Irish Water Spaniel

Description Irish Water Spaniel

Proud, Intelligent, Humorous
The Irish Water Spaniel – also known as the Irish Water Spaniel – is an Irish dog breed with a lot of personality. It is recognized by the FCI and assigned to group 8 – water dogs. The breed name already indicates that the dogs have an intimate bond with water. The self-confident Irish Water Spaniels have always been known for their sense of hunting and their willingness to work. They make great companion dogs for dog lovers with some experience.FCI Group: Retrievers – Search Dogs – Water Dogs

  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 27-29kg
  • Life expectancy: 12-13 years
  • Coat Type: Medium Hair
  • Colours: Rich, dark brown-red liver colour

Character Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the large dog breeds . An adult Irish Water Spaniel reaches an average height of up to 59 cm. Females are usually slightly smaller than their male counterparts. They have an average height of up to 56 cm. The weight of the four-legged friends behaves according to their size.

Males ideally reach a weight of about 27 to 34 kg. Adult bitches weigh an average of 22 to 29 kg.
The Irish Water Spaniel is an extremely eye-catching dog . Its probably most striking distinguishing feature is its lush, curly coat . This is primarily reminiscent of a poodle.

The Irish Spaniel’s entire body is covered with thick, curly fur.
According to the breed standard, the coat color is a rich dark brown . Lighter brown tones up to reddish hues or very dark brown-black tones are also possible.
The thick fur of the four-legged friends is not just a question of beauty, but serves a purpose. It serves to protect the four-legged friends from cold water temperatures.

This is of particular importance because the Irish Water Spaniel naturally likes to spend a lot of time in the water.
The physique of the dogs is muscular and compact. The large amounts of fur often make the animal appear heavier than they actually are. The posture and gait of the four-legged friends appear proud and elegant. The Irish Water Spaniel has large, long floppy ears and expressive eyes.

Their muzzle is relatively long and stands out.
The Irish Water Spaniel’s tail is another unique identifier of the breed. Unlike the rest of the body, the tail is not covered with curly hair. Instead, it is provided with very short and smooth fur. The rod immediately catches the eye when you see the dog.

It is thick at the beginning and then gets thinner and thinner as it progresses. For this reason it is also often referred to as the rat tail .
The Irish Water Spaniel has a lovable personality. The dogs are loyal and open-minded towards their owners . They build a close relationship of trust with their owners and their families.

To protect your family, the four-legged friends would do anything.
They are considered to be extremely vigilant and ready to defend at all times . Irish Water Spaniels tend to be reserved and skeptical towards strangers . Dealing with other dogs is usually uncomplicated. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the dogs are socialized at an early age .

Irish Water Spaniels do not have any aggressive traits and are therefore very sociable. They are not easily disturbed or provoked.
The conspicuous dogs also have a mind of their own and a strong will . They are considered a self-confident dog breed and a real bundle of energy . In addition, Irish Water Spaniels are very intelligent animals.

They want and should be challenged so as not to get bored.
Ideally, the dogs are assigned a task . This helps to ensure that the animal is used to its full potential. In this way, the four-legged friends are balanced and happy. The dogs love the water and are excellent swimmers.

Diet Irish Water Spaniel

A varied and balanced diet is very important for the health of the Irish Water Spaniel. Necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins should always be fed sufficiently. In this way, deficiency symptoms can be prevented.
Feed with a high grain content should be avoided if possible. This is difficult for dogs to digest.

Meat and the proteins it contains, on the other hand, should be at the top of your four-legged friend’s nutritional plan. The daily amount of food should depend on weight, body size and the need for exercise.
The Irish Water Spaniel is considered a robust, resilient and energetic dog. The breed is currently not over-bred, so most of the animals are healthy. Nevertheless, there are some breed-typical diseases that one should know as a keeper.

Due to their body size, the dogs are prone to hip disease and ailments . However, such complaints can be prevented with sufficient movements that are easy on the joints. In addition, cancer is more common in some breeds . Unfortunately, thyroid problems are also not uncommon. However, by choosing a reputable breeder, many health risks can be eliminated.

The average life expectancy of four-legged friends is 12 years . This is appropriate and common for such a large breed. However, if the animals are physically fit and healthy, they can also get older.


The Irish Water Spaniel is a bit more demanding than other breeds when it comes to keeping it. He is not very suitable as a beginner’s dog. Instead, the future owner should already have experience in dog training . However, it is important that the education already takes place in puppyhood.
Since the four-legged friends are to be regarded as stubborn and temperamental, limits and rules must be shown at a young age.

A loving and yet consistent upbringing and a clear hierarchy are necessary. Otherwise, the animals will constantly try to enforce their own will.
Good socialization of the dogs is also of considerable importance. The best way to do this is to regularly visit a dog school. There the spaniels learn how to deal with other dogs.

Grooming requires special attention and time. Irish Water Spaniels should be exposed to water regularly. Extensive swimming sessions or baths in the bathtub at home are good for the dog’s coat.
At the same time, the four-legged friends enjoy any contact with water. In addition, the curly hair of the dogs should be cut or shaved about every 2 to 3 months.

This can be done, for example, in a dog grooming salon.
The dense coat should also be brushed regularly . Dirt can be effectively removed and the fur protected from tangles. It is also important that the Spaniel’s fur is checked regularly for ticks . These are usually not visible at first glance.

In addition, eyes and ears should be checked regularly and kept clean.


The Irish Water Spaniel is a fairly old breed of dog. She is originally from Ireland . The so-called water dogs were admired early on for their strong hunting instincts and their courage . They are excellent hunters and eager workhorses.
The exact ancestral history of the breed is unclear to this day.

What is certain, however, is that the dogs are closely related to the poodle and the Portuguese water dog. The breed has become increasingly popular, especially among hunters.
Purposeful breeding of the Irish Water Spaniel began in the 1830s. In 1862 the breed was officially recognized by the British Kennel Club .
In 1954 the breed was finally recognized by the FCI .

In Germany, the Irish Water Spaniel is largely unknown to this day. Some lovers of the breed actively support breeding. Nevertheless, the interesting spaniel is not very widespread in our country.

Irish Water Spaniel Accessories

The Irish Water Spaniel is a great nature lover. In the city, therefore, the dog does not feel very comfortable. In addition, the dogs should not be kept in a small rented apartment. Due to their size alone, the animals require sufficient space.
Since the Irish Water Spaniel is a very energetic and playful dog, sufficient dog toys should be purchased.

The lively four-legged friends especially love fetch games . Balls or other throwing toys are therefore particularly suitable as accessories.
In addition, the four-legged friends should have their own place to sleep in the house. This is important so that the animals can recharge their batteries and relax.
In addition, the inclination of the animals to the water should be taken into account.

It therefore makes sense to take regular trips to nearby lakes or rivers. In general, the Irish Water Spaniel can and wants to be outside in wind and weather. The future owner should be aware of this.
As with other dog breeds, the initial equipment of this breed also includes a food and water bowl, leash, collar or harness, transport box, etc

6.8Expert Score
Breed characteristics

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