This is definitely one of the oldest of all Spaniel breeds we know today, but because the Irish Water Spaniels history is so long, it is quite hard to trace it properly. According to the official FCI breed standard it is Generally it is thought that Water Spaniels evolved from dogs that originated in Persia and came to Ireland via Spain. It is believed that this breed existed as early as the 7th century and the breeds name Irish Water Spaniel was used since 12th century.
The modern Irish Water Spaniel we know today is not that old though and it was developed in Ireland in 1830s. It is unknown from which other breeds the Irish Water Spaniels were developed, because the father of the breed, mr. Justin McCarthy left no breeding records. It is believed, that they are somehow related to Northern and Southern Water Spaniels, English Water Spaniels, Poodles, Barbets and Portuguese Water dogs.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a versatile and adaptable hunter. As their name suggest, they are great in water and indeed, they do make perfect water retrievers. But they can be easily used to hunt game on land as well. And thanks to their loving personality, they make excellent companion dogs as well.
It is probably not surprising that these dogs just love swimming, they are just made for it. Irish Water Spaniels will probably plunge into any nearby body of water if given half a chance. And you should let them swim from time to time, they will be totally happy. This dog is just made for water, with their doublelayered, water resistant coat and webbed feet and hairless tail which acts like a rudder in the water.
5) Family companion
This breed is most often described as lively, playful, intelligent, devoted and alert. Overall, they are good companions for active people who will provide them with good ammount of exercise. Generally they are good partners for kids, but you should always monitor the situation between a dog and a young child. Sometimes, they can try to hunt smaller household pets, but they can be trained and socialized to live with almost all the other pets, including dogs, cats or even rodents.
As i already mentioned earlier in the video, this is a smart dog and they have naturally eager to please personality. This is relatevily easy to train dog, they definitely get new commands quickly, but sometimes they can be little bit headstrong, so patient and firm training is definitely needed. They also have naturally alert and suspicious temperament towards strangers, so if you have a lot of visits, proper early socialization with strangers is needed as well.
Over the time, the Irish Water Spaniel got many nicknames. Two of them are Rat Tail Spaniels and Whiptail Spaniels. Those are describing the hariless tail. Than they are known as Bog Dogs or Shannon Spaniels. Sometimes they are also called as Clown of all Spaniels, which is most likely because of their energetic, playful and boisterous personality.
The most distinctive feature of this breed is definitely its curly coat. Great facts about the coat is, that it is low to no shedding and that it good for most people with allergies. The only accepted color is liver. White on chest is objectionable. The neck, back, sides and rear are densely covered with tight, crisp ringlets. On the other hand the face and the tail are entirely smooth coated.
This is a strong and athletic dog and it is marked as the tallest of all Spaniels. The average height should be between 53-61 cm which is 21-24 inch and weight is typically between 20-30 kg, which is 55-65 pounds. Females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
The average lifespan of the Irish Water Spaniel is between 10-12 years. They major health concerns are hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, entropion and eye problems. There are also reports claiming, that this breed is sensitive to certain drugs and vaccinations. You should watch your IWS carefully after any vaccination or antiparasitic and antibiotic drugs and in case of anything unusual call your veterinarian. Signs of something bad is happening including tremors, lethargy, swelling, hives or hypersalivation.