Irish Water Dog - Origin, Traits and Traits

Irish Water Dog: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Irish Water Dog or Irish Water Spaniel is a breed...

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

" The Irish Water Dog or Irish Water Spaniel is a very special breed of dog that is distinguished by two unique characteristics: its curly coat and its rat tail. They are very hardy and hardworking dogs, traditionally used as retrievers and hunting dogs. However, they are also excellent companion dogs, as they are renowned for their friendly and teasing nature."

Do you want to know more about the Irish Water Dog? If so, don't hesitate to join us in this PlanetAnimal breed sheet!

Happy reading!


  • Europe
  • Ireland

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group VIII

Physical Characteristics

  • Short ears


  • Large


  • 55-70

Adult Weight

  • 25-45

Life expectancy

  • 10-12

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Shy
  • Very loyal
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Docile

Ideal for

  • The hunt

Hair type

  • Long
  • Curly

Origin of the Irish Water Dog

The origin of the Irish Water Dog is unknown. There is no hard evidence as to the ancestry of this breed also called the Irish Water Spaniel, as the creators of the breed did not take it into account. This riddle has given rise to much speculation about the breeds that could have given rise to this particular dog. Some claim that it could have originated from crosses between the poodle, the Portuguese water dog or the barbet, but nothing is known for certain.

Water dogs are now believed to have originated in Persia and were brought to Ireland by fishermen from Spain and other Mediterranean countries.The first Irish reference to water dogs hunting waterfowl dates from the 17th century, but it was not until 1834 that the breed was officially registered.

Characteristics of the Irish Water Dog

The Irish Water Dog is traditionally used as a retriever dog and as a waterfowl hunting dog. It is an excellent swimmer, noted for its great predisposition to work and for its enormous resistance to the cold waters of the north.

He is a medium-sized dog, characterized by being the largest of all spaniels. Females weigh 20-26 kg and measure 51-56 cm, while males weigh 25-30 kg and measure 53-59 cm.

Their appearance has two unique characteristics:

  • They have a dense coat, with small, well-defined curls and a natural smoothness: the coat is made up of two layers: a dense, short and thick undercoat (to keep warm) and a longer outer coat long and water resistant.
  • " The tail is unique and exclusive to this breed and is called a rat tail or whip tail: because it is hairless and considerably wider at the base than at the tip. In motion, it is straight and sits almost level with the back."

In addition to these two peculiarities, other characteristics of the standard of their breed deserve to be highlighted:

  • They have a good size head: crowned by a bun of long loose curls. Its hair forms a kind of beard at the back of the jaw. Their nose is wide and dark liver in color.
  • Eyes are relatively small and almond-shaped and vary in color from amber to dark hazelnut.
  • The ears are very long and covered with long, very curly hair: they are set low and hang close to the cheeks.
  • The neck is long, strong and arched: it ends in a deep but not very wide chest.

The colors of the Irish Water Dog

Unlike other breeds where you can find different coats, the Irish Water Dog always has a pure and very intense liver color. Sometimes they may have white spots on the chest.

Irish Water Dog Character

The Irish Water Dog is an intelligent, bold, strong-willed and energetic animal. They are particularly loyal to their guardians, which makes them excellent pets. Also, unlike other hunting dogs, he is not particularly noisy.

" Due to his friendly, teasing nature and quirky sense of humor, he is affectionately known as the Spaniels&39; Clown, a characteristic that makes him cute in the eyes of his guardians."

Some dogs can be reluctant to come into contact with unfamiliar people or animals, so it's important to socialize them properly from a young age.Socialization is especially important when living with young children.

Caring for the Irish Water Dog

In addition to the basic care needed by all dog breeds, special attention should be given to Irish Water Dogs:

  • Activity and Exercise: The Irish Water Dog is an energetic, energetic animal and therefore requires a high level of daily activity. To stay in good physical and mental he alth, he needs to be walked a few hours a day. In addition, as a good water dog, he particularly enjoys all activities involving an aquatic environment. A long walk by the river or on the beach will be the ideal plan for them.
  • Coat care: to keep your coat clean and tangle-free, it's important to brush it every 1 or 2 weeks. Similarly, every 2 months, it is advisable to trim the coat to fix it and give it shape.Regular exposure to water helps keep the coat curly and looking its best.
  • Ear Care: Since they have large, long ears, they are particularly prone to earwax buildup and ear infections. It is therefore important to pay attention to the hygiene of your ears.

Education of the Irish Water Dog

The Irish Water Dog is an animal accustomed to teamwork. They also have a natural instinct to please their guardians, which makes them relatively easy to train. Their energy and ability to learn make them good candidates for sports such as Agility or flyball. Additionally, their sensitive nature means they can also be used as therapy and assistance dogs.

As we said before, these are dogs that can be somewhat aloof with unfamiliar people and animals. Socialization should therefore begin at an early age to avoid future behavioral problems.

Irish Water Dog He alth

The life expectancy of the Irish Water Spaniel is around 10 to 12 years. The most common he alth problems in this breed are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Entropion
  • Epilepsy
  • Ear infections
  • Dermatological problems

Also, the breed is sensitive to certain medications like ivermectin, sulfonamides, and some anesthetics. It is essential that guardians of Irish Spaniels remember this condition as administering these drugs can be life threatening.

How to adopt an Irish Water Dog?

The Irish Water Dog being a rare breed, it can be difficult to find a dog to adopt in our country.

If you are considering adopting an Irish Water Dog, you can try contacting one of the Irish Water Dog Clubs to help guide your search.However, remember that what is really important when adopting a new member of the family is not that they meet any breed standard, but that you can adapt to their needs and their environment. lifestyle.

Irish Water Dog Pictures

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!