The nature of the breed

As a breed SWD's are included in the Gundog Group in the UK, however many of their traits are more similar to a working breed. As they are so versatile they can be trained to carry out many tasks, ie: Gundog work, Flyball, agility and search and rescue to name but a few. The breed does get on with most other animals that they have been raised with, they can be dominant and possessive with their toys and also their favourite member of the family. This is a breed trait and needs to be controlled at an early age.

When they are out enjoying their excercise they tend to use their herding abilities, (barking, pushing and nipping ) especially if there are other breeds of a gentler nature present, those breeds can find this intimidating. If you only have one SWD this is less likely to occur. They also tend to be very possessive of their owners and do not really like to share attention. Because they love to be part of the family they do not really make ideal kennel dogs, becoming noisey and destructive; they much prefer the comforts of indoor life, although they should not be confused with couch potatoes, as they need constant exercise and stimulation to be truly happy.

As their name suggests they do like to have fun in the water, being strong swimmers they enjoy having the opportunity of having a dip, whether it is in the sea or a river. If you do let your SWD swim in rivers be aware that the water may have chemicals in that could be hazardous to his health.

We must remember their heritage, they are working dogs, that enjoy herding and guarding. This breed needs owners that have the time and energy to ensure that they are stimulated both mentally and physically.

It is important to research the breed carefully and make sure that they are right for you and your family, as a breed they do not rehome easily due to their strong bonding nature.


The SWD is a robust and healthy breed, however as with all breeds they do have some health issues that need carefully monitoring. The three most common are:

Hip Dysplasia

is one of the conditions that affects the breed, we are careful to only use dogs with hip scores as near to the breed average as possible, although this does not guarantee that all pups will have hip scores that are as good as their parents, but it can only be a good thing to screen and try to help reduce this distressing condition.


Once again all our dogs that are being used in a breeding programme are tested for this condition and only unaffected dogs are used for breeding.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Unfortunatley it has now come to light that this condition is one that we need to screen for and so we now test all our breeding dogs using a DNA test to ensure we know if dogs are carrying the gene that causes the disease.