Did you know?
The Irish Water Spaniel has been known as The Rat Tail Spaniel, The Whiptail, The Shannon Spaniel, and the Bog Dog.
Irish Water Spaniel
She hath more qualities than a water spaniel; which is much in a bare Christian. – Shakespeare (Two Gentlemen of Verona)
The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the largest of the Spaniels and is believed to be a relative of the Poodle.
Originally bred as a water-bird retriever, the Irish Water Spaniel is thought to be a descendant of two different breeds of Irish Water Spaniels, one from Southern Ireland and the other from Northern Ireland.
This strongly built sporting dog stands up to 24 inches (61 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs up to 65 pounds (29 kg). He has a wonderful temperament and is one of the more unusual looking dogs. His tail is long and resembles a rat’s tail.
Photos displayed courtesy of Wayne Dickson, De L’Alto, Quebec
The Irish Water Spaniel’s coat is a dark liver colour. It consists of thick, tight ringlets and curls that form a protective water repellent barrier, allowing the dog to retrieve birds from even the coldest water. Weekly combing of this coat will keep its tendency to mat under control.
Although the Irish Water Spaniel’s fun-loving personality has led to him being known as the “clown of the spaniel family”, he can be very protective of his owner and property. As his name suggests, he loves water, and will take almost any opportunity to leap into it!
An inquisitive and determined breed, the Irish Water Spaniel needs strong management and training early on. These dogs have a mind of their own and may not be the breed for the first-time dog owner.
Regular exercise is necessary to channel his energy. He should have a home with a fenced yard. For him to be in his element, he should have regular access to swimming.