Irish Water Spaniel

Irish water spanielIrish Water Spaniel History:

Although the current breed stock is Irish, the origin of the Irish Water Spaniel is a native Irish breed for over 1000 years. Irish folklore believed that it was a descendant of the Dobhar-chú. It is not known from which other breeds Irish Water Spaniels were developed. The known father of the breed which is Justin McCarthy from Dublin left no available breeding records. It is clear that the modern breed that was developed in Ireland in the 1830s.


The Irish Water Spaniel is a sturdy and native to Ireland. The coat is formed by dense curls even though it sheds very little. The color is brown with a definite purple hue.   The topknot of long and loose curls grow down from the head  that usually covers the eyes.  It can have a growing “beard” growing at the back of the throat that forms by “sideburns”; and a curled, brown-colored coat.  Smooth rat tail is the most distinct feature. To keep the face entirely smooth-coated it only requires a little or no trimming at all. It is ruggedly built with webbed feet to aid in its excellent swimming strokes. It really loves water.


The Irish Water Spaniel is a picture of a smart, active, submissive and energetic companion. It is inherent in this breed dog to naturally and easily please others. It is a team player which makes it a relatively easy dog to train and discipline. Because of its great intelligence and quizzical nature, it has the reputation of being the clown of the spaniel family. He can do extraordinary things to achieve which is asked of it. Socialization and training are needed by this breed while young.


The Irish Water Spaniel has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. They are the largest of the Spaniel group, with the height range from 22 to 24 inches and with the weight of 55 to 65 pounds.  It is susceptible to otitis externa and canine hip dysplasia (CHD). It may also succumb to minor health issues like distichiasis, and major issues such as nail bed disease, seizures, and megaesophagus.