Codes and Standards of Conduct and Behavior


Kim Oliver

Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for Members of the IWCA, Inc.

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All members of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America will put the welfare of each of his or her Irish Wolfhounds above personal gain, profit or personal convenience. At all times IWCA members will conduct themselves responsibly, honorably, and exhibit the qualities of good sportsmanship.

All Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc. members agree to:

  1. Have your new Irish Wolfhound examined by a licensed veterinarian shortly after bringing it home (preferably within two to three business days).
  2. Ensure that your Irish Wolfhound is always cared for both physically and emotionally, by providing proper shelter, food, water, exercise, grooming, human contact, stimulation, appropriate veterinary care and protection from bodily harm.
  3. Take care when socializing young puppies to minimize the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as parvovirus or kennel cough. Encourage puppies to play with healthy, vaccinated adult dogs such as those owned by family members and friends at your home or theirs, and with healthy vaccinated puppies in well-run puppy classes. Avoid public spaces with dogs of unknown health status (e.g. pet stores, dog parks) until the puppy is fully vaccinated and responds to basic commands.
  4. Notify the breeder if you are ever unable to keep your Irish Wolfhound so that the breeder can either take the dog back or help in rehoming it. If the breeder is unable or unwilling to either take your Irish Wolfhound back or help in rehoming it, you should notify the Irish Wolfhound Rescue for assistance in rehoming.
  5. Not abandon any Irish Wolfhound or knowingly sell, trade or give an Irish Wolfhound to a pet shop, wholesaler or broker.
  6. Never supply an Irish Wolfhound as a prize for a raffle or other enterprise where the acquisition of the dog is determined by chance or highest bid.
  7. Ensure your Irish Wolfhounds have permanent identification (by microchip, tattoo or otherwise).
  8. Unless otherwise agreed with the Irish Wolfhound breeder, have your Irish Wolfhound spayed/neutered at an appropriate age for the breed and based on consultation with it’s veterinarian.
  9. Keep the breeder informed about any physical or behavioral health problems that arise in any dog obtained from them, especially health problems that are known to be inheritable or that have unknown causes.
  10. Notify the breeder of any change of your address, phone number or email address for their records.
  11. Demonstrate good sportsmanship at all times and during any Irish Wolfhound competition as either a competitor or spectator. This includes engaging only in polite communications on any platform including social media.
  12. At no time should you misrepresent your Irish Wolfhound as a Service Dog, Emotional Support Dog or Therapy Dog for personal convenience or gain. This is not only disrespectful of those with true disabilities, but it is unethical and unlawful.
  13. Abide by all local, state and federal ordinances and laws, and the rules and regulations of the American Kennel Club or the registry of the country of residence.
  14. Abide by all Irish Wolfhound Club of America by-laws, codes of conduct and policies and those of the American Kennel Club.
  15. Breeders should abide by the IWCA Standard of Behavior for Breeders.

Approved: 1/17/2021 


Standard of Behavior for Breeders

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The purpose of breeding Irish Wolfhounds is to bring the Breed Standard to life. In order to do this, one should

  1. Have a clear understanding of the Breed Standard.
  2. Have a basic knowledge of genetics.
  3. Know the pedigrees of both dog and bitch - understanding faults and strengths and the genetic defects on both sides.
  4. Breed only registered Irish Wolfhounds with registered Irish Wolfhounds.

In addition, a member who undertakes to breed a bitch or use their hound at stud must

  1. Only breed to preserve the breed and improve the breed.
  2. As far as possible, breed only those animals free from hereditary defects.
  3. Breed only those animals that have attained the minimum height as specified by the breed standard.
  4. Be prepared to provide the proper care for both the bitch and the litter and to retain the puppies for as long as is necessary to find proper homes, even if that means retaining the entire litter for their lives.
  5. To take back any animal they have bred for whatever reason for the life of that animal.
  6. Never import or export litters of Irish Wolfhounds or sell entire litters, either to a private party or for commercial resale.
  7. Never buy or sell bitches in whelp.

The owner of the sire must also be prepared to take responsibility for placement of the puppies, referring prospective purchasers to the bitch owner and helping with screening of homes, if asked. In other words, the owner of the sire should regard those puppies the same as if they owned them themselves.

Both bitch and dog owners should

  1. Ascertain that some homes are available prior to the breeding.
  2. Have a contract covering placement of puppies, screening of buyers, fee, return service and any other specifics.
  3. Not split the litter in lieu of a stud fee for the primary purpose of resale.

In general

  1. One should never breed for personal profit or commercial exploitation of the breed.
  2. While it is expected that breeders will retain their most promising puppies or sell them to other serious students or guardians of the breed, breeders should also sell on a non-breeding contract or limited registration, and encourage spaying and neutering of all others.
  3. Breed only those bitches that are in excellent health, generally between the ages of 24 months and 6 years.
  4. Normally breed an individual bitch no more than two out of three consecutive seasons and not produce more than three litters in her lifetime.
  5. Breeders will act responsibly towards all puppies produced by their bitch for the lifetime of the puppies.

Care and Sale of a Litter

The breeder must

  1. Be prepared to give up 3 months of her/his life to care for the bitch and puppies. The bitch needs supervision and care while in the whelping and nursing phases and the puppies need constant care and socialization from birth until they leave for their new homes at 10-12 weeks.
  2. Provide all puppies with proper veterinary care and a clean and safe home environment. The puppies should be parasite-free, have a good diet and the appropriate immunizations, and have tested negative for liver shunt (PSS) before leaving for their new homes.  Puppies testing positive for PSS should not be sold.
  3. Be prepared to euthanize any puppy that is deformed or irreversibly ill.
  4. Determine the quality of each puppy. It is recommended that breeders not use the phrase “show quality” as it is difficult to ascertain whether this is true until the puppy is considerably older.
  5. Place only the most promising puppies in homes where the puppies may be bred and then only after the breeder has carefully investigated the new owners' qualifications for becoming future breeders of Irish Wolfhounds. Breeders must exercise the utmost care whenever placing puppies with full registration and without a non-breeding contract.
  6. Attempt to determine the desire and ultimate intent of prospective buyers for each Wolfhound. Their interest and ability to provide a safe, adequate and loving home should be determined. The availability of a fenced area for the hound(s) to exercise in is essential.
  7. Give the prospective buyer an honest appraisal of cost management, as well as the physical, mental and nutritional needs peculiar to the breed.
  8. Provide each new owner at the time of sale the following:
    1. Feeding instructions.
    2. A 5-generation pedigree.
    3. Medical records that include number and type of vaccines, dates of vaccinations, date of de-worming’s and the negative PSS testing result documentation.
    4. An IWCA membership application, Regional Club membership application (if appropriate) and a note about why they should become a member
    5. A copy of Code of Ethical Conduct and this Standard for Conduct.
    6. A bill of sale.
    7. A copy of the Breed Standard.
    8. AKC registration forms specifying Breeding or Non-Breeding registration.

Best Practices

  1. Should not release a puppy to its new home prior to 10 weeks of age.
  2. Breeding arrangements should never be established which would encourage the average buyer to undertake a breeding program.
  3. If a breeder does not have the time, facility or desire to manage the mating, whelping and aftercare of a particular potential bitch, that bitch should not be passed to another person, just to produce puppies.
  4. All new owners should be told to have their puppies checked by a veterinarian within 48 hours of receiving the puppy.
  5. All new owners should be advised to keep the breeder informed about the development of the puppy and should be told to contact the breeder immediately concerning any health problems, physical abnormalities, and/or death of the dog.
  6. The breeder should likewise keep in contact with the new owner for the life of the dog.
  7. The contract of sale should include a stipulation whereby the breeder will be notified of any plan on the part of the owner to resell or otherwise dispose of the puppy. This stipulation would also require the buyer to either return the dog to the breeder or place it with new owners who have been approved by the breeder.
  8. If a puppy is to be co-owned, a contract should be drawn covering all details of the co-ownership and signed by both owners.
  9. Puppies under the age of 11 weeks should not be exported or imported.
  10. All puppies should be evaluated as sound and in good health at the time of sale.
  11. Each breeder should be willing to replace a puppy or to refund all or a portion of the purchase price if the puppy proves to have a structural defect. Such a problem should be confirmed by breeder and owner's veterinarians.


Complete and accurate records shall be maintained as follows:

For the sire and dam of the litter

  1. AKC registered names and numbers and date of whelp.
  2. A 5-generation pedigree of both parents.
  3. Names and addresses of registered owners.
  4. Dates of actual breedings.

For the litter

  1. Date of whelp and AKC litter number.
  2. Number and sex of puppies whelped alive.
  3. Number and sex of puppies dead at birth (While this is not required, this is important for breeder's records).
  4. Registered name, sex and sale date of each puppy.
  5. Name and address of owner of each puppy.
  6. When possible, follow through on cause and date of death of any dogs placed.

Approved 05/17/2020


Irish Wolfhound Club of America Board of Directors Guidelines for Conduct

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Individual members of the board of directors of any corporation have three primary legal duties known as the “duty of care,” “duty of loyalty,” and “duty of obedience.”

  1. Duty of Care: To take care of the corporation by ensuring prudent use of all assets, including financial assets, people, and good will.
  2. Duty of Loyalty: Ensure that the corporation’s activities and transactions are, first and foremost, advancing its mission as set forth in the bylaws; recognize and disclose conflicts of interest; make decisions that are in the best interest of the corporation, not in the best interest of the individual board member (or any other individual).
  3. Duty of Obedience: Ensure that the corporation obeys applicable laws and regulations; follows its own bylaws; and that the corporation adheres to its stated corporate mission.

Each member of the Board will abide by the Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc. (IWCA) by-laws, policies, and code of ethics. Each member of the Board will abide by the Rules and Regulations of the American Kennel Club.

Board members:

  • Are expected to attend board meetings during the length of their tenure.
  • Will uphold the confidentiality of discussions conducted in executive session during the IWCA board meetings. Such confidentiality extends beyond the board member’s tenure.
  • Will not represent their personal opinions of members, members’ dogs, club events, judges, or the AKC as representing the official views of the IWCA Board of directors or club.
  • Will invite polite input from club members and fellow board members on club business and will act professionally in discussions of opposing opinions.
  • Must act in the best interests of the IWCA and not for personal gain or enrichment. All board members must follow the IWCA Conflict of Interest Policy.
  • If conflicts of interest arise, Board members will identify them and remove themselves from any discussion or vote on the matter.
  • Will pass on to their successors, all club documents, materials, and other property entrusted to them as members of the Board or committees in a timely manner but not to exceed 60 days from the election or appointment of their successors. 

Approved and adopted by the IWCA Board of Directors: 08/25/2018

This page was last updated 01/24/2021.