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Irish Water Spaniel Breed Summary

Energetic, Intelligent, Adoring, Devoted and Happy

These doggies are a fairly ancient breed and are also one of the tallest Spaniels of all! It's thought that they were originally bred to retrieve water fowl as well as other game in challenging mash-land terrains. They also have a lovely dark liver coat, made up of tight ringlets which covers the entire body!

Additionally, they have lovely personalities, being kind and affectionate in nature! They also have a great sense of humour and are a comical joy to be around. On top of this, they are very adaptable, happy just as much chilling out at home as they are in the field!

Fun Fact: Often these doggies are used as 'detectors' for the police due to their fantastic scenting abilities!

Kennel Club Group Gundog
Lifespan 9 - 15 years
Height (at the withers) Males 53 - 58 cm, Females 51 - 56 cm at thewithers
Weight Males 25 - 30 kg, Females 20 - 26 kg
Coat Coats consist of a Mass of Tight and Dense Ringlets that Coves Most of their Bodies. Coats are also Oily to the Touch.
Colour Liver, Liver Puce
Eye colour Medium Brown or Dark Brown
Common health issues Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Eye Scheme, Cancer, Thrombocytopaenia, Addison’s Disease, Cushing’s Disease, Diabetes Mellitus
Other Names IWS, Whiptail, Shannon Spaniel, Rat Tail Spaniel, Bog Dog

Irish Water Spaniels absolutely love 'hoomans'. In fact, their one great desire in life is to please their owners! They form very strong bonds with their families and for this reason don't enjoy being left on their own for too long. If this happens, it can result in them developing separation anxiety which can lead onto destructive behaviour. For this reason, they therefore need someone to be around most of the day to give them all the love and attention that they deserve. Additionally, they are very active doggies and would best suit a family who already lead an active lifestyle that they can easily slot into. They will need lots of training and mental stimulation but for a family that have had experience with similar breeds, they will make a fantastic pet with the potential to provide you with years of joy!

These cute doggies have a very ancient history behind their tails and are thought to date back to 4,000 BC, in Persia, where they were originally known as 'Water Dogs'. However, the first reference to the 'Irish Water Spaniel' was in Ireland during the mid 1800's. But some believe that the breed came from abroad, potentially France, Italy or Spain, via fishermen who bough their dogs with them to Ireland! In fact, the ancestry of the breed can be traced back to just one dog called Boatswain, owned by Justin McCarthy in the 1800's. They became particularly popular in the early 1860's after an exhibition in Birmingham and soon become highly prized dogs across most of England and Ireland. This is because they are extremely good hunting doggies. Even today, the breed remain a popular choice as family pets, additionally as therapy and detector doggies as well!