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Irish Water Spaniel


General Information - Irish Water Spaniel


Group:
gundog

Size:
medium

Lifespan:
10-12 years

Exercise:
medium

Grooming:
medium

Trainability:
medium

Watchdog ability:
high

Protection ability:
medium

Area of Origin:
Ireland

Date of Origin:
1800s

Other Names:
none

Original Function:
Water retrieving



History

The Irish Water Spaniel is the only survivor of the original water spaniels in Ireland. It dates to the early 1800s, with its likely ancestors possibly including the Curly-Coated Retriever, Portuguese Water Spaniels, Poodles, and/or the Irish Setter; on the other hand, some historians claim that this dog is one of the ancestors of the Poodle. It was used as a water fowl retriever, and being a tireless and strong swimmer, it could easily handle the retrieval of large geese from the water.

Temperament

The Irish Water Spaniel is intelligent, easy to train, and possesses a desire to please. Many are loving family dogs, but some are one person dogs. It can have a mind of its own, but generally is easy-going and gentle. Some are good guard dogs. It generally does well with other pets if properly introduced, but tends to be fairly dog-aggressive. Reserved and protective with strangers, it should be well-socialised as a puppy and does best with older considerate children. The Irish Water Spaniel is a quiet dog, barking only when necessary to warn the family. An excellent swimmer, he has considerable stamina and drive, and a very good nose. Some are timid, nervous, or suspicious, and can be prone to snapping when startled or annoyed.

Upkeep

This active, athletic, inquisitive breed needs lots of mental and physical exertion to keep it from becoming frustrated or bored. An hour of free running or strenuous playing a day is necessary to satisfy its needs. Obedience work can also be helpful in giving it the mental challenges it enjoys. The curly coat needs brushing and combing two to three times a week, plus scissoring every few months. Like all dogs, it loses its coat periodically; however, the hairs tend to become trapped in the other hairs rather than fall off. If not combed out, they will form mats and cords. This breed may drool and slobber.