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Irish Water Spaniel… Everything That You Need to Know at a Glance!

Now the thing about these guys is that you really don’t have to see them run around or splashing in the water to realize see why they’re often called a clever clown dog!

After all…

The just seem to have somewhat of a silly expression about them which makes you just want to join in on all the fun that they seem to be having.  Especially if you enjoy doing their two favorite things which is slashing around in the water and showing off a bit.

Or in other words…

These guys don’t like taking the “backstage” in life.  Instead, they like to use their sense of hum and mischievous ways to keep the action going and keep from getting bored.

And while…

Technically he is called a spaniel, at his core he is really a water retriever. A water retriever that is super energetic and always playful.  He’s also a very big dog, in fact the Irish Water Spaniel is one of the biggest retrievers in terms of size. And even though he was originally bred as a water retriever, but these days he is more of a family dog.

But will an…

Irish Water Spaniel be the right dog for you?  That’s the real question and one that we hope to help you answer in this here article.  Because the last thing that we here at IndulgeYourPet want to see happen is for someone to decide to adopt an Irish Water Spaniel puppy or a rescue dog only to realize that it’s not going to be a good fit later on.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Irish Water Spaniel Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Ireland

Original Purpose:  Water retrieval

Height: 21 to 24 inches tall

Weight: 45 to 65 pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 12 years

Dog Breed Classification: Sporting Group

Origin of the Irish water Spaniel

There is a very good chance that that Irish Water Spaniel (IWS) may be one of the oldest “spaniel” dog breeds in existence, and like all ancient dog breeds, understanding their true origin can be a bit challenging.

This is because…

There are often may “competing” theories about when and where they first “evolved”.  What we can tell you is that it seems like this dog been has been in and around Ireland since at least the 1100’s and that by the mid 1600’s it co-existed with several other Spaniels native to Ireland including the Southern Irish Spaniel or the McCarthy’s Spaniel which is credited by may for being the forefather of today’s modern IWS.

You see…

The modern day IWS was developed by a breeder by the name of Justin McCarthy. McCarthy was very secretive about how he bred the dog. As a result, there is a lot of mystery about the origins of the Irish Water Spaniel breed.

Experts suggest…

That the IWS was bred from crossing either the Poodle or the Barbet with the much bigger Portuguese Water dog breed that were brought to Ireland by Portuguese fishermen.

Either way…

Once folks got a look at the IWS and saw how well they did in field trials, such as those held Birmingham in 1862 they quickly became quite popular and began popping up throughout the UK.

That said…

However, these guys really made their mark as hunting dog, not as a sports dog or a show dog. Which is why we they finally made their way to the US in the late1800’s they were an instant hit within the hunting community which is probably why they were quickly “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as early as in 1884. There’s even an Irish Water Spaniel Club in the United States.

Strangely though….

These guys haven’t ever really been able to gain too much popularity outside of certain hunting organizations because the IWS hasn’t ever really caught on in the USA. It’s hard to tell why, but perhaps it has to do with the fact that he can be very stubborn at times and is not easy to train – especially for first-time dog owners.

Physical Characteristics

The Irish Water Spaniel is a “biggish” dog, much bigger than most spaniels or retrievers. But beyond just being big, he’s also quite bulky for a spaniel as well.  Particularly if you get a big one because their size can vary form 45 all the way up to 65 pounds.

They also have…

A long, deep, square muzzle, deep chest and a powerful body. He has a dark nose, long ears and high hindquarters.

Plus…

Like most water retrievers, he has webbed feet, a curly outer coat and a dense undercoat. This protects him from cold water. Needless to add, he is a very good swimmer. He can swim for hours without getting tired.

Comparison Dog Breeds

The Irish Water Spaniel may be compared to other popular dog breeds such as Curly-Coated Retriever, American Water Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Springer Spaniel, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Bull Terrier, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Golden Retriever, French Bulldog, Fox Terrier, Chinese Shar-Pei, Bernese Mountain Dog, Siberian Husky, Lagotto Romagnolo, Basset Hound, German Shepherd, Welsh Corgi, Border Collie and Shiba Inu.

Personality

According to AKC, the Irish Water Spaniel displays great intelligence combined with rugged endurance. He is a very brave and courageous dog, and always eager to impress.

They’re also…

Quite inquisitive by nature and always exploring things and people. He gets fascinated by every new thing he sees or person he meets. He is a very playful dog and it is always good to have him around.

The IWS is very loyal

He loves his human family and is protective of the kids in particular. However, he may not be the right choice for first-time dog owners. He is not appropriate for the city life either.

The Irish Water Spaniel is better suited to life in the countryside where he can move around freely and get as much exercise as he needs.

But be warned…

The IWS does not like to be teased or ignored by his human family. That’ why he is probably not appropriate for a house with small children – You know how kids are like! And in some cases, the IWS dog breed has been known to snap at a child that tries to mount him or pull his tail.

Irish Water Spaniel Health Issues

The Irish Water Spaniel is generally a healthy dog and has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. However, like other spaniels and retrievers, he is susceptible to certain genetic disorders and health problems such as…

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Follicular Dysplasia

And while…

Neither of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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