The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest and one of the oldest spaniels. It is also a very rare breed of gun dog in the United Kingdom and the United States. Their unique curly coat enables them to work in cold weather but, requires a good deal of care and has contributed to the decline in popularity of this breed
Devoted and fun-loving, they makes a great pet. Good with children and a capable guard dog, these dogs are perfect for active families who can spend a bit of time on grooming.
Height: 20-23 inches
Weight: 45-65 pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 years.
They is the largest of the spaniels. The muzzle is long, square and powerful and the long ears are covered with curls. The body is sturdy in contrast to the very thin, whip-like tail. Webbed feet assist in swimming.
The most distinctive feature of them is its dense, curly coat that comes in a purple-brown hue. The curls cover the entire body of the dog except for the face and the long, rat-like tail. A dense undercoat helps insulate the dog even in the coldest of weather. The coat does not shed but does require a lot of grooming as it can tend to mat.
Using in the Field
The Irish Water Spaniel is an all around gun dog ideal for hunting waterfowl and upland birds. It is considered to be a flushing dog that can retrieve, but will not point. This rare dog is prized by hunters who enjoy hunting around water as they can swim in any weather, are small enough to sit in a rowboat, but large enough to assert strength in the field.
They are very quick to learn and it is important to keep the dog active in the field. Excellent swimmers, they have considerable stamina and drive, and a very good nose. Their clownish attitude makes them entertaining in the field.
The non-shedding, hypoallergenic coat of this breed makes these dogs an excellent choice for families. They get along very well with children and with other pets. They make very good family dogs and can be trained to guard and protect as well. The Irish Water Spaniel is a quiet dog that will bark only when necessary, but when they do it is a deep and fierce bark.
These dogs are very athletic and need a long, brisk walk or job every day. An ideal home will include a clean, safe river or lake for swimming and retrieving.
As the name implies, the Irish Water Spaniel hails from Ireland. No records were left by Justin McCarthy who developed the breed but it is believed that the Water Spaniel, Portuguese Water Dog and the Barbet were involved.
This breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878.