Status on pedigree-data

The Irish wolfhound database is by no means complete. Although our goal is to record the pedigree of every Irish wolfhound ever, we are not able to reach that goal. The main reason is that we don’t have access to all Kennel Club registers, and not all Kennel Club registers are complete. If you are familiar with the wolfhound population in one of the countries where our coverage is less than complete, we would be very grateful if you would help us by sharing your data.

Here’s the status on countries where we have registered irish wolfhounds as of december 2017:

  • Argentia
    Probably incomplete
  • Australia
    Complete through 2017
  • Austria
    Complete from 2009 through 2017, incomplete data before that
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
    Probably complete
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
    Complete through 2015
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
    Probably complete
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zimbabwe

Private notes

Private notes and annotations is a new feature of It’s main use is for annotating pedigrees with information that may not be public or doesn’t fit in the framework.

What kind of info fits?

Different people will use private notes for different things. It all comes down to what’s important for you. Here’s some ideas as to what info might fit you:

  • Show results
  • Your own impression of the dog
  • Temperament
  • Known diseases and treatments
  • Confidential information like age and cause of death if not known in iwdb
  • Veteran-status
  • Semen-storage

The list could be made much longer, but we do hope you get the idea.

How is the information protected?

We take your privacy very seriously and acknowledge that private information is just that: Private information. To ensure that, all information you enter is encrypted with a special key that itself is also encrypted. Without the original key, information is gibberish. We are using state of the art encryption techniques, which means the information is safe from most intruders. Security is always a compromise between practicality and security however, and no information entered online is completely safe.

How do I add and edit info?

To use this feature you have to be logged in as a registered user of If you are, adding and editing info is easy through the small text labeled Add Private info underneath each dog’s listing. Click it, and an inline editing window will show up. When you’re done, just click save. You are free to use formatting and HTML in these listings.

If you’re not a registered user, we suggest you become one. It’s free and easy. Just click the button Register/Login, choose register and enter details. You will receive a confirmation-mail which asks you to confirm. Once done, you are logged in and may start using private notes

How to read a pedigree

There’s a neverending discussion as to what can be read from a pedigree. We don’t have any definitive answers, but would like to give some insight into what we have chosen to show in pedigrees at, and  a general primer into the practices used around the world.

The pedigree itself lists ancestors of the dog in question. It’s the blueprint which may tell you what to expect when it comes to how the dog looks and behaves, but also which diseases you may expect and what longevity you may reasonably hope for. Pedigree-information is the most important tool you have for breeding quality dogs.

In there’s also tons of information that will help breeders do breedings that’s good for the breed instead of damaging it’s genetic distribution.

Why pedigrees?

Why do we need pedigrees at all? We sometimes meet with people who don’t use pedigree information in their breeding and some don’t see the point in pedigrees or indeed pedigree dogs. So we had a long thought about the whole point of pedigrees and creating things like

A dog’s blueprint

The pedigree is the blueprint from which a dog is created. With proper knowledge of the dogs appearing in the pedigree, it’s quite possible to have a good mental approximation of what the final result of any mating are likely to be. That goes for looks, mentality, potential for longevity andrisk of diseases.

Of course, nothing’s certain when it comes to genetics. Everything’s governed by probabilities, but at least you have a good chance of altering the odds in your favour by using good pedigree data.

Combating genetic disease

Pedigrees are essential to combat genetic diseases when they spring up now and again. Maybe the best example is in how the breed tackled PRA (Progressive Retinal Athropy) when that first started showing up.  Liz Thornton has an excellent article about how we worked together to lower the risk of PRA-offspring. The point here is that it wouldn’t be possible without information on pedigrees.

The article also mentions Anne Janis’ free and excellent risk assessment. She uses pedigree data extensively together with information – often given to her in strict confidentiality to calculate the risk of diseases like PRA.

Documenting our history

Did you know that the Irish wolfhound is being considered for enrolment in UNESCO’s World Heritage list? Many of us believe the breed is a vital part of the Irish heritage and as such the world heritage. Yes, it’s that important. Without pedigrees, we wouldn’t have any history to point at, and the Irish wolfhound would just be considered any big dog. With pedigrees, we can all trace the history of our dogs back to the few remaining Irish wolfhounds in the mid 19th century. Most dogs in has pedigrees going back that far. These data are an enormously important part of the breed history.

Making sure we are on the right track

Geneticists can tell us what we should do (Don’t inbreed, keep the effective population size high, breed for health and longevity). Without pedigrees, there’s no way we can actually do that. Think of as the Icelandic dating app which will help you make sure your bedpartner isn’t genetically unsafe. We provide tools that help breeders do what’s best for the breed and breed bodies to keep an eye on what’s happening. Without pedigrees, it would all be impossible.

All these things are equally true for other pedigree breeds as well. They may not have as good a tool as we have (although some have), but we are getting there. There’s also inititatives going on between the various international kennel clubs to make an international, all breeds, complete database. That probably won’t happen in the next few decades, though.

The IWDB Companion site

Welcome to the IWDB companion site. We complement our Irish Wolfhound Pedigree database at This is a repository for help on the main site. It’s an educational resource on pedigrees. It’s a blog with things we find interesting. We aim to provide useful information for users and researchers alike.

Private Info

In, you may enter private info on any dog in the database. It’s basically anything that’s of interest to you and isn’t available in the database already. No limitations.

The info you input is encrypted with state of the art encryption tools, and is only available to you when you are logged in with your account and password. All info is stored in encrypted form in our databases and not accessible to others.

Reasonable Ancestor loss

In we are showing ancestor loss for our dogs. The ancestor loss shows how many individuals are “lost” due to repeat occurences in the pedigrees. The more unique animals available, the more genetically diverse a dog is likely to be. This is generally considered good for it’s health and for the breed’s health.

Due to genetic bottlenecks in the breed’s history and historical breeding practices, we don’t have any dogs with all unique ancestors, not even going just 10 generation back. For 10 generations, the highest recorded number of unique ancestors at the time of writing is 967 (out of a possible 2,046). The average number of unique ancestors for the litters recorded in 2015 is 583. For the breed’s genetic health, it’s a good practice to breed with more unique ancestors than the breed’s average.

Development of Inbreeding

There is ongoing discussion about using a low number of generations when calculating coefficient of inbreeding and whether that gives an accurate assessment of the measure of inbreeding. Some people will claim that the genetic bottlenecks in the breed as well as the low number of founders means all Irish Wolfhounds are highly inbred. It’s a known fact that using a higher number of generations when calculating inbreeding means an increase in the coefficient of inbreeding. Continue reading

The situation in Victoria, Australia

In Australia, there’s been an ongoing situation since 2006 when two litters were registered as purebred irish wolfhounds when they apparently were not of the ancestry claimed.

In june 2016, DNA evidence was accepted by the court as showing that an unregistered dog of unknown parentage, by the name of “Murphy” was the sire of the dogs in question. The magistrate ordered the registration of the the two bitches in question cancelled.

At we are grateful for the efforts of our friends in Australia to set things right. Especially Loretta van Nunspeet and Graham Jacobson have fought a long, expensive battle on behalf of our breed for close to ten years.

We believe in protecting the pedigrees. The trust Kennel Clubs put in breeders have clearly been broken in this case. We are still awaiting removal of the dogs in question from the registers of the Australian National Kennel Council. We have asked the Australian Irish Wolfhound Clubs for advice, and although not all of them have been able to give a reply yet, the message has been clear: Please remove the dogs in question.

The trustees of has decided to remove the two bitches who are now proved to have a sire of unknown origin. We have further decided to remove all their full siblings and all their progeny from our database. All in all, 86 dogs have been removed as we believe they are not proven to be purebred Irish Wolfhounds.

We have kept the list and will consult it for future registrations as long as the dogs are kept in the registers of the Australian National Kennel Council.
Dogs Victoria’s statement on the issue may be read here: