Irish Water Spaniel Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- Irish water Spaniels are compact and well built dogs with a dense curly coat. Their coat sheds very little making them good dogs for those with allergies. They are one of the largest and oldest breeds of spaniel and are also fairly rare. The most distinguishing characteristic of the Irish Water Spaniel is the coat. The majority of the body is covered with tight ringlets of hair, the tail, face, and ends of the rear legs have smooth short hair. The coat is crisp in texture and solid brown in color with a curly outer coat is lined with a dense under coat that serves as insulation from frigid water. To cover and protect the eyes a top-knot of curls hangs down from the head. Being tallest of all the Spaniels, IWSs are well-balanced dogs and the only breed of spaniel not to have a customarily docked tail, which gives rise to another favourite nickname - “Whiptail”. They are upstanding, strongly built, compact dogs that move freely, soundly and cover the ground with good reach and drive.
- Other Names:IWS, Whiptail
- Country Of Origin:Ireland
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Gundog
- Liver/puce with a purple hue.
- Versatile and active, the Irish Water Spaniel is a gentle dog that can be shy around strangers. They need plenty of exercise and particularly enjoy swimming. Irish Water Spaniels are highly intelligent, confident, and devoted. They demand attention and are a "whole family" dog. This is a breed that truly enjoys human contact. They are best suited for families with older considerate children. If properly introduced, they will get along well with other pets. They are generally quiet and bark only when necessary. The Irish Water Spaniel is protective, reserved, and wary with strangers, however, they are not aggressive. This breed displays a joyous exuberance and zest for life.
- Irish Water Spaniels have a rolling motion and a free and sound gait.
- Care and training:
- This breed is high maintenance and requires extensive grooming. To prevent matting they must be brushed daily. Regular professional trimming of the coat is an absolute must. Bathing should only be done when necessary using a mild shampoo to protect the natural oil of the coat. Because of the density and curl in their coats, ticks and fleas can remain unnoticed. After a thorough combing, they should either be washed or allowed to swim which puts the curl back into their coats.
With a desire to please, the Irish Water Spaniel is capable of learning a great deal. However, they can be independent and stubborn. Early socialization and obedience are recommended. Irish Water Spaniels respond best to firm, fair, and consistent training methods. They quickly become bored with repetition, so short varied sessions are ideal. It is important that family members establish leadership or this breed will refuse commands.Although being slow to mature, formal training should not be approached until about 18-24 months of age. Whilst they learn quickly, consistency plays a large part in their training.
- Overall Exercise:
- 60 - 80 minutes per day.
A fun-loving breed, IWSs have tremendous stamina and are natural water and wetland athletes and will take all the exercise on offer. A high-energy breed that needs both mental and physical stimulation, with a minimum of two, forty minute walks daily.
- Feeding Requirements:
- The average cost for feeding is £10 per week.
- Personal Protection:Medium
- Suitability As Guard Dog:Medium
- Level of Aggression:Low
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Medium
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:4-12
- Life Expectancy (yrs):12
- Health issues:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia, and thyroid problems. Other health concerns include coat and skin problems, seizures, sensitivity to sulfa drugs, and food allergies.
- The Irish Water Spaniel was thought by a historian named Hugh Dalziel to be the progenitor of all the other forthcoming spaniels. This theory, however, contradicts the history of this breed. It is believed that the Irish Water Spaniel is the survivor of two other breeds found in Ireland: the North Country Water Spaniel, with a smaller body and parti-colored with a wavy coat, and the other being the South Country Water Spaniel, being larger with a curly coat. These two were thought to have come from, judging by appearance, the Poodle and the Curly-Coated Retriever. Some think the Portuguese Water Dog had something to do with the Irish Water Spaniel as well. The two North and South breeds met and bred, and the result was known as the Irish Water Spaniel. This specific breed, the Irish Water Spaniel, was said to have appeared in the 1830s from a dog by the name of “Boatswain”, born in 1834. Boatswain was owned by a man named Justin McCarthy, who never revealed the ingredients of his pup. McCarthy is probably most credited with the development of the breed. Bred as a water-bird retriever, they were officially recognized in England in 1859.