Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

Pleple2000/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Irish Water Spaniel At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (Sporting); ANKC (Gundogs); CKC (Sporting); FCI (Water Dogs); KC (Gundog); UKC (Gun Dog)


Medium to Large. Weight: Males 55–65 lbs; Females 45–58 lbs Height: Males 21–24 inches; Females 20–23 inches


Thick and very curly.


Solid Liver

Life Span:

10 to 13 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

Irish Water Spaniels can be very stubborn but they are fairly easy to train.

Irish Water Spaniel Overview

The Irish Water Spaniel has been around for hundreds of years, however it didn’t become a popular breed until the mid 1800s. The dog, Boatswain, became the popular “father of the breed” and expanded the lines to what they are today. The breed is a popular waterfowl hunter, with a coat that protects even in the coldest water.


Irish Water Spaniel Characteristics

This breed sport a curly, water repellent coat that is thick and warm. They have an appearance similar to other water spaniel type dogs, such as the Portuguese Water Spaniel. Clownish in nature, the looks and personality of this breed of dog help to make him a loving and fun companion both working and at home.


Irish Water Spaniel Temperament

While slightly standoffish towards strangers, the breed is a loving friend to his family. He is intelligent and bold, but may have a stubborn streak if his work does no interest him. His high spirits and always playful nature makes them a beloved companion.

Yorkshire Terrier


Irish Water Spaniel Care

The average lifespan of this breed is 10 to 13 years, typical for dogs of similar size. A few breed concerns include hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism. While the breed has relatively few genetic disorders in the line, it is always a good idea to have routine veterinary and preventive care to help keep the dog healthy.


Irish Water Spaniel Coat

The coat looks similar to a Poodle’s, however it requires far less grooming such as clipping. Shedding is minor, however regular brushing and combing is a must to prevent mats from forming. Trimming may also be needed, though not as often or dramatically as with a Poodle.


Irish Water Spaniel Training

Even in spite of a stubborn streak, this breed is very easy to train. His eager to please nature combined with natural intelligence makes him quick to pick up wanted behaviors. Firm, but patient training is key to helping work past the stubborn bits and turn this dog into a great companion.


Irish Water Spaniel Activity

Lots of activity and exercise is best for the dog breed due to his naturally hardworking and athletic build. Activities that involve retrieval, water sports or even long adventurous hikes are all fun activities for the breed. Keeping him active and engaged will help keep them happy.

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