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Irish Water Spaniel

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniels have a double coat. It is usually a medium to dark shade of liver with a purple tint. The outer coat should have dense, tight ringlets and the undercoat should be dense and soft. The hair has a natural oiliness and the topknot hangs down to protect the eyes. The large head should have a domed skull with a long, strong muzzle and a gradual stop. The almond shaped eyes are small and dark brown. The oval shaped, low set ears are covered with curls and hang close to the cheeks. The strong jaw has teeth that meet in a scissor-like bite and the nose is large. The arched neck should be strong and fuse into powerful sloping shoulders. The short, broad back should be level and the loin profound and wide. The narrow chest is deep and should have a barrel-shaped rib cage. The straight forelegs should be well-boned. The powerful hindlegs should have low set hocks, well-angulated stifles and sit slightly higher than the shoulders. The large feet are webbed assisting them with swimming. The short, low set tail should be straight, thicker at the root and taper to a fine point.

Temperament Irish Water Spaniels are lively, bold, cheerful, confident, and have a great sense of humor. They are generally easy-going but can be slightly willful and stubborn. They are devoted and affectionate towards their owners and get along well with children. They must be well socialized as well as introduced to cats and other pets at an early age. They are generally a one-family dog and may have a difficult time adjusting to multiple owners. They are a quiet breed, but wary around strangers and will bark to warn their family of the visitor. Irish Water Spaniels are excellent swimmers and have a keen sense of smell. They may also drool and slobber.
Height, Weight Height: 20-23" ; Weight: 45-65 lbs.
Health Problems The Irish Water Spaniel is prone to hypothyroidism, eye entropion and ear infections.
Living Conditions These Spaniels do best in the suburbs or the country as they love to be outdoors. They do best with a medium-sized yard.
Exercise Irish Water Spaniels have lots of energy and need lots of regular exercise as well as an occasional swim.
Life Expectancy About 10-12 years
Grooming The IWS needs to be brushed twice per week so as to prevent matting. Professional grooming is necessary with this breed. This breed sheds little or no hair so it is usually good for allergy sufferers.
Origin Documentation concerning Water Dogs has been found in ancient Persian manuscripts dating to 4000 BC. However, there are no known records dating the ancestral origins of the Irish Water Spaniels. There are several theories on how this breed was developed, one being that they were developed in early Ireland and descended from Poodle/Irish Setter or Poodle/Curly-Coated Retriever. Another theory is that they were descended from various breeds brought to Ireland from Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian fishermen. The only record indicating the breed was a dog name Boatswain. His owner Justin McCarthy was born in Dublin in 1834. Today's Irish Water Spaniels can trace their lineage back to Boatswain. This breed was used in upland games and retrieving due to their daring retrievals in frigid waters. During the 1800s, they were popular in the United States for duck hunting until the Labrador Retriever replaced them. Irish Water Spaniels are considered a rare breed and classified as a Retriever with the AKC. They are recognized by both the AKC and the UKC.
Group AKC Sporting, UKC Gun Dog