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Irish Water Spaniel

 

Big hair, don't care: Irish Water Spaniels want their strong webbed feet in the water, no matter what the weather's doing. That's right — this breed has fully webbed feet like a duck! Even water-loving Poodles and Retrievers can't keep up with this aquatic athlete. In part, they have their skinny, whip-like tails to thank for their agility in the water; their tails are naked and work like rudders while they're swimming.

These are the biggest, and among the oldest, breed of spaniel. Irish Water Spaniels are elegant and rare—there are fewer than two thousand of these dogs in United States.

As you probably guess from their name, this breed is originally from Ireland. These medium-sized and high-energy dogs can grow to between 45-68 pounds and live an average of 12-13 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Sporting group.

 

AKC RecognizedY
Breed's original pastimeSwimming
OriginIreland
Breed groupSporting
Average lifespan12-13 years
SizeLarge
Bark factorModerate
AKC Ranking130
FamilyGundog, spaniel
Date of origin1800s
Original function Water retrieving
Today's functionWater retrieving
Average size of maleHeight: 18 Weight: 35-50
Average size of femaleHeight: 18 Weight: 35-50

 

Other nameNone
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangersShy
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Moderately maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

WHAT IS AN IRISH WATER SPANIEL'S PERSONALITY LIKE?

Goofy, bouncy, and playful — there's just no beating an Irish Water Spaniel for affection or enthusiasm. This breed is good with kids, but because they're large and lively, supervision is recommended when they're playing together. They also enjoy the company of other dogs.

WHAT IS IRISH WATER SPANIEL BEHAVIOR LIKE?

This is a courageous and hardworking dog. Like many spaniels, Irish Water Spaniels love to play and swim. They are excellent retrievers.

All that energy means that an Irish Water Spaniel fits best with an active family. This dog needs lots of exercise and room to stretch her legs. A bored or neglected Irish Water Spaniel can easily become loud or destructive.

HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN IRISH WATER SPANIEL?

Bow WOW, is this dog ever smart! The Irish Water Spaniel is trainable and very responsive. They respond well to food, praise, and play rewards.

Early and consistent socialization is important for this breed. Irish Water Spaniels excel at agility, obedience, and flyball.

CARE & HEALTH

HOW MUCH DO IRISH WATER SPANIELS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?

Irish Water Spaniels need regular grooming, but they are surprisingly easy keepers for all that hair. Plan to brush and bathe your furry friend's curly coat regularly. They are seasonal shedders, but they don't shed much.

WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO IRISH WATER SPANIELS HAVE?

Though Irish Water Spaniels are generally pretty healthy, some are prone to ear infections and eye disease. Others develop orthopedic issues (like elbow or hip dysplasia), thyroid disease, seizures or allergies. Irish Water Spaniels are also sometimes sensitive to Ivermectin, a worming medication, and sulfa antibiotics.

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