The Irish Water Spaniel: A Complete Guide

The Irish Water Spaniel is often mistaken for a large brown poodle because of his distinctive top knot and the curly hair that covers his body.

It’s known for his strong swimming skills. He also excels at retrieving waterfowl and upland game like grouse, pheasant, and quail.

The Irish Water Spaniel is not only known for his hunting talents and good looks. He’s also known for being an entertainer because of his clownish behavior.

He always has fun even while performing a simple task. Even on his own, he can entertain himself with no problem.

Irish Water Spaniels are highly intelligent, active, willing, and energetic.

The Irish Water Spaniel has a unique outlook on life.

The centuries of breeding that have contributed to their retrieving skills have also instilled in them a desire to please.

This makes an Irish Water Spaniel relatively easy to train. That said, he also has a streak of mischief that can make him a little challenging to deal with sometimes.

The Irish Water Spaniel is a relatively quiet dog. He reserves his barking for times when it’s necessary to warn his family.

His alert and inquisitive temperament makes him an excellent watchdog. While he’s usually devoted to the entire family, he may choose a particular person as his favorite.

Irish Water Spaniels love to swim and will plunge into any nearby body of water if given a chance.

They may not be ready to leave the water when you’re ready for them to. If you can provide this breed with opportunities to swim, do so! It’s great exercise for this high-energy dog.

The Irish Water Spaniel can be the perfect companion for an active family with the time to socialize, train, and exercise him.

He will be a loving and loyal part of the family and will amuse everyone with his mischievous and clownish attitude toward life.

Irish Water Spaniel Puppies – Before You Buy…

What Price are Irish Water Spaniel Puppies?

The price of Irish Water Spaniel puppies is anywhere between $800 to $1,000.

How to Find Reputable Irish Water Spaniel Breeders?

One of the best things you can do is to check with national or local organizations.

Family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors are also great sources for referrals, as is your local veterinarian.

Once you have a list of breeders to contact, there are also indications which you need to watch out for that will tell you that you have found a reputable one.

Reputable breeders are very knowledgeable about the breed and focus on raising only one or two different types of breeds.

A responsible breeder is willing to provide references of previous customers.

The breeder should want to meet you in person before they let you buy a puppy.

They should ask you questions, such as your reason for wanting a dog, what your lifestyle is like, or where the puppy will live.

You should be introduced to the litter’s mother. She should live in the same premises and should be friendly and look healthy.

Ask to see where the puppy has been raised, which should be a clean and safe area.

The breeder should be able to tell you a specific puppy’s temperament and help you choose the one that best matches your needs.

The puppies in the litter should not appear skittish or unsocial.

A responsible breeder won’t let the puppy go home with you until 8 to 12 weeks of age.

The first weeks of a puppy’s life are critical and should be spent with the mother. Otherwise, you run the risk of an overly anxious or unhealthy pup.

You should be provided with breed information and the necessary papers to register your puppy.

You should also receive a health guarantee. A responsible breeder will make you sign a contract promising to return the dog to them if you can no longer care for them.

The breeder should offer guidance to help you acclimate your dog to its new home and be available to answer any questions you may have.

One of the best ways to tell you’ve found a great breeder is that they request updates or pictures of your new pal over its lifetime.

This shows how truly invested they are in each of their dogs.

3 Little-Known Facts About Irish Water Spaniel Puppies

  1. This dog has earned the nickname of ‘clever clown dog’. The Irish Water Spaniel is a mischievous and fun-loving dog.
  2. It is also often confused for a big and pampered Poodle.
  3. He is an impressive hunter, pointer, retriever, and swimmer, and can be a terrific family companion.

Physical Traits of the Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel tends to be extremely cautious and watchful when around strangers.

The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest of the spaniel breeds, sporting a solid brown, crisp-textured, curly coat and a topknot of curls that protects the eyes.

The muzzle is square and long. It has a big and liver-colored nose. Their teeth meet in scissors or level bite.

The chest is deep, the forelegs are powerful without being bulky, and the hindquarters are muscular and set as high or higher than the shoulders, to aid in swimming.

The Irish Water Spaniel has a thick double coat that forms ringlets on the rear, sides, and back. At the ribs, the hair is longer. Waves cover the dog’s legs.

The color of the Irish Water Spaniel is a solid liver or deep reddish-brown. Irish Water Spaniels shed very minimally, but they should still be brushed around three times a week.

Doing so will remove the dirt, prevent mats and tangles, and keep the hair shiny and healthy.

The natural oil in the dog’s coat attracts dirt and debris. Regular brushing removes this dirt and distributes the oil throughout the hair to keep the coat clean and healthy.

When they swim, water can get trapped in the ear, making them prone to painful ear infections.

After they swim or take a bath, clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser.

Brushing the teeth on a weekly basis will prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health, and keep bad breath at bay.

How Big is a Full-Grown Irish Water Spaniel?

Irish Water Spaniel males stand at 22 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh about 55 to 65 pounds.

Females stand at 21 to 23 inches tall and weigh 45 to 60 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Irish Water Spaniel?

The life expectancy of the Irish Water Spaniel is 10 to 12 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is inquisitive and alert. He may be shy and reserved around strangers, although he should never be aggressive or shy.

Irish Water Spaniels are highly trainable. However, they are also very independent and will do their own thing whenever possible.

Because of this, they are not the best choice for novice or first-time dog owners.

Puppies with nice temperaments are energetic and curious. They are willing to go to people and be touched or held by them.

The Irish Water Spaniel’s Diet

The Irish Water Spaniel is often mistaken for a large brown poodle.

It is important for Irish Water Spaniel owners to know that these are highly energetic dogs.They need to have a high-quality diet specifically designed for energetic and athletic dogs.

Dry kibble is recommended to prevent early tooth decay and gum disease. Feeding a diet of dry food also cuts down on doggie breath caused by plaque built up on the teeth.

How Much Exercise Does an Irish Water Spaniel Need?

Irish Water Spaniels thrive when they can run, play, chase down game, and retrieve fowl.

They are not meant to live a sedentary lifestyle and can become bored or destructive without engaging in a lot of activities.

They require at least an hour of play every day to keep them in tiptop shape. They love the water. They will happily retrieve dummies for hours.

This is what makes Irish Water Spaniels awesome companions for families with sturdy kids.

Irish Water Spaniel Health and Conditions

A generally healthy breed, the Irish Water Spaniel is still predisposed to health issues.

Hip dysplasia is one health issue that breeders have been trying to eliminate for years, but it can also be triggered by a dog’s environment; as can excessive weight gain in a short period of time, obesity, and overexertion.

Juvenile cataracts have been diagnosed within the breed.

Dogs between the ages of 2 and 4 years might exhibit signs of hair loss. This may be attributed to follicular dysplasia.

Irish Water Spaniels are also predisposed to hypothyroidism, but it’s a treatable hormonal disorder. Epilepsy, distichiasis, paronychia, and entropion can also be found within the breed.

My Final Thoughts on the Irish Water Spaniel

Because the Irish Water Spaniel has a unique outlook on life, he tends to be extremely cautious and watchful when around strangers.

This does mean that there’s a problem with timidity.

A well-socialized puppy that has been exposed to people, as well as different noises and situations will be a bit timid when something or someone new shows up in their environment.

It is in his nature to evaluate the situation and eventually approach the newcomer or new situation.

Again, this is not being timid; this is being watchful and is a sought-after trait within Irish Water Spaniels.

 

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

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OVERALL SUMMARY

5.5
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9
Family Safety
7.5
Friendliness
8.5
Health Concerns
6
Life Span
5
Exercise Required
4
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 6.9 / 10

Written by Emily Green

Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 2 dogs; Bilbo and Hannah, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she's not nerding out on dogs, you'll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in BuzzFeed, Dogtime, and ModernDog.

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