Dog Breeds

Irish water spaniel

Irish water spaniel is the largest of the spaniel family, a large dog with a characteristic curly, greasy, brown coat protecting his body from water. Cheerful, cheerful, always a bit “kiddy”, needs a lot of activity and movement. Easy to drive.


It can be seen at first glance that the Irish Water Spaniel is not a typical representative of spaniels – it rather resembles a poodle cross. This is not the only case of a misleading name. However, unlike, for example, the Tibetan spaniel, which is a decorative dog and has nothing to do with hunting breeds, the Irish Spaniel is a hunter with a full mouth!

Irish water spaniel


The breed was bred to fetch birds. Its representatives worked in muddy, swampy areas and on rivers. These dogs can adapt to different conditions. They have a great sense of smell, which is why they are trained to detect drugs and explosives. Their love of water has remained to this day – they won’t let even a muddy puddle pass.

Irish water spaniel. Training and education

These energetic, fun-loving quadrupeds must be able to run free, they also love to retrieve. Joyful disposition does not bother them being balanced, which, however, is fully visible after reaching puberty (in comparison with many other breeds it is relatively late).

Adolescence can be quite difficult, especially in the case of males – they can be stubborn and unruly. Therefore, they require a firm but gentle approach and a lot of patience.

Generally willing to learn spaniels do not like to repeat the same exercises many times. They can use intelligence in their own interests if they sense that they can afford it. Therefore, especially a young representative of this breed can not be let loose, because it comes to our heads. For these reasons, the Irish Spaniel is not recommended as the first dog.

An experienced person should not have any special problems with his arrangement. However, even trained hunting dogs at work can be fun, which has given the breed a reputation as a clown.

Irish water spaniel

Irish spaniels like to be around people, they are charming family companions and children’s games. Get along well with dogs and other pets. They show distrust towards strangers, which makes them watch well (usually they do not show aggression). One should not forget about socialization at a young age, so that they do not become fearful.

Who is this race for?

The Irish Spaniel is a great companion not only for the hunter, but it is not recommended to inexperienced owners.

Irish water spaniel. Advantages and disadvantages


  • sometimes unruly and stubborn
  • it matures for a long time
  • requires careful socialization
  • has a strong hunting instinct
  • on a long coat brings a lot of mud and rubbish


  • joyful, willing to play and cooperate
  • a good companion to children
  • It doesn’t molt
  • good hunter’s helper
  • alert but not an aggressive watchman


The Irish Water Spaniel enjoys good health and is resistant to changing weather conditions. In addition to ear infections, there are dysplasia and eyelid problems.

Irish water spaniel


Most representatives of this breed have an excellent appetite, so you should control the amount of food that you feed so that the dog does not gain weight.


An Irish Water Spaniel is a good pet for an allergy sufferer because it almost doesn’t molt. For this, his coat requires regular care, because it can be felt. You have to comb it once a week and trim it every 6-10 weeks. The show dog’s coat requires a little more attention. Preparing it for the show is not very difficult, but it is better to entrust it to an experienced person.

All plants attach to the spaniel’s hair. That is why, especially in spring and summer, paws and ears should be carefully inspected after each walk. Deaf ears also have a tendency to become infected, they should be checked for this, especially after swimming.

Irish water spaniel. History

The roots of the breed reach deeply, but the first mention of it comes from the 1830s, when the planned breeding began. It is not known, however, what races make up her, because its creator Justin McCarthy did not leave any notes on this subject.

Irish water spaniel

Appearance suggests that in addition to old spaniels among the ancestors there is a representative of one of the probable breeds with curly hair – a poodle, Irish Water Dog or barb. Unlike them, the Irish Water Spaniel, however, has a short-haired muzzle and … tail. That is why the breed was also called a “rat tail” – although it is not bald like this rodent.

Irish water spaniel

The breed is most popular in Great Britain and the United States. The first dog came to Europe in 2007, and the next year a female joined him. Currently, only a few of them live in Europe, and the litter of this breed has not yet been with us.


Irish Spaniel – Group VIII FCI, Section 3, Model No. 124

  • Origin:  Ireland
  • Character:  intelligent dog, balanced, brave, willing to work, durable, very attached to the owner, distrustful of strangers
  • Size:  dogs 53-59-cm, bitches 51-56-cm
  • Weight:  dogs 25-30-kg, bitches 20-26-kg
  • Coat:  dense, oily, forming tightly curled rings; short hair only on the muzzle and facial part of the head, front of the neck and tail
  • Ointment:  liver (dark brown with brown pigmentation of the nose, lips and claws)
  • Lifespan:  approx. 10 years
  • Vulnerability to training:  high, but sometimes stubborn
  • Activity:  high; needs a lot of traffic but is not hyperactive
  • Immunity/susceptibility to diseases:  very resistant, although susceptible to ear infections; sometimes there is dysplasia and erection of eyelids

Interesting facts

The only similar cousin of the Irish Spaniel is the American Spaniel, much smaller than him. They are the only breeds with long, curly hair and short-haired mouth.

However, the American looks more like a typical spaniel and has a long tail hair. Solidly built, robust, with a sporty silhouette, the Irish is the largest of the spaniels.

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