Cancer clusters


There are a ton of health conditions, diseases, etc that your dog can get.  Only a tiny percentage have genetic health testing available, and in our life time there is zero chance that we will be able to certify that any dog, regardless of how intent the breeder may be, will be able to eliminate health problems.  That’s a fact.

We can learn more about dog health scenarios by looking at human health reports, because there will always be millions and billions more put into human health than there will be into dog health.  That’s a fact too.

I was very interested today to read a report about “Lynch Syndrome” – a very unfortunate and distressing problem where families have clusters of cancers in each generation.    Check out the article by clicking here.  Yes, there are genes at play here.

When we look at this, we need to consider – can we apply this to our breed?  I think the answer is a wholehearted:  “yes”.     We do need to honestly look at whether or not there are clusters of cancers in our breed.

We already know that in some breeds you can almost guarantee that the dogs will die young, ie:  around 6 from cancer.  This is seen in some of the larger mastiff and associated type breeds.  I am sure there are cases in many other breeds.

Many cancers do not seem to have a genetic link, they are merely bad bloody luck, but as breeders we need to evaluate our stock and see what is being produced.  For me, this is one strong argument to breed from older males who are still healthy and strong, and who don’t seem to have produced a lot of health issues.  And also, it’s important to keep in touch with people we get our stud dogs from to see how the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are doing.

For me, I revel in hearing the stories of my older girls who are still kicking goals at age 14 & 15.

Some health tips from me:

  • Keep your dogs (cats, and ferrets!) on a raw, unprocessed diet
  • Buy dogs from breeders who will be very open and honest about the health issues in their dogs.  (if a breeder says they have never had a health issue, either they are new to this, or are not aware of their dogs, or is perhaps telling a fib.)
  • Have a good vet – they are very hard to find, so seek recommendations from friends
  • Have pet health insurance.
  • And keep your breeder up to date with health issues.  They can’t improve if they don’t know.

hoping you are having a great day,


Jane Anderson

Dud links


Hiya folks,

please bear with me as I need to go through the revised site and fix some dud links.

I have removed a few pages, but if you’d like to see them back, just send me a note or fill out the comments section below.




Early neutering of pets


In Australia it is very common for pets to be spayed/neutered before leaving the breeder’s home.

Many breeders have found that if left in the hands of the new owners, too often people are turning around and breeding their pet regardless of the agreement and/or contract they had with the breeder.

I learned the hard way many years ago, when I had my first litter of Portuguese Water Dogs, that despite such agreements, people did go off and start cross breeding if given the chance, and one in fact tried to get the owner of a male pwd to breed with her girl.  What’s the problem with that?  Well for starters it would have been a brother-sister breeding and the owner of the female still thought that was fine.  We’ve also had breeders of doodles want to buy dogs from me so they can incorporate them in their lines.  Ah no, that’s not going to happen.

We’ve also had people who signed paperwork say to us later, “well I know that’s what we agreed, but my husband said we are going to get our money back by breeding a litter.” sigh.  Of course, the relationship that person has with the husband is far more important that the relationship they had established with me.

We are more than happy to provide a path for people wanting to breed, and the way to do that can be found by clicking here.    It is difficult and expensive and heart wrenching amongst many other things to become a good breeder.  And sometimes for a step forward you need to take a step back or two steps sideways.

In terms of early spaying/neutering there are a lot of people, particularly in the US who get emotional and very vocal about it.  And from what I see, those that know least about it, and/or have never had a dog go through it, are the ones who have the most to say.

There have been a lot of papers written about early spaying/neutering.  Unfortunately, so many of these fail to satisfactorily attain the most basic of standards in research methodology (a subject I studied and excelled at whilst at university), that their research has little or any validity.  That doesn’t stop it getting published, nor getting it reviewed by peers who seem to have similar lack of understanding in how to have research stand up scientifically.  And there are some “research papers” who deliberately mis-quote the outcomes of other studies just to meet their own emotive needs, and the real shame is that the average owner does not have access to those original papers to assess, and the vast majority of people wouldn’t even think that people would deliberately falsify information to try and prove a point.

I read the other day on facebook a woman who said, “I can tell a dog that has been neutered early because it’s rangy.” – to which I replied, well as a dog show judge, I see dogs in the show ring that are rangy all the time, none of these dogs are desexed, so how does that work then?  There is never a reply to this. Of course dogs that get desexed early might look rangy.  I’ve looked at pups and said to myself, “well I love this puppy, but I’m fairly sure he’s going to get too big for the standard, and so he’s not going to be part of the ongoing breeding program.” However, one of the tallest dogs I ever bred, went to a home as “entire” male, to be possibly used at stud later on, and we ended up not using him of course.  And some of the most beautiful perfect males I’ve ever bred I’ve desexed as pups and they have turned out wonderfully.  Why didn’t I keep them?  I can’t keep them all.  If the worst mistake I make as a breeder is selling the most beautiful puppy into a pet home where he will never be shown or bred from, then shame on me apparently.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if all our pet owners had the most beautiful dogs.  Personally I love it when I see a beautiful dog walking down the street with its owner and I think – wow – you’ve really got something special there.

The other comment I read was, “I will never support early spay/neuter because I got a rescue dog and she developed incontinence later on and that’s because she was spayed!” Turns out that was a guess at best by another vet, and a lazy guess, although to be fair, we were only hearing that person’s account, not actually what the vet said.  He/she could have said, “well there are a 100+ reasons why incontinence can happen, and one of these can be from spaying, although there is some evidence that a female spayed later in life has a higher rate of incontinence than one spayed earlier.”

So where to from here:  A sound article can be found here, but again, I would prefer to read far more about their research methodology.

In summary, this is a subject I could talk about for days & weeks.  It is not black and white.  There is a lot of grey.  However, as long as I’m desexing my pups, they will not end up in the labradoodle breeding program.  The end.

It’s grooming time!


Finally we’ve hit autumn.

I must say, summer was a lot kinder to us that what I was expecting.

That being said, I will taking the opportunity this month to shave off those dogs who won’t be competing in the show ring in the next few months. I like to do this before it gets too much colder.

If you’re not feeling that it’s time for you to groom, give your groomer a call and book in your dog.

And I’d love to see some photos of your dog in a lion trim! Come on, be brave.



welcome to the new look site


hi all,

after much delay, well procrastination, it was indeed time to update this site.

The new format is far more user friendly than before and should work well on most mobile platforms.

I will be able to keep it far more up to date, as I no longer need to FTP things, if that makes sense.

Come back often as I use this as a better communication tool.





Welcome to Bluegrace Portuguese Water Dogs.

Based near Melbourne, Australia, we have been involved in this breed since 1997.

Please bear with me whilst we update this site.