Where transparency and collaboration is pivotal

We would like to show you why we; The Irish Wolfhound Database (IWDB) and the Irish Wolfhound Longevity Study (IWLS) find it extremely important to collect data on Wolfhounds.

IWDB is aiming at collecting data to document the breed in its entirety (or as close to this as possible), and subsequently give the community access to pedigrees, which are a valuable part of breeding choices. A number of owners and breeders are also submitting data on health and lifespan, which can be accessed by the users of the database. In addition, the IWDB team and IWLS are collecting longevity data from a number of open sources. The IWDB is a dynamic entity, with an ever growing volume of data and new functions.

The inevitable mistakes in the entered data are continuously corrected as soon as they are brought to the attention of IWDB’s admin-team by the users.

If you go to http://info.iwdb.org/you will learn how to use the database and which functions are available to the users. It is important to note that the value of research depends on how it is interpreted and applied. Even well founded and presented research can be misused in the wrong hands. Animosities have always existed between breeders, if some choose to use the public database with malintent or to chastise others, it is not surprising but still unfortunate; IWDB was not created for this purpose. Fortunately negative use of the database is scarce, and the impact is not serious enough to warrant not having this tool at our disposal?

In its very short life, IWDB has had more than 177.000 visits, where each visitor has viewed an average of 6 pages. There are approximately 40.000 pedigrees viewed every month, which shows a significant interest from the IW community.

In the Irish Wolfhound Longevity Study (IWLS), the primary focus on data collection is for population studies. Data for the IWLS have been partly harvested from public sources; however, the majority of data originates from the generous contributions by owners and breeders. This data is not available to the public, unless the owner or breeder chooses to share said data with IWDB.  The IWLS is about documenting the status quo of the breed. Once baselines have been established, it will reveal how the breed fares, mean average lifespan for the breed or for specific groups within the data mass.   We look at causes of death in the dogs, patterns of inheritance and subsequently it will be easier to point out applicable methods for improving flaws or weaknesses, or perhaps maintaining or consolidating virtues. It may sound ambitious, but the data will be part of a wide spectrum of works in progress.

Graph showing relation between lifespan of progeny and lifespan value of ancestors
The graph is based on known lifespan of 8,632 Irish Wolfhounds

This graph shows how longevity in a pedigree affects the longevity of offspring. The trend line shows the correlation between lifespan value in pedigree and experienced longevity in progeny. Each dog has a little X plotting its age at time of death on the horizontal axes and the lifespan value of its ancestors on the vertical axes.

The lifespan-value of ancestors (the vertical scale) is a weighted calculation of direct ancestor lifespan in the last five generations. We are still working on improving the algorithms used for this crucial calculation.

This is to give an example of what IWDB and IWLSare collaborating on. It is another work in progress. The aim is providing applicable tools for the calculations of inherent robustness and longevity in planned litters. However, we are pretty excited to see the emerging pattern of plots, which clearly show, that the higher the age of ancestors, the greater the chance of the resulting progeny reaching similar ages. In other words there is a significant inherited component in the potential for longevity.

Pernille Monberg & Per Arne Flatberg