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Irish Water Spaniel


Basic Information

Breed Group
BrownSheddingMinimalGrooming NeedsModerate Maintenance
25 - 35 Pounds
14 - 16 Inches



The Irish Water Spaniel is an ancient breed and one of the tallest spaniels bred to retrieve water fowl and other game. They boast a lovely dark liver coat that's made up of tight ringlets that cover their entire body except their muzzles, the front of a dog's neck and the majority of their tails. These charming dogs not only boast quite a unique coat, but they are also known to have very kind and affectionate natures with the added bonus of them having a sense of humour which makes them great fun to be around. The Irish Water Spaniel is an adaptable character being just at home in the field as they are in a family environment which are just some of the reasons they make such lovely companions and family pets.

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The actual origins and ancestry of the Irish Water Spaniel remain a bit of a mystery although there are records of "Water Dogs" in Persia that date as far back as 4000 BC. However, there are those who believe the breed came about when foreign fishermen bought their dogs with them to Ireland. This included fishermen from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. What is known is that all the Irish Water Spaniels we see today can trace their ancestry back to one dog named Boatswain, a IWS owned by Justin McCarthy during the 1800's. The breed became popular when they were exhibited for the first time in Birmingham in 1862.

Here in the UK, the Irish Water Spaniel is classed as a "spaniel" in the showring, whereas when these dogs compete in any field trials they are classed as "retrievers". Today, the Irish Water Spaniel has become a popular choice as both a companion dog and as a family pet with people who lead active, outdoor lives and who are able to dedicate the time these dogs need to be truly happy, well-rounded characters.

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