An uncommon dog, native to Ireland, which is strongly built and taller and more square then most spaniels. In fact, it is the tallest of spaniels. Their coat consists of dense curls with a distinctive puce / liver colour with a pronounced purple tint. Irish water spaniels are around 60 cms (24 inches) high and weigh 25-30 kgs (around 60 lbs). Their face and throat are smooth with the head topped with a “top knot”, raising as a peak between the eyes. They have an unusual medium sized smooth, rat like tail which contrasts strongly with their curly fur.
They were and are a working dog so they are active and very intelligent. Dog socialisation is important if they are to blend into family life. They require lots of regular exercise and time spent on training to make the most of them. They are protective of their family and have a deep, fierce sounding bark if provoked. They typically live for 8-12 years.
Their coat is non-shedding so many people who suffer allergic responses might not be affected by this breed. They do not require daily brushing unless showing, only an occasional trim to remove straggle ends with scissors and a comb to remove the mats. As you would expect with their name, they love swimming so an occasional swim will curl up the coat again and keep them happy.
The Irish Water Spaniel developed in the 1830s in Ireland. The origins of the breed are unclear, experts generally thinking they may have come from the Portuguese Water Dog, Poodle and Barbet. They were used as a gundog on the bogs, marshes and rivers.
Although happy to curl up and sleep at home, regular walks and exercise are essential for a healthy, contented water spaniel. An unexercised IWS may mean a naughty, mischievous dog. An ideal home though would be a working environment where the dog’s mind as well as body is exercised. Many IWS owners work their dogs in the shooting field, in obedience tests, in agility competitions or in the show ring. A favourite pastime is swimming so the ideal owner would be someone who could give their dog access to a clean, safe river or snother body of water.
The major health issue with the breed is due to their size and may suffer from hip dysplasia, prior to breeding, the potential parents should be scored for this.
Their intelligence leads them to enjoying agility and obedience activities and, combined with their great nose, they are often trained for drug and explosive detection.
They can be greedy so you need to control their food intake.
A great dog for an active family or a couple who have the time and either experience of other dogs or who are prepared to invest in the training, perhaps with the help of a professional trainer.
Marlene was lovely and did a great job. She even sent us photos and a video of Mackerel which was a lovely touch. London Pet Sitting really saved the day for us over the busy New Year’s period. They were friendly, reliable and even texted us to let us know everything was ok. I really recommend them to anyone. Mr A.E. and Mackerel of Maida Vale