The Irish Water Spaniel!

Irish Water Spaniels have extraordinary webbed feet that greatly assist them in swimming. They have well boned, straight front legs with hind quarters as high or slightly higher than its shoulders. The Irish Water Spaniel has a curly, crisp-textured coat. They have a dense outercoat which lines the their curly outer coat –this helps insulate dogs even in the coldest weather. This breed is the largest of the spaniels and has a rather large head with an arched skull. Their face and tail have short hairs compared to the long curls of their body. Their dark eyes are protected by a top-knot of curls that hang from the head. They have deep chest which is rather narrow to allow free movement when swimming.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
10-12 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
Best in the suburbs or country. Needs a yard.

Normally quiet dogs

Exercise Needs:
Activities which require endurance.

Breed Group:


20 to 23 inches

45 to 65 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Solid brown

National breed club:
The Irish Water Spaniel Club of America

Irish Water Spaniel Skills

The Irish Water Spaniel probably descended from the Poodle and Irish Setter though there are still several theories about its origins. They have a reputation in England and Ireland for daring retrieves in cold water. They also became popular in the United States in the 1800’s for duck hunting before being replaced by the Labrador Retriever. This breed has the great combination of skill and ability that comes in handy whatever the weather and situation.

Irish Water Spaniel Personality

The Irish Water Spaniel’s personalities differ – some are timid, some are rather nervous, and some are suspicious. They sometimes refuse commands from family members who have not established leadership over them. They sometimes drool and slobber, but they can make up for it with their very good nose and by being excellent swimmers with considerable stamina and drive. Irish Water Spaniels only bark to warn the family and when absolutely necessary. They are usually quiet dogs that are reserved and protective especially around strangers. They get along okay with other pets as long as they are introduced at an early age. This breed is very intelligent, easy to train, and possess a great desire to please. Irish Water Spaniels are stubborn, independent, eager, bold, confident and capable of learning a great deal. Some are one-person dogs but most of them are family-loving dogs. They are generally easy-going and gentle but can be quite stubborn and have a mind of its own. This dog is devoted, mischievous, and fun-loving. Some can be good guard dogs but they are mostly fine working dogs in the field and obedience ring.

Exercise Needs

This breed has tremendous stamina. Irish Water Spaniels are hunting dogs who enjoy retrieving and long hours of swimming. They are always up an about and ready for a lengthy walk.

Living Conditions

Irish Water Spaniels need a lot of exercise and they just love the outdoors. This breed would do best in the suburbs or country. At the very least, they should have an average-sized yard to play in.

Grooming Requirements

Their coats tend to mat so a lot of care and tedious grooming is required. Trimming their coat is a must and should be done by a professional. These dogs are light shedders and perfect for those suffering from an allergy since they barely have dandruff.

Health Issues

Irish Water Spaniels are prone to hypo-thyroidism and eye entropion. Make sure they are checked for thyroid problems.

If you liked this dog… might also like the brown standard Poodle which looks a lot like the Irish Water Spaniel.

Irish Water Spaniel


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