Watts, George (1772–1858), veterinary surgeon and horse breeder, was born in England, possibly in Devon or in Yorkshire; nothing certain is known of his family background, though there is a possibility that he was related to Richard Watt (1751–98) of Bishop Burton, near Beverley, Yorkshire, who started out as a stable boy but made a fortune in sugar and slave-trading in the West Indies. In 1797, having qualified at the veterinary school in London, George Watts joined the Third Regiment of Dragoon Guards as a veterinary surgeon. He was probably not the same person as the George Watts of that regiment who held a commission for at least twenty-five years from 1801. George Watts the veterinary surgeon was appointed by the Dublin Society in 1800 to be one of the two practitioners responsible for establishing a veterinary training institution in Dublin; Thomas Peall lectured to intending veterinary surgeons, farmers, and gentlemen, while Watts as his assistant was to carry out practical and clinical teaching and farriery, and was to train blacksmiths. It was at first intended that all farm animals would be dealt with in the syllabus, but eventually Peall and Watts concentrated on horses. When the Dublin Society was unable to persuade government to fund the institution, both men were allowed to develop private practices, and jointly opened a well-equipped hospital for horses and a forge on Aungier St., Dublin, in 1804. These premises were in Watts's name alone from about 1806; he had probably severed his connection with the Dublin Society before this date. Peall continued to give annual lecture courses in Dublin even after he became a veterinary surgeon in the army, but committed suicide (1825) by drinking sulphuric acid.
Watts had a reputation as a skilful practitioner, and developed and sold a number of ointments and lotions that were still sold under his name and used for treating equine ailments almost into the twentieth century. He is important as one of the earliest formally trained veterinary surgeons in Ireland, but is still more notable for his role in horse racing and the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses, especially after he became the owner of Jockey Hall at the Curragh, Co. Kildare. His stable was the most successful in Irish racing in its day, and he pursued a carefully planned breeding programme, concentrating on one bloodline which ran through Eclipse, owned by Dennis O'Kelly (qv), and which derived ultimately from the famous Darley Arabian. Watts bred a horse called The Baron, which he sent to a trainer at Malton in Yorkshire, in 1845. The Baron won the St Leger and the Cesarewitch that same year. Watts sold The Baron for £4,000. His descendants through the sire line of Stockwell, the stallion he sired, include most of the famous racehorses that have won races in England, France, and America since 1850. According to an unnamed author quoted by Hartigan, Stockwell ‘has probably done more for modern racing than any single sire’. Watts was a very wealthy man when he died on 30 November 1858, at Jockey Hall; his will disposed of an estate worth £35,000. He was buried in St Peter's church on Aungier St., survived by five daughters. An only son, also George Watts and also a veterinary surgeon, died in 1856.
Watts married Harriett MacKinnon (d. 1825, aged 53), third daughter of the 32nd chief of Clan MacKinnon, William MacKinnon (d. 1809), who lived in Berkshire. She had wealthy and aristocratic connections, and was sister of a celebrated general, Henry MacKinnon, who died fighting the French at Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812.