Breeding and importing in general …
It’s not possible to breed WCS in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Poland (there are probably more countries).
The reason is very simple: WCS are just Cocker Spaniels and have to conform to the breeding rules of that specific country.
In these countries Cocker Spaniels have to earn an “excellent” or at least a “very good” rating (depending on the country).
Because of the way the WCS looks it can never qualify as “excellent” or “very good”. In Germany it is at least possible to show a WCS in the “working class”, but then the working tests for WCS in Germany are completely different from those in the UK. (There, the dogs have to be totally quiet, whereas in Germany they have to make sound, to name only one difference.)
Importing a WCS from the UK
Breeding WCS in a responsible way is more difficult than with a lot of other breeds. Most breeders live in the UK and can be divided into three groups: Gamekeepers, one-dog owners, and agility people.
Without the gundog breeders the other two groups wouldn’t be able to breed. Gamekeepers are not always interested in health testing, their puppies are normally docked and it can be quite difficult to get a quality puppy if you are not a hunter yourself. It’s very important to know the bloodlines because the COI (see “health”) is very high and a lot of gamekeepers are still doing a lot of inbreeding. Quite a number of good puppies never even appear on the internet and websites are often not up to date.
The second kind of breeders are in fact not really breeders but owners of bitches who want to have a litter once or twice. These people don’t usually know an awful lot about the pedigrees and their dogs are often not health tested. The most important criterion for choosing a stud is the distance (100km is considered too far).
If such breeders are lucky they have good advisors or experienced stud dog owners like Jacquie Ward who lead them through the breeding process.
The third group are owners of agility dogs. These dogs are very often health tested and quite some of them have good pedigrees. The only disadvantage is that these breeders often have long waiting lists (just like the better gundog breeders) and don’t always consider choosing a gundog breeder stud – especially if they live far away.
It’s very useful to have some knowledge about bloodlines and diseases before buying a puppy in the UK because the Kennel Club has no restrictions on breeding except not breeding a bitch more than 4 times, and a COI above 30% (and some WCS come close to it!!) . Additionally, since April 2016 puppies have to be microchipped. There are no regulations on health testing, vaccinations, deworming etc. – it’s all up to the breeder to decide what he or she deems necessary.
The breeder must be willing to keep the puppy until it is 15 weeks old, the minimum age at which a puppy can be exported – or a foster home has to be found for that period of time.