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Irish Water Spaniel: Tips & Techniques for a Well Companion

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By Anna Grace

Are you looking for a furry friend that’s full of energy and loves to swim? Then consider the Irish Water Spaniel! 

In the world of canine companions, there’s one breed that’s as unique as its name is intriguing—the Irish Water Spaniel. With a history as rich and textured as its distinctive curly coat, these dogs have charmed their way into the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide.

But there’s more to this breed than just its striking appearance; it’s a breed that embodies the very essence of Ireland, with an exceptional blend of intelligence, playfulness, and an undeniable affinity for water. This unique and charming breed is known for its distinctive curly coat and love for the water. But there’s more to these pups than just their looks and swimming skills. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Irish Water Spaniels and discover what makes them so unique. Join us as we dive into the captivating world of the Irish Water Spaniel, where tradition meets tenacity, and each day brings adventure!

Vital Stats: Irish Water Spaniel

Certainly! Here are some vital stats for an Irish Water Spaniel in table form:

StatisticIrish Water Spaniel
Coat ColorLiver-colored (reddish-brown) curly, water-resistant coat
Weight55 to 75 pounds (25 to 34 kg)
Height21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 cm) at the shoulder
Lifespan10 to 12 years
TemperamentIntelligent, Alert, Energetic, Independent, Affectionate
Activity LevelHigh
Grooming NeedsHigh
Common UsesWater Retrieval, Hunting, Companion
Health ConcernsHip Dysplasia, Eye Problems, Skin Issues
Recognized BreedsRecognized as a distinct spaniel breed

Please note that these statistics are approximate averages and can vary among individual Irish Water Spaniels.

About the Breed

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The Irish was developed from various other breeds, including the Poodle. However, the  Water Irish Spaniel was initially bred to work as a hunting dog, especially for retrieving waterfowl. Therefore, Irish is a muscular breed with a strong neck and powerful hindquarters, making them excellent swimmers.

According to hillspetthe Irish water spaniel is ruggedly built to do the job of a hunting dog and also has webbed toes to aid in its powerful swimming. Powerful but not overly large, these dogs are well balanced. Males are 22 to 24 inches tall and weight 55 to 65 pounds, and females are 21 to 23 inches tall and weight 45 to 58 pounds. The breed is the tallest of all spaniels.

Similarly, they have webbed feet, which also aid in their swimming ability. The temperament of the Irish Water Spaniel is intelligent, independent, and loyal. They are familiar with being excellent problem solvers. 

So, they can be reserved with strangers but are generally good with children and other pets. They have a strong hunting instinct and love to swim.

First Appearance In the U.S.

The Irish Water Spaniel first appeared in the United States in the mid-19th century. Exact records of the initial arrivals are unclear, but it is believed that Irish immigrants brought these dogs when they came to America. By the late 1800s, the breed had gained recognition in the U.S. and was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1878.

Irish Water Spaniels quickly became appreciated for their hunting abilities and distinctive appearance. They played a significant role in waterfowl hunting, particularly in marshy areas. Today, they are cherished as hunting companions and beloved family pets in the United States, continuing to exhibit their remarkable skills and endearing personalities.

Historical Figure of Irish Water Spaniel

According to American Kennel Club, Irish Water Spaniel was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1878. No specific historical figure is associated with the Irish dog breed. However, Irish water has a long and interesting history that dates to the 1800s in Ireland. 

After that, the Irish Spaniel was developed from various other species, including the Poodle, English water spaniel, & several different types of water spaniels.

According to Wikipedia, The modern breed as we know it was developed in Ireland in the 1830s. It is unknown from which other Irish Water Spaniels breeds were developed. The first Irish Water Spaniels were shown in dog shows in the late 1800s. 

After that, the breed quickly gained popularity in Ireland and worldwide. In addition, the breed was recognized by the USA Kennel Club in 1878 and had a rare but beloved breed ever since.

Mucky Origin of the Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel’s origins trace back to Ireland, where it was bred as a versatile waterfowl hunting dog. 

It is believed to have descended from a mix of native Irish dogs and imported water spaniel and poodle breeds. This breed’s unique curly coat and exceptional swimming abilities made it an invaluable asset to hunters navigating Ireland’s wetlands and rivers. 

Over time, the Irish Water Spaniel evolved into the remarkable and beloved breed known today, admired for its skill, tenacity, and love for the water.

Characteristics of Irish Water Spaniel

Here are some of the most notable characteristics of the Irish Water Spaniel:


Similarly, the Irish Water Spaniel is a highly athletic breed that loves to swim and retrieve. Originally, breeders bred them as hunting dogs and they excelled at retrieving waterfowl.


The Irish Water Spaniel shows problem-solving abilities and experts acknowledge it as an intelligent breed. Above all, it learns quickly and responds well to training methods that use positive reinforcement.

Energy Level

The Irish Water Spaniel is an active breed that requires daily exercise and mental stimulation. Therefore, they love to swim and retrieve and excel at various water sports, such as dock diving and water retrieving.


The Irish Water Spaniel is a loyal and affectionate breed that bonds closely with its family. After that, they thrive on human interaction and need their owners’ attention and affection.

Independent Nature

Similarly, the Irish Water Spaniel displays loyalty to its family, but it is also independent. Due to their reputation for being strong-willed and occasionally stubborn, consistent training and positive reinforcement are essential.

Playful Personality

The Irish Water Spaniel is a playful and energetic breed that loves to have fun. In addition, they have a sense of humor and are always up for a good game or adventure.

Quick Fun Facts of Irish Water Spaniel

Here are some quick fun facts about the Irish Spaniel:

  1. The breed is familiar with its love of water and is an excellent swimmer. They were originally bred for hunting waterfowl in Ireland.
  2. Water Irish have a distinctive curly coat that is waterproof and requires regular grooming.
  3. The breed has a “rat tail” that is hairless and shaped like a whip. The dogtime stated that the Irish Water Spaniel is often mistaken for a large brown poodle because of his distinctive top knot and the curly hair that covers his body. 
  4. Irish Water Spaniels are one of the rarest dog breeds in the world, with fewer than 1,000 individuals estimate to exist worldwide.
  5. These puppies have webbed feet that help them to swim more efficiently.
  6. Irish Water Spaniels are loyal and affectionate towards their families despite their independence.
  7. The American Kennel Club recognizes the breed, and it has shown in dog shows worldwide since the late 1800s.
  8. Irish Water Spaniels are athletic and energetic and need regular exercise to stay healthy & happy.
  9. The breed has use for various jobs throughout history, include hunting dogs and circus performers. After that, even as military messenger dogs during World War II.

Markings of the Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is easily recognizable due to its distinctive appearance. It boasts a curly, water-resistant coat ranging in color from rich liver (brown) to a deep, dark chocolate shade. 

Their head features a characteristic topknot of loose curls, and their expressive eyes exude intelligence. Their long ears hang close to their cheeks, and their strong, muscular bodies are built for agility and endurance. A tapered, whip-like tail adds to their unique and elegant profile.

Appearance Of Irish Water Spaniel

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The Water Spaniel is a distinctive breed with a unique appearance. Their most striking feature is their curly, waterproof coat. However, their coat is composed of dense, tight curls that protect them from cold water and help keep them warm. 

Above all, they have a long, narrow head, long, drooping, hairy ears, and a prominent, square-shaped muzzle. Their eyes are dark and almond-shaped, and their tail is thick at the base and tapering to a fine point. 

In the other words, the Irish Water Spaniel is a sturdy, athletic-looking breed with a distinctive appearance.


Spaniel Rescue has a unique curly, dense, and waterproof coat. However, the coat is typically a solid liver or dark brown color. With a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat that helps to protect the dog while swimming. 

According to thesprucepetsthe Irish water spaniel is a medium-size sporting dog breed from Ireland that has a curly, medium-length coat that only minimally sheds. 

The texture of the coat is described as “poodle-like. Irish needs regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain its waterproof quality. Therefore, the Irish Water Spaniel coat is made up of tight curls.


Irish traits coat is typically a solid liver or dark brown color. According to the breed standard, the coat should be a rich liver color. However, some sloane Water Spaniels may have a small white patch on the chest or chin. 

The color of the coat is an important characteristic of Ireland size compared to our state and is a key element of the dog’s distinctive appearance. 


According to the breed standard, males should stand between 22 and 24 inches. However, at the shoulder. Females should stand between 21 and 23 inches at the shoulder. While the breed is medium to large.


Similarly, a water spaniel dog is a medium to large-sized dog that typically weighs between 45 & 68 pounds, depending on its gender and size. 

According to the breed, males should weigh between 55 and 68 pounds. However, females should weigh between 45 and 58 pounds.

Irish Water Spaniel as the National Dog

The Irish Water Spaniel is esteemed as Ireland’s national dog breed. This charismatic breed is known for its exceptional aquatic abilities and unwavering loyalty. It is a versatile hunting and retrieving dog, excelling on land and water. 

With its distinct curly coat and charming personality, the Irish Water Spaniel embodies the spirit of Ireland and its rich sporting traditions. This breed’s history and reputation have solidified its place as a cherished symbol of Irish heritage.

Temperament & Personality Of Irish Water Spaniel

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Spaniel water dog have a distinct temperament and personality that sets them apart from other dog breeds.


Irish Water Spaniels are intelligent and lively dogs with a strong, independent spirit. Therefore, their loyalty and devotion to their owners are well-known, and they develop close bonds with their families. 

Despite their sometimes stubborn nature, Irish Water Spaniels are eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement training. In addition, they are generally good with children and other pets if socialized properly.


Irish Water Spaniels exhibit a unique personality that combines a strong sense of independence with a loving, loyal nature. However, they are not generally aggressive and will only bark or growl to alert their owners of potential danger. 

Irish Water Spaniels require plenty of attention and interaction with their families to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Above all, they’re quick learners & are eager to please their owners. In addition, they are adaptable to various living situations.

Spaniel Stats at the Organizational Level

At the organizational level, the Irish Water Spaniel is recognized and supported by various canine associations and clubs, including the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America (IWSCA). 

These organizations tirelessly promote and preserve the breed’s unique qualities and heritage. They ensure that the Irish Water Spaniel thrives as a beloved and cherished breed worldwide through breed standards, competitions, and educational initiatives.

Space Requirements for Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniels are average to large-sized dogs that require a fair amount of space to thrive. While they can adapt to flat living with regular exercise, a spacious yard or access to open areas is ideal for them. These dogs are known for their love of water, so having a nearby lake, river, or pool can be a significant bonus for their physical and mental well-being. 

A securely fenced yard is necessary to keep them safe, as they can be adventurous and have a strong hunting instinct. Adequate indoor and outdoor space allows them to indulge in their natural swimming and retrieving instincts.

Food and Nutrition Of Irish Water Spaniel

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Water Ireland requires a healthy and balanced diet to maintain its active and energetic lifestyle. However, as a medium to large-sized breed, they need a diet high in protein. 

Irish spaniel hypoallergenic is important to choose a high-quality dog food appropriate for their age and activity level. In addition, feeding them a diet that is specifically formulated for medium.

Similarly, large breeds are recommended, as these diets is designed to meet their unique nutritional needs. It’s also recommended to supplement their diet with healthy snacks and treats. Overfeeding can lead to obesity & other health issues. 

So, water spaniel adopts me is important to monitor their food intake and adjust their diet accordingly. Moreover, these can be high in calories and may contain harmful ingredients to dogs.

Care & Grooming Of Irish Water Spaniel

Here are some tips to keep your Irish Water Spaniel looking and feeling their best:

Brushing and Combing: Irish Water Spaniels have a thick, curly coat that can quickly become matted if not properly groomed. In addition, regular brushing and combing will help prevent tangles and mats from forming. 

Bathing: Bathing your sloane Water Spaniel should be done every two to three months to keep their coat clean and healthy. However, be sure to use a dog-specific shampoo and conditioner, and thoroughly rinse out any product.

Trimming: Similarly, the hair around the ears, paws, and tail can grow long and become matted. Regular trimming of these areas will keep your dog comfortable and looking neat.

Nail Care: Regular nail trimming is essential to keep your Irish Water Spaniel’s paws healthy. Use a nail clipper designed for dogs, and avoid cutting the quick (the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels).

Dental Care: Dental hygiene is crucial for your dog’s overall health. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste, and consider offering dental chews to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Exercise: Irish Water Spaniels are an active breed that requires plenty of exercises to stay healthy and happy. Above all, regular walks, hikes, or swimming sessions will help keep your dog in good shape.

Health issues Of Irish Water Spaniel

Here are some health issues of Irish Water Spaniel:

  1. The Irish Water Spaniel is generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they are prone to specific health issues.
  2. The breed commonly experiences hip dysplasia, a condition where improper hip joint development causes pain and arthritis.
  3. Their lengthy, droopy ears make breeds susceptible to ear infections as they can retain moisture and bacteria.
  4. Hypothyroidism affects Irish Water Spaniels too, leading to tiredness, weight gain, skin issues due to an inadequate thyroid hormone production.
  5. The breed can develop eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can ultimately result in blindness.
  6. Irish Water Spaniels can also be prone to allergies and skin sensitivities, which can cause itching, rashes, and skin infections.
  7. Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, poses a life-threatening risk if left untreated as the stomach fills with air and twists.

Lifespan Of Irish Water Spaniel

The average lifespan of Irish curls is around 10-12 years. However, some may live up to 15 years or more with proper care and nutrition. Regular veterinary check-ups, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercises can help ensure that an sloane Water Spaniel lives long and healthy. Like all breeds, Irish Water Spaniels can be prone to certain health issues that can affect their lifespans. 

Such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, and allergies. Spaniel temperament is important to work with a reputable breeder who screens. In addition, their breeding dogs for these and other health problems to help ensure the health and longevity of the breed.

Training Of Irish Water Spaniel

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When it comes to training, it is essential to start with basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come, which will provide a foundation for more advanced training. 

Therefore, positive reinforcement techniques, such as using treats and praise, are recommended as these dogs respond well to reward-based training. sloane Water Spaniels also require socialization to prevent them from becoming shy or aggressive towards strangers or other dogs.

Similarly, this can be achieved by exposing them to different environments, people, and animals from a young age. In addition to obedience training and socialization, these dogs also benefit from exercise and mental stimulation. 

Activities such as swimming, retrieving, and playing games such as hide-and-seek can help keep them physically and mentally healthy.

Suitable Accessories for Irish Water Spaniel

Water Toys: Given their affinity for water, toys designed for water play, like floating fetch toys, are a must-have for Irish Water Spaniels. These keep them engaged and provide excellent exercise.

Training Gear: Irish Water Spaniels are intelligent dogs that thrive on mental stimulation. Accessories like puzzle and treat-dispensing toys can keep them mentally engaged and prevent boredom.

Comfortable Bed: A comfortable bed or crate provides them with a cozy resting place indoors.

Leash and Collar: A sturdy leash and collar are necessary for outdoor walks and training sessions. Due to their strong swimming instinct, a reliable leash is vital near water bodies.

Life Vest: If you plan on taking your Irish Water Spaniel swimming in open water, a well-fitted dog life vest is a safety essential to ensure their safety.

Doggy Backpack: For those who enjoy hiking or long walks, a doggy backpack allows your Irish Water Spaniel to carry some of their supplies, making the outing more enjoyable and providing additional exercise.

Spaniel's Relationship With Kids

Irish Water Spaniels are known for their affectionate and playful nature, making them great companions for families with children. They have a patient disposition and often form strong bonds with kids. Their energy level matches well with active youngsters who enjoy playtime and outdoor activities. 

While their exuberance can sometimes lead to enthusiastic interactions, their gentle temperament makes them generally safe and loving companions for children of all ages. Proper socialization and supervision are essential to ensure a harmonious relationship between this breed and kids.

Rarity & Price Of Irish Water Spaniel

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The Irish Water Spaniel’s scarcity makes it pricey, costing between $1,500 to $3,500, and higher based on breeder and pedigree. 

When buying a water spaniel puppy, it’s important to consider the breeder’s reputation, experience, and certifications. Reputable breeders should be able to provide you with health certificates and genetic testing results. 

Additionally, they should allow you to visit their facilities. Meet the parents of your new puppy and observe their upbringing to make sure you can provide a suitable home. Therefore, it’s essential to research the water spaniel breed and its specific needs.

Rescue Groups for Adoption

If you’re interested in adopting an Irish Water Spaniel or supporting rescue efforts for this wonderful breed, several rescue organizations are dedicated to their welfare. Some of these rescue groups include:

  1. Irish Water Spaniel Rescue (IWSR): This organization specializes in rescuing and rehoming Irish Water Spaniels across the United States. They work diligently to find loving homes for dogs in need and offer resources for prospective adopters.
  2. Local Animal Shelters and Rescues: While specific breed rescue groups are a great option, checking local animal shelters and rescue organizations is worthwhile. Irish Water Spaniels or mixed breeds sometimes need loving homes through these channels.

When considering adoption, it’s essential to research and choose a reputable rescue organization or shelter that prioritizes the well-being of their animals. Adoption provides a loving home for a deserving dog and contributes to the breed’s overall welfare and preservation.

Pros & Cons Of Irish Water Spaniel

Like any other dog breed, the Irish has pros and cons that prospective owners should know before bringing one home. Here are some of the pros and cons of the Irish Water Spaniel:


  1. Irish Water Spaniels are very intelligent and easy to train. They are quick learners and excel in obedience training and other activities like agility and flyball.
  2. The breed has a unique curly hypoallergenic coat that sheds minimally, making them a good option for people with allergies.
  3. As the name suggests, Irish Water Spaniels are excellent swimmers and love to play in the water. They have webbed feet and a waterproof coat that helps them stay afloat.
  4. The Irish Water Spaniel is a loving and loyal breed that forms strong bonds with its family.


  1. While the curly coat is a plus for allergy sufferers, it requires a lot of maintenance. Regular grooming is necessary to keep the coat clean, tangle-free, and in good condition.
  2. The Irish Water Spaniel is an active breed requiring much exercise and mental stimulation. They may not be suitable for people who have a sedentary lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Question

American water spaniel club has a tightly curled, non-shedding coat that requires regular grooming. To prevent matting and maintain its water-repellent properties.

Mini Irish Water Spaniel is an active breed that requires regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Irish Water Spaniels are an intelligent breed. They are quick learners and excel in obedience agility courses.

Irish Water Spaniels have a tightly curled, non-shedding coat that is typically a solid liver color.

Irish water spaniel cost requires regular clipping every few months to maintain the shape of their coat and prevent matting.

Irish Water Spaniels may experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.

The rarest breed of Spaniel is the Clumber Spaniel, a heavy-boned and low-set breed with a distinctive white coat.

Irish Water Spaniels may bark to alert their owners to potential dangers, but they aren’t familiar to excessive barkers.

Irish Water Spaniels should trim by a professional groomer or an experienced owner clippers and scissors to maintain the shape of their coat and prevent matting.


Conclusively, the Irish Water Spaniel, a distinct and intriguing breed, has enamored countless dog enthusiasts across the globe. This breed’s curly coat, webbed feet, and intelligence make it a great hunting partner and a devoted and loving household member. Whether you’re searching for a pet or history, the Irish Water Spaniel is a remarkable breed that will impress you.

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