Breed Group: Sporting
Weight: Male: 55-65; Female: 45-58 lbs
Height: Male: 22-24; Female: 21-23 inches
Color(s): solid liver
The Irish Water Spaniel is considered to be a rare breed and is the tallest of the Spaniels. They originated in Ireland in the mid 1800s for use as game retrieval from water as well as land. This breed was exceedingly popular in 1875, but over the years has been replaced in favor of the Labrador Retriever. The Irish Water Spaniel is now an uncommon and difficult to obtain breed.
A breed of ancient lineage, the Irish Water Spaniel is an active, energetic, and willing companion. They are strongly built and have rugged endurance. A true sporting dog, they are bold, alert, and inquisitive. Irish Water Spaniels are often referred to as the clown of the Spaniel family.
Irish Water Spaniels are highly intelligent, confident, and devoted. They demand attention and are a "whole family" dog. This is a breed that truly enjoys human contact. They are best suited for families with older considerate children. If properly introduced, they will get along well with other pets. They are generally quiet and bark only when necessary. The Irish Water Spaniel is protective, reserved, and wary with strangers. However, they are not aggressive. This breed displays a joyous exuberance and zest for life.
This breed is high maintenance and requires extensive grooming. To prevent matting they must be brushed daily. Regular professional trimming of the coat is an absolute must. Bathing should only be done when necessary using a mild shampoo to protect the natural oil of the coat. The Irish Water Spaniel is prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and eye problems. This breed may slobber and drool.
The most distinguishing characteristic of the Irish Water Spaniel is the coat. The majority of the body is covered with tight ringlets of hair. The tail, face, and ends of the rear legs have smooth short hair. The coat is crisp in texture and solid brown in color. The curly outer coat is lined with a dense under coat that serves as insulation from frigid water. To cover and protect the eyes a top-knot of curls hangs down from the head. This breed sheds little to no hair.
With a desire to please, the Irish Water Spaniel is capable of learning a great deal. However, they can be independent and stubborn. Early socialization and obedience are recommended. Irish Water Spaniels respond best to firm, fair, and consistent training methods. They quickly become bored with repetition, so short varied sessions are ideal. It is important that family members establish leadership or this breed will refuse commands.
The Irish Water Spaniel requires an inordinate amount of daily exercise. They enjoy swimming, retrieving, family activities, hunting, and a long walk. This breed is not recommended for apartment dwelling. Their love of the outdoors makes them better suited for the country or suburbs. They do best with a large yard.
Help reduce the number of dogs in shelters by doing your due diligence. Many puppies are often purchased with little or no knowledge of what goes into parenting one. Uneducated decisions often leave the puppy in need of adoption and in the care of rescue groups. Bringing home a puppy into your family has many benefits but we first implore you to educate yourself. An informed decision will take into account the characteristics of the breed, your lifestyle, expected veterinary care, the demands and limitations of owning one, their activity requirements and levels of companionship required.
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