The Irish Water Spaniel is considered to be one of the most adept of the hunting breeds at working the water and the land. His admirers believe that in many respects the dog should be classified in the Spaniel group since they believe that the dog has no equal when it comes to it’s ability to retrieve the fallen birds out of the water and it uses also the skills of pointing and retrieving when hunting on land.
The Irish Water spaniel, as the name implies, originally comes from the country of Ireland. At one time there were two of these types of dogs, a northern and a southern, but there do not seem to be any descendants of the type which used to flourish in the north of Ireland.
The Water Spaniel that exists today is the Irish Water Spaniel which originated in southern Ireland, a strong and athletic curly coated dog with a sense of humor and a clownish personality which endears him to his owners. He is a hunting dog of great ability. Breeders through the years have done a fine job of maintaining this dogs instinctive abilities and at the same time maintaining the structure and soundness of the breed. He possesses a thick tightly curled rather short coat which is oily by nature. This coat should not be “woolly” and should be exceedingly water proof.
This is a coat that will mat and will also form cords if not cared for on a regular basis. The tail is long, the ears likewise are long and are covered with longer curls, while there is also a “topknot” of longer curls on the top of the skull which hangs down over the top of the head. The color is a dark liver. The dog has a “barrel” rib cage which lends a roll to his gait; this is not common among dogs of hunting origin, but the build of his ribs allows for great endurance when swimming.
The old adage “form follows function” is true for this breed as this is a dog that is obviously built to swim and to retrieve from the water. With powerful jaws and a front and rear that is built for strength and endurance while swimming and the added performance as a hunting dog on the land, this is a dog that has attracted many admirers as an all around hunting dog of great ability.
The Irish Water Spaniel should be accustomed early to training, for he is very smart and is considered to be somewhat of an independent thinker; probably this is a dog that is not suitable for a “first time” dog owner. He can be headstrong and is active by nature, a playful and energetic dog that requires plenty of exercise.
Typically gun dogs are quite intelligent and usually will think up their own diversions if not given something to do and the Irish Water Spaniel is no exception. He needs daily exercise and if allowed to be in the household he thrives on human companionship. He is a dog that will prove his loyalty and affection for his master and will provide hours of hunting pleasure when properly trained.
Originally posted 2016-09-15 12:40:57.