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Important: This information is collected from a variety of sources and is presented as general thoughts about the breed. It is sugggested that you use our information with that of your own to make any decisions. We suggest you DO NOT make any decisions about a family pet based solely on these pages. Keep digging!


Irish Water Spaniel

Group (AKC):


Country of OriginIreland
Type of coatDense, tight ringlets on neck, body and top part of tail; longer, curling hair on legs and topknot; face, rear of tail, and back of legs below hocks smooth.
GroomingWeekly grooming with a steel comb is necessary to maintain his curly coat mat free. Pay special attention to behind the ears. Some stripping of unwanted hairs is necessary, as is trimming around the feet.
Average height20 - 23 inches
Average weight45 - 65 lbs.
Activity levelHigh
ProtectionMedium - Low
IntelligenceHigh, Obedience - Low, Problem Solving - High
TrainabilityRegular daily exercise is a necessity and he should also be given the opportunity to swim as much as possible. Needs firm handling from an early age.
Compatibility with childrenWill tolerate children if no rough housing occurs.
CharacterResponsive, playful, inquisitive.
Ideal home environmentHome with a fenced yard.
Ideal ownerMay not be an ideal first-time buyer's dog as he needs strong leadership from early on.
Links and resources

Additional notes:

The Irish Water Spaniel presents a picture of a smart, upstanding, strongly built sporting dog. It has a wonderful temperament and unique appearance making it an enjoyable breed. A greatly intelligent, quick learning, fun-loving personality has earned it the title of "clown of the spaniel family." It loves water and will often take a flying leap into any body of water it encounters. Keep the toilet seat down. The tallest of the spaniels, it excels in retrieving wildfowl (and calm fowl).

Short History:

It is believed the Irish Water Spaniel is the survivor of the Southern Irish Water Spaniel found in Southern Ireland and another Water Spaniel found in Northern Ireland who is believed to be similar to the English Water Spaniel. Did you follow all that? Bred as a water-bird retriever, it was officially recognized in England in 1859. Now you can recognize it anywhere.

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