Irish Water Spaniel

History

It is said that the Irish Water Spaniel dates back for well over a thousand years. A real multi-purpose dog, this breed was used by fishermen in water and hunters on land. Their soft mouths are perfect for retrieving game from the shoot and fish from the water. They have webbed feet and are powerful swimmers.

The exact genetic make up of this breed is unknown, though it is thought that they are made up of Land Spaniels, Poodles and the Portugese Water Dog. They are the largest out of all the Spaniel breeds and are considered quite rare, even in their home country of Ireland.

Behaviour

The Irish Water Dog will make a great pet, happy to get involved with all aspects of family life. They dislike being left alone for long amounts of time, so maybe not the ideal breed for a family always at work/school. They are calm around children and seem to get on well with other household pets. They may be wary of strangers at first, but early socialization will help them with this. They are rarely aggressive towards other people. They’ll often look to you for reassurance of people entering the house. If it’s ok with you, it’s ok with them.

Training should be consistent and firm,yet also loving and friendly. They will learn quickly and enjoy pleasing you. This being said, they have to be shown who is boss or they may try and take the title for themselves. They can be mischievous when young, but they will soon learn what they can and can’t do. They enjoy working. Agility, obedience training and tracking are all good ways to keep this dog’s mind active and prevent boredom.

As their name would suggest, these dogs are big fans of the water and will love every second they spend in it. Swimming makes for great exercise and should be done as often as possible with this breed. You won’t have to make any special efforts in order for them to go take a swim, in fact most of the time they’ll be in the water before you’ve even noticed that they’ve left your side. Recall in these dogs is good unless water is involved.

This breed requires long walks each day, meaning they make good jogging partners. You will struggle to ever fully tire them out as they have vast amounts of stamina. Ideally they need an owner who spends a lot of time outdoors to help keep this breed physically and mentally stimulated. All this being said, some are complete couch potatoes that will just want to sleep all day.

Their curly coat requires attention by brushing every few days to prevent tangles. The odd brush to remove any burrs plus clipping every few months. They tend not to shed hair. Their tail and faces have much shorter fur than the rest of their bodies.

Their long ears make them more prone to ear infections, the chances of them catching an infection are even higher if they spend a lot of time in the water.

Health Problems

Canine Hip Dysplasia is also sometimes seen in this breed.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
  • Weight: 44 - 64 lbs
  • Height: 20 - 23"
  • Rare: No

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