BaxterBoo Blog
April 23, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Irish Water Spaniel

main image

Overview:

  • Height: 20"- 23”
  • Weight: 45-65 pounds
  • Historical function: Both upland game and waterfowl hunting
  • Modern function: Companion, hunting
  • AKC classification: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The Irish Water Spaniel, also known as the Whiptail, or IWS, is the largest and one of the oldest spaniel breeds. The IWS is easily recognized by the unique liver-colored densely curled coat and nearly bare "rat" tail. The liver coat has definite purple undertones, unlike any other breed. This dog also features a topknot of long, loose curls which often cover the eyes, a "beard" growing at the neck as well as occasional "sideburns." The facial hair is smooth. He is sturdily built and an exceptional swimmer with webbed feet. The chest is deep but narrow.

History of the Breed:

The Irish Water Spaniel is an ancient breed though the exact lineage is unclear. The modern IWS resembles the various water spaniels of the southern regions of Ireland. Speculations of contributing breeds abound including the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Spaniel, the Barbet, and even the old-style Afghan Hounds. The modern IWS was championed by Justin McCarthy from Dublin in 1859 who was successful in fixing the breed's type, though he kept no breeding records.

Temperament:

The Irish Water Spaniel makes an excellent family and field dog. He is good with children and other pets, though socialization with non-canine pets is required from an early age with the hunting instinct. Due to their high intelligence and athleticism, it is important to engage this breed in both mental and physical exercise to have a well-adjusted, happy, well-behaved pet. Highly trainable and eager to please. Is known for being entertaining in solving problems in creative and clownish ways. Does well with a job, whether hunting or participating in agility. Appreciates the opportunity to swim both for fun and to keep the curly ringlets looking good.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to give this dog a job. Loves to be a hunting companion or work in agility.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers to have regular physical and mental challenges. Because this dog loves the outdoors, does best in the suburbs with a good-size yard or on acreage.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The curly coat requires combing to the skin once a week to prevent mats and remove any debris. Check the ears regularly. Expose the dog to water to maintain the ringlets. Trim the coat to refine the shape. Has minimal dander and shedding.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia, eye and ear problems, and hypothyroidism.

Breed Club Links: Irish Water Spaniel Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Dog Agility Starter Kit, Dog Swimming Pool

Have any stories about a Irish Water Spaniel? Please share!

What do you think?

Name:
You are not logged in.
This entry was posted by Mary.

Recent Articles

article image

October 23, 2017

Think You Can’t Have a Dog? Think Again!

Many people who would love to have a dog think they can’t. But still they long for one. Maybe they grew up with a beloved dog and desperately miss not having one. Maybe they’ve never had a dog, but see how happy their friends are who have


article image

October 22, 2017

Thirteen Steps to Preparing Your Pets for Cold Weather

  All around the country, the leaves are falling and people are pulling out their long sleeves and cozy blankets. As you prepare your home for the cooler weather, make sure you spend some time thinking about how your pet will be affected by the


article image

October 21, 2017

8 Ways a Dog Makes Your Life Better

  If you are a dog lover, you can’t imagine living without one. You also can’t imagine how anyone else could live without one either. Don’t they realize that they are missing one of the true joys of life? Don’t they know


Subscribe to

Baxter's Backyard!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Site & Contents © BaxterBoo.com®. BaxterBoo is located in the United States.

Transaction Processing
Baxter Boo is a BBB Accredited Business. Click for the BBB Business Review of this Pet Supplies & Foods - Retail in Centennial CO