Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel originates from...

Despite its name, the breed is primarily a Retriever, utilised in collecting game birds from the surface of lakes and flushing birds from the bush for the hunter to shoot. With a lineage that is believed to date back to the Stone or Bronze Age, the Irish Water Spaniel is an ancient breed, thought to have developed from the Poodle, Portugese Water Dog and the Curly-Coated Retriever. It is rumoured that Sir Robert Cecil gifted an Irish Water Spaniel to the King of France in 1598. Made popular in the United States in the 1800s, the breed was widely used as a duck retriever, capable of working both land and water. Considered a rare breed today, the Irish Water Spaniel was officially recognised by the AKC in 1884.

The Irish Water Spaniel is characterised by...

A dog of medium-sized build, the Irish Water Spaniel boasts a robust frame with straight legs, a long, square muzzle, a low-set tail, deep chest and dark eyes. The dense double coat is tightly curled and oily, helping to repel water whilst enabling the dog to dry off quickly. It also serves as adequate insulation in cold water and as protection from bracken when working difficult terrain. Further characterising the breed is its webbed feet, adapting it to water crawling, as well as its topknot of curls on the top of its head. Commonly coloured liver, the Irish Water Spaniel's natural colouration is unlike that of any other breed.

The average Irish Water Spaniel...

Naturally energetic and enthusiastic in exercise and play, the Irish Water Spaniel is well suited to the active family lifestyle. Vigilant to change and threat, the breed is fiercely protective of its family and master, devoted to children and compatible with other house pets when introduced gradually. The Irish Water Spaniel is both intelligent and responsive, rendering it highly trainable in any home setting. The average Water Spaniel weighs 20-30 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years, although it is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy.


The Irish Water Spaniel is not prone to any serious genetic or hereditary diseases. As with most breeds, cases of hip and elbow dysplasia are documented in the breed. Additionally, the Water Spaniel is susceptible to various eye disorders, including entropion and cataracts, as well as ear infections related to water submergence. Cases of epilepsy and hair loss are also observed.

Our Irish Water Spaniel owners have uploaded 6 photos

Our Irish Water Spaniel owners' thoughts

Added on 05/08/2018
Joined 20/12/2012
From Herts, United Kingdom

Jack suffers from minor epilepsy had it since 3 years old, but changing his diet, hes not had any attacks for months, They are a special breed , so loving, disobediant, funny, counter surfing dogs, and very addictive , once you have one you never get any other breed

Added on 19/09/2019
Joined 17/09/2019
From Lancashire, United Kingdom

Had this breed for over 30 years, they are challenging but very amusing!

Added on 01/10/2021
Joined 14/02/2020
From West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

A bundle of fun - well named as she has an absolute obsession with water even getting in the shower with everyone!