Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish water spaniel comes from ancient ancestry, making this breed the oldest of the spaniels. Boatswain was one of the dogs created by Justin McCarthy in Ireland during the 1830s. Boatswain became the standard by which the Irish water spaniel was bred thereafter. During the 1800s, the popular breed was used for hunting on land and in water. Since the creation of other hunting breeds with coats that are easier to care for, the Irish water spaniel has fallen out of favor with most sportsmen. It is now a rare breed that is primarily enjoyed as a family pet and a show dog. In 1884, the American Kennel Club recognized the Irish water spaniel as a member of the sporting group.

The Irish Water Spaniel is tall and agile, and it's trademark is their curly coat, which protect it from harsh weather or cold water. Its coat needs some attention, with regular brushing and clipping. This dog breed is a unique type of spaniel. Personality: This is an enthusiastic dog breed that loves to exercise. Whether it's swimming, running or playing, the Irish Water Spaniel will do it happily. This dog needs a lot of exercise and needs to be able to run every day. It can stubborn at times, but has a good sense of humor and likes to goof around. It's good with children, but some can be shy. It's reserved towards strangers but good with other dogs.

Irish Water Spaniel image
Family
Life Span
13 - 14 Years
Other Names
IWS, whiptail, Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel Build Information

Size
Medium

The medium-sized Irish water spaniel is the tallest of the spaniel breeds, standing at a height of 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder. The double coat is liver in color. The dense undercoat serves to insulate and protect the dog when hunting in cold waters. The long outer coat is made up of tight curls. The hair on the long tail and face is short.

Long curls form a topknot on the dog’s head, and the long ears are also covered with curls and hang downward.

The Irish Water Spaniel is tall and agile, and it's trademark is their curly coat, which protect it from harsh weather or cold water. Its coat needs some attention, with regular brushing and clipping. This dog breed is a unique type of spaniel.

Behaviour and Personality

Kid Friendliness
Affection Level
Activity Level

The Irish water spaniel is cautious around strangers, but playful and loyal with its family. The spirited dog is active, enthusiastic and works hard, requiring regular exercise and mental stimulation. The breed has plenty of stamina and endurance for sporting activities, and it loves to wade and swim. The dog’s exercise requirements make living in a house with a fenced yard a better option than residing in an apartment. Irish water dogs get along with children. It can get along with other household pets if it is introduced and raised with them from an early age. Irish water spaniels bark minimally, but they are alert watchdogs. The breed is intelligent and easily trained by an owner that is ready to take the alpha lead.

Irish water spaniels can be stubborn.

This is an enthusiastic dog breed that loves to exercise. Whether it is swimming, running or playing, the Irish Water Spaniel will do it happily. This dog needs a lot of exercise and needs to be able to run every day. It can stubborn at times, but has a good sense of humor and likes to goof around. It is good with children, but some can be shy. It's reserved towards strangers but good with other dogs.

Appearance

Shedding
Moderate
Grooming
Medium Maintenance

The thick, curly coat of an Irish water spaniel sheds minimally, but it mats easily. The coat should be thoroughly combed out every other day to prevent the hair from tangling and forming mats. To maintain a manageable coat and neatly coiffed appearance, a professional groomer should trim the coat every six or eight weeks. When the dog has been hunting, hiking or swimming, the coat should be combed or rinsed to remove brush, burrs, salt and chlorine.

Make home dental care part of the regular grooming routine by brushing the teeth to prevent tartar accumulation and periodontal disease.

Once a week, inspect the ears. Clean them if they appear dirty and keep them dry to minimize the chances of developing an ear infection.

Breed's Talents and Facts

Training
Moderately easy
  • The spirited Irish water spaniel is the oldest spaniel breed
  • Once a popular hunting dog, the Irish water spaniel is now a rarely seen family companion
  • The Irish water spaniel originated in Ireland
  • The Irish water spaniel is also known as an IWS and a whiptail
  • The happy Irish water spaniel is one of the oldest of the spaniel breeds
  • The Irish water spaniel stands 21 to 24 inches tall and weighs 45 to 68 pounds
  • Irish water spaniels have moderate energy levels
  • Irish water spaniels require moderate grooming
  • The average lifespan for an Irish water spaniel is 12 to 15 years

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Common Health Conditions in Irish Water Spaniels

The average life expectancy for an Irish water spaniel is 12 to 15 years. There are a few health conditions that have been noted in the Irish water spaniel, including epilepsy, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and distichiasis.

Irish Water Spaniel Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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