Irish Water Spaniel Breed Information

Irish Water Spaniel   

The Irish Water Spaniel has a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years.

The Irish Water Spaniel emerged in southern Ireland in the late 1100s as a cross of the South Country Water Spaniel and the North Country Water Spaniel. The Irish Water Spaniel was developed to be a hunting dog, used extensively for flushing and retrieving waterfowl.

Over time, numerous versions of the Irish Water Spaniel were created. In the 1830s, a sportsman named Justin McCarthy took it upon himself to refine the breed and develop one, distinct type. One of his dogs, named Boatswain, is credited as the foundation for all modern Irish Water Spaniels.

The Irish Water Spaniel weighs 45 to 65 pounds and measures 21 to 24 inches.

Grooming Needs
The Irish Water Spaniel has a low-shedding, liver-colored double coat. The Irish Water Spaniel’s body is covered by thick, crisp curls while their top knot is accented by long, loose curls. The Irish Water Spaniel should be brushed every few weeks, bathed occasionally and trimmed every two months.  

Like all dogs, the Irish Water Spaniel also needs basic grooming. Brush their teeth, clean their ears and trim their nails on a regular basis.  

The Irish Water Spaniel is energetic and fun-loving.

The Irish Water Spaniel has lots of enthusiasm for work and play. The Irish Water Spaniel is a determined hunter in the water and a devoted companion in the home. The Irish Water Spaniel loves to be with their family and included in all of their activities. They have a charming, clownish demeanor and maintain a puppy mentality longer than some other breeds.

Irish Water Spaniels tend to be reserved with strangers and make good watchdogs. They notice everything around them and are protective of their loved ones. Irish Water Spaniels are friendly, but tend to take time to warm up to new people and situations.

Training Needs
The Irish Water Spaniel is eager to please and fairly easy to train as long as they have a firm, consistent leader. The Irish Water Spaniel will not respond to a handler that is too soft or passive. They are highly intelligent and tend to bore easily, and do best with short, varied sessions. Once trained in the basics, Irish Water Spaniels can go on to participate in agility, obedience and tracking.

As part of their training, Irish Water Spaniels should also have plenty of early socialization. They can be shy and timid around new people as well as aggressive with other dogs if not well socialized.  

Activity Level
The Irish Water Spaniel is highly energetic and active, most definitely not a dog for couch potatoes. The Irish Water Spaniel thrives on regular activity in the form of long walks, swims, hikes or games of fetch. However, any hard exercise must wait until the Irish Water Spaniel has reached 18 months of age. Before that time, their bones and joints are too delicate to withstand vigorous activity. For puppies, a daily walk and regular, supervised playtime are enough to meet their exercise needs.  

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