines.

Local Authorities will use these guidelines to assist legitimate establishments who wish to maintain or improve the welfare standards of animals in their care in a positive spirit of consultation. In the unfortunate event that enforcement under the Act is required, it must be signed off by the qualified veterinary officer of the Local Authority.

The guidelines will be placed on the Departments website.

Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D.,

Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government

21 December, 2011

PART 1 Construction and Maintenance of a Dog Breeding Establishment



  • In order to comply with the Act the owner or manager of a dog breeding establishment should:
  • provide accommodation and equipment which suits the physical, behavioural and social requirements of the dogs held
  • protect the dogs from other animals and adverse environmental conditions
  • provide sufficient space for dogs to stand, move around freely, stretch fully and rest
  • provide sufficient quantities of appropriate food and clean water to maintain good health and support optimal growth and reproduction
  • protect the dogs from disease, distress, injury, fear and pain
  • maintain the hygiene of the breeding premises and health of the dogs held
  • ensure the premises is appropriately licensed under the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 to 2010.


2.1 Location

2.1.1 Buildings which house dogs should be located away from sources of excessive noise or pollution that could cause injury or stress to animals.

2.1.2 Buildings which house dogs should not be a source of nuisance such as excessive noise or smell.

2.1.3 All kennels should have an adequate supply of clean water which should be available to all dogs at all times.

2.1.4 Suitable isolation facilities should be available on site.


2.2 Construction

2.2.1 The Dog Breeding Establishment should:

  • protect dogs from rain and wind
  • provide adequate shade
  • provide a sheltered sleeping area
  • be suitable for dogs as regards temperature, humidity and ventilation

2.2.2 Kennels should be separated from each other by a suitable barrier that will minimise noise, prevent fighting injuries and prevent the spread of infectious disease.

2.2.3 The floor surface for all kennels should be constructed of an impervious material that facilitates thorough cleaning, disinfection and drainage in order to prevent/control disease.Similarly all surfaces that may come in contact with dogs should be capable of being easily cleaned and disinfected. Grassed or landscaped sections may form part of large outdoor runs and must be adequately maintained.

2.2.4 Whelping bitches should be provided with a separate area away from interference by other animals.


2.3 Size and Number of Occupants

2.3.1 Dog housing, whether for a single dog or for a group of dogs should provide enough space for each dog to feed, sleep, sit, stand, lie with limbs extended, stretch and move about unimpeded.

2.3.2 The accommodation of dogs in any way other than loose in a kennel is not acceptable and, in particular, the use of portable crates as a kennel will not be permitted.


2.4 Temperature

2.4.1 Dogs should be protected from extremes of temperature.

2.4.2 Special consideration should be given to young and old dogs which are more sensitive to changes in temperature. They may require special provision of heating or cooling.


2.5 Noise

2.5.1 Noise from barking dogs should be managed to ensure that the premises is not a source of noise nuisance. For example noise may be reduced by limiting external stimulation by having partitions between kennels or the use of blinds, by holding dogs in singles or in compatible groups, by situating kennels so that they do not face each other , or by any other appropriate noise attenuating measure.


2.6 Lighting

2.6.1 Lighting should be as close as possible, in duration and intensity, to natural conditions.

2.6.2 Sunlight is the preferred means of lighting, provided shaded areas are available to the dogs.

2.6.3 Artificial light should be provided where necessary to allow animal housing areas to be thoroughly cleaned and dogs to be checked.


2.7 Ventilation

Suitable ventilation should be provided and should ensure that dampness, draughts, noxious odours and the spread of infectious disease is minimised.


2.8 Bedding and Sleeping Area

2.8.1 All kennels should be provided with an appropriate sleeping area. Ideally this should be a separate, raised sleeping area, free of draughts. Where required, suitable bedding should be provided.

2.8.2 Bedding, where provided, should be kept clean and dry and changed as appropriate.

2.8.3 Whelping bitches should be provided with a suitable whelping area that is provided with clean bedding.


2.9 Safety

2.9.1 In the event of an emergency any security methods used should allow for ready access by staff to dogs, and ready exit of staff and dogs from the premises.

2.9.2 Under Health and Safety legislation adequate fire-fighting equipment must be readily available.




3.1 Cleaning and disinfection

3.1.1 In order to facilitate cleaning and disinfection dog kennels, housing and exercise areas should be kept clean and maintained in a good state of repair.

3.1.2 To aid a thorough sanitation programme a convenient method of delivering water, such as the appropriate number and location of hose points should be available


3.2 Pest Control

3.2.1 A suitable vermin control programme should be in place.


3.3 Waste Disposal

3.3.1 All dog breeding establishments should be constructed such that all waste, including washings, urine and faeces is managed by a suitable waste, drainage, storage and disposal system.

3.3.2 All waste should be collected and stored in suitable, closed, lidded, leak proof containers held in a dedicated waste storage area. Waste removal or storage should not be a source of nuisance or public health risk.



4.1 A Dog Breeding Establishment should have a suitable exercise facility in order to:

  • allow dogs to urinate and defecate
  • allow dogs contact with humans and, if appropriate, with other dogs
  • allow dogs to be checked over
  • allow dogs to exercise appropriately.


5.1 A Dog Breeding Establishment should have a suitable enclosed room or area to store dog food. The food store should;

  • allow food to be stored in vermin proof conditions
  • guard against extremes of heat, cold and condensation
  • be secure from contamination
  • be located to facilitate orderly feeding of dogs


A Dog Breeding Establishment shall have a suitable enclosed room or area to safely store chemicals, including cleaning agents and disinfectants. The storage area should be secure, suitably located for operational reasons and should not be a source of contamination.


The dog breeding establishment should have a suitable facility to properly wash all equipment, including utensils.


PART 2 Operation and Management of a Dog Breeding Establishment



1.1 Any premises containing six or more female dogs over 6 months of age and capable of breeding, is a Dog Breeding Establishment as defined under the Act.

1.2 In accordance with Section 15 of the Act the operator of a Dog Breeding Establishment must apply to the local authority responsible for the area in which it is situated for registration as a Dog Breeding Establishment. For existing Dog Breeding Establishments, an application for registration must be submitted within 6 months of the commencement of the Act.

1.3 The application should be completed without delay and returned to the relevant local authority. Unless the premises is fee exempted as described by section 9 (18) of the Act, it must be accompanied by the appropriate registration fee. Any false or misleading information will invalidate the application and will be an offence under the Act. Fee exempt premises include registered hunt clubs1, charitable organisations (Charities Act 2009 or having a Revenue CHY number), and commercial boarding kennels.

1.4 In processing the application, the local authority may visit the premises and/or may request further information. In such instances the local authority will give at least 24 hours notice for the initial assessment visit.

1.5 If registration is granted the applicant will be notified within 14 days. A registration certificate will be issued to the applicant who should display this certificate in a prominent location at the establishment. The details of the registration will also be entered into a register maintained by the local authority and will include details of the applicant, the address of the dog breeding establishment, the maximum number of bitches over 6 months that may be kept and, if applicable, any conditions attached to the registration.

1.6 Where a local authority proposes to either attach conditions or refuse the application, it will notify the applicant in writing and the applicant may make representations to the local authority within 14 days after receiving this notification. These representations will be considered by the Local Authority Veterinary Officer – as outlined in Section 18(1) (a) of the Act.

1.7 The local authority shall notify the applicant of its decision within 14 days of making that decision. Appeals against a refusal or against any conditions attached to the registration may be made to the appropriate District Court within 14 days of receipt of the notification, or such longer period as a judge of the District Court may determine.



2.1 Staff must comply with dog welfare legislation and must have experience in handling dogs. Formal training in animal care is encouraged.

2.2 Staff should be competent and be aware of their responsibilities.

2.3 An adequate number of staff/persons should be available, appropriate to the size of the establishment and the number of dogs being kept



3.1 Grooming must be to at least a minimum standard of care required for that breed. Coats should not be left unduly dirty, tangled or unkempt.

Dogs should be protected from distress or injury.
3.3 Dogs should be protected from excessive or rough handling.

3.4 Dogs should be fed adequately and regularly to maintain good health as appropriate to their breed.

3.5 Clean water must be available to all dogs at all times.

3.5 Bedding, where provided, should be appropriate and cleaned at suitable intervals

To ensure bio-security all reasonable measures should be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious disease. This also applies to both staff and persons visiting the premises.
A suitable treatment and prevention programme to control endoparasites (eg roundworms, tapeworms, etc.) and ectoparasites (fleas, lice, etc.) should be in place
A suitable vaccination programme, as advised by a veterinary practitioner, should be in place.
All dogs should be exercised appropriately. Such exercise regimes will facilitate dogs to urinate and defecate, stretch limbs, allow contact with humans and dogs if appropriate, and allow dogs to be checked for signs of ill health


4.1 In order to facilitate cleaning and disinfection, dog kennels, housing and exercise areas should be kept clean and maintained in a good state of repair.

4.2 Faeces should be removed at least once daily.

4.3 Kennels and associated housing and exercise areas should be cleaned and disinfected as appropriate, and on a risk basis e.g. before new dogs or puppies are introduced or after an outbreak of infectious disease.

4.4 After cleaning/disinfection, housing or kennels should be free of surface water.

4.5 Cleaning and disinfection agents should be chosen on the basis of their suitability, safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer’s instructions in respect of the correct use, dilution and contact time for the product should always be followed.

4.6 A suitable vermin control programme should be in place



5.1 Each dog should be checked at least once a day to monitor its health and well-being, and more frequently as appropriate, for example in the case of whelping bitches.

 The person checking the dogs should observe their general health, for instance checking that they are eating, drinking, defecating, urinating and are of normal appearance.

5.3 Any change in the health status of any dog should be reported promptly to the person in charge. Prompt veterinary attention should be obtained as appropriate.

5.4 Dogs known or suspected to be suffering from an infectious disease should not be admitted to the premises or else placed in suitable isolation.


The operator of the premises should be a client of a veterinary practice.
6.2 Any dog(s) showing signs of disease/ill-health should receive timely and appropriate treatment including, where necessary, veterinary examination and treatment

6.3 Veterinary attention must be obtained immediately in cases of suspected exotic diseases such as rabies.



7.1 A Dog Breeding Establishment operator should establish and maintain a system to record the details of births, deaths, sale, movement or other event relating to dogs kept within the establishment. These records must include all microchip details, dates of whelping of each bitch, number of pups in each litter (including the number of live and dead pups), and details of sale or disposal. The premises should also have a separate record of all bitches, over 6 months of age and capable of breeding.

7.2 For a period of 12 months after this Act comes into force, all dogs over 12 weeks of age on the premises must be micro-chipped and the details recorded on a suitable database.

7.3 After this 12 month period, all dogs over 8 weeks of age on the premises must be micro-chipped and all dogs must be micro-chipped prior to being moved out of the premises.

7.4 Records of all micro-chipped dogs must be recorded in a register maintained at the Dog Breeding Establishment and this register must be available for inspection by an authorised officer.

7.5 The requirement to microchip shall not apply to a dog breeding establishment that is a registered hunt or game club member where the dogs concerned are registered in a register maintained by the Hunting Association of Ireland or the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conversation of the European Union. The register held by these clubs and/or evidence of registration, which will be available for inspection by an authorised officer, must contain the following details;

  • a reproduction of the mark imprinted on the skin or coat of the dog to enable its identification;
  • the name of the owner of the dog and the address at which he or she resides;
  • the address of the dog breeding establishment at which the dog is kept;
  • the date of birth and sex of the dog;
  • the dog’s colouring and any particular feature or features that distinguish the dog.
  • The operator of a dog breeding establishment shall notify the particulars of any sale or transfer of a dog kept by him or her at that establishment in writing to—

(a) the local authority in whose functional area the dog breeding establishment is situated,


(b) the person charged with the maintenance of a database to which paragraph (aa)

(inserted by section 24) of section 19(2) of the Act of 1986 applies.


8.1 A person appointed by a local authority as an authorised officer under this Act is allowed to inspect a dog breeding establishment at all reasonable times. Routine inspections will be by arrangement. The inspection process should be managed by the authorised person as outlined by Section 18(1) (a) of the Act.

8.2 An authorised officer may inspect, take copies or remove and detain any books, records or other documents found in the course of an inspection and may require the operator to answer any questions relative to the dog breeding establishment. Obstruction of an authorised officer will be an offence under this Act.

8.3 In cases of significant deviation from the standards outlined in the Act an authorised officer may serve a Fixed Payment Notice or an Improvement Notice. An Improvement Notice will outline the remedial actions required and the time scale within which these actions need to be completed. An Improvement Notice may be appealed in the District Court within 7 days of service. Enforcement actions will be overseen by a Local Authority Veterinary Officer (authorised person as outlined by Section 18(1) (a) of the Act).

8.4 In cases where the authorised officer is of the opinion that a serious and immediate threat exists to public health or animal health and welfare a closure notice may be issued, requiring the operator of the dog breeding establishment to cease the breeding and keeping of dogs at the premises and to surrender the registration certificate. A closure notice must state the grounds for this action, and will outline the measures required to be taken by the operator to enable any dogs affected to be kept at suitable alternative accommodation at the expense of the operator. A copy of the notice will be affixed to the premises by the local authority who will also publish the notice.. This notice may be appealed in the District Court within 7 days of service. Enforcement actions will be overseen by a Local Authority Veterinary Officer (authorised person as outlined by Section 18(1) (a) of the Act).


Transportation of Dogs

The transportation of dogs and puppies to and from a commercial dog breeding establishment is covered by specific European legislation (Council Regulation (EC) No. 1 of 2005). The authority responsible for enforcing this legislation is the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The requirements of this legislation in relation to commercial dog transport are summarised in the DAFM “Guidelines for the Welfare of Non-farming (“Other”) Species During Commercial Transport” which are available at


Managers of dog breeding establishments should familiarise themselves with the contents of these guidelines. It is their responsibility to ensure that dogs and puppies in their care are transported in line with the guidelines, in particular in relation to the following:

  • Fitness for transport (section 1.1 of the DAFM guidelines provides a detailed list of conditions that would render a dog unfit for transport),
  • Transport practices (issues such as appropriate segregation of dogs during transport, feeding/watering requirements and care of sick or injured dogs).
  • Transport vehicles (including general requirements applicable to all vehicles used to transport dogs and additional requirements, including the need for DAFM approval, for vehicles transporting dogs on journeys greater than 8 hours in duration).
  • Requirements for commercial dog transporters to be authorised by DAFM if they are transporting dogs on journeys in excess of 65km.
  • Further information on any of the issues included in the DAFM guidelines cab be obtained from the DAFM website or by contacting the DAFM Transport Section on 01 5058647.

1 For the purposes of these guidelines, fee exemption under the “hunt club” means a registered hunt or game club—

(a) registered with a national hunting association that is a member of—

(i) the Hunting Association of Ireland or

(ii) the Irish branch of the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the European Union (FACE),


(b) that operates in accordance with the guidelines for kennel management issued by the HAI.