Irish Water Spaniel

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Sporting    Type: Pure Breed    Talent: , , , , ,


Size: Medium     Weight: 45-65 lbs     Fur length: Long    Ears: Flappy    Fur type: Curly    Fur Color: Dark Brown / Chocolate, Light Brown / Golden


Life Expectancy: About 10-12 years    Rarity: Common    Availability: Easily available    Climate: Good for every climate.

Breed Details


The Irish Water Spaniel originated in Ireland and was bred to retrieve game from lakes or rivers. It is thought that this breed is a mixture of the Barbet, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog and Curly Coated Retriever but this is not certain. Although they make great working dogs both alone and along side their master, they also make excellent family pets, they are just not as well known as some of the more popular breeds of today.

This breed has a very unique coat being made up of all tightly coiled ringlets. This will help protect them from cold weather, as well as cold water making it much easier for them to hunt/retrieve. The Irish Water Spaniel has a lean, muscular body, a slender long tail, and strong toned legs making the swim to retrieve game faster. They have large floppy ears and a long powerful muzzle to carry birds in, but should be noted that they are quite gentle with their owners catch!

The Irish Water Spaniel is a head strong, willing, and happy dog that will be a great pet as well as a hard working partner. They get along well with children and smaller family pets as long as they both treat the dog with respect. This breed is not for a family or owner that has had no experience raising or training dogs because they have a stubborn attitude at times and will require more exercise and attention than the everyday house pet.


The Irish Water Spaniel will come in one colour only which is the rich brown. There is to be a purple-ish hue in the light making their coat unique only to them. Some lines will be a darker brown and other lines will be a more rich light brown.


These dogs have a tightly curled coat that will have the same texture throughout their entire body! Their fur is double layered with the outer layer being the curls which are a soft, clean texture and the under layer being thick and plush. They have this specific coat because they need extra warmth when swimming in extremely cold water.


This breed will need a lot of socialization as a puppy, especially around other dogs and people so when in social situations they will not become timid or aggressive. The Irish Water Spaniel is a comical breed that will make a wonderful companion as long as they are raised by an owner who is firm yet fair. Training this breed will need to start as soon as they are brought home to ensure they understand what is acceptable in the household and what is not. The Irish Water Spaniel is a clever breed and will make a great addition to the right owner or family! These dogs are protective, loyal and independent but still quite affectionate towards their masters. People they have never met before will in a sense, not matter unless they are formally introduced to the dog. Generally they are a goofy dog that has a charming personality and excellent demeanor. This agile and beautiful breed will be a great pet for people that enjoy physical activity or just enjoy the outdoors!


The Irish Water Spaniel will need a moderate amount of grooming to keep their coat looking great. Brushing 4-5 times per week and bathing when the owner finds this necessary will be perfect. These dogs tend to be quite clean so the only real supervision should just be towards tangles developing in their coats. The Irish Water Spaniel is prone to ear infections, and hypothyroidism. Generally this breed is quite healthy but the parents medical history should be checked just for the potential owners awareness of any inheritable diseases.


The Irish Water Spaniel will need an owner with experience to raise and train them in obedience. They have a stubborn side which will sometimes make them more difficult to train but consistency and repetition are always the key. These dogs are incredibly smart and have the motivation to please their owners, but need gentle yet firm guidance in order to follow commands. It is suggested that these dogs be given short training lessons multiple times per day so they have time to think about the commands and have the concepts sink in.


This breed will need at least an hour per day of exercise and this can be done at an off-leash park where they can run and stretch their legs or just by swimming! They will burn off much more energy being off-leash roaming, or chasing after a ball than on a walk. The Irish Water Spaniel will be better off in a household environment that has a backyard because they need as much indoor and outdoor space as possible to live in.

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