The Irish Water Spaniel resembles a large poodle due to the curly hair covering its body. It has been bred, as a pointing, hunting, and retrieving dog. It is a skilled swimmer and known for retrieving waterfowl and other game. This dog likes to entertain and makes an ideal show dog.
Size and personality
They are the smallest breed in the spaniel family. It is one of the oldest breeds too. Males are 22 to 24 inches in height from the shoulder and weighs from 55 to 65 pounds. The female is smaller and weighs less. They range from 21 to 23 inches and weight 45 to 60 pounds.
These dogs are very independent and intelligent. They are trainable but not geared to the first-time dog owner. Irish Water Spaniels are alert, curious, and reserved with strangers. An Irish Water Spaniel will not bark very often.
Puppies need socialization and should be given a special training class to provide training. Owners need to learn the technique for training puppies. Inviting family and friends over regularly, taking the puppy to the parks, letting them exercise in the yard are all ways to help socialize them.
They need contact with children, adults, and other dogs.
History of Irish Water Spaniels
This breed began many years ago when they divided the breed into two types. They were land and water spaniels. The first painting of the breed was done in 1841.
The breed began in Ireland in the 1850s from breeding two different types of dogs. Interest in the breed for dog shows and their special hunting skills increased.
In 1974, in a published book about hunting, the dog was said to be an all-around hunting dog. All hunters have found the Irish Water Spaniel’s ability to hunt a very big asset. They hunt geese, ducks, pheasants, and fowl. Sometimes, they are used for hunting deer, and in Europe wild boar.
Exercise and general care
These dogs need a large yard to exercise in and should be exercised regularly. They should not be enclosed in an apartment or home for long periods.
Experts suggest at least an hour of running, hikes, or playing every day. When you have a large pool or live near a lake, swimming is a good exercise for the Irish Water Spaniel.
When exercising your dog, break up each session into 20-minute sessions. Puppies should be introduced to exercise once or twice a week. They suggest about 20 minutes of both exercise and play. Walk these dogs less than 1/2-mile, before they turn one year old. After a year, increase the distance to one mile.
They are excellent pointing dogs, and some have been trained to retrieve fish from streams and rivers. It is a valued hunting dog in many different countries and the United States.
Owners will need to learn to groom their dogs because the coat needs special attention.
Special tools are needed for this task. You will need a wide and medium tooth comb, pin brush, trimmer shears, thinning shears, mat separator, and nail trimmer. This is the equipment owners use when performing their grooming.
Another option is to hire a professional dog groomer. Regular grooming should begin when the dog is a puppy. Regular brushing, nail trimming, and cleaning out the ears safely should be part of a routine.
A natural brush with natural bristles is a good choice. Taking a class on how to groom your pet will help you to learn the basics.
The coat needs brushing, removing hair mats, and trimming. Some owners learn to trim the coat of their pet with scissors. This dog needs washing to keep his coat clean.
Overall, Irish Water Spaniels is a pet that requires grooming and regular maintenance. It is less likely to cause allergies in adults and children than other breeds.
Feeding the Spaniel
It is recommended that you feed an Irish Water Spaniel two and a half cups of top-quality dog food. It should be fed two meals per day. Do not feed the dog freely at any time. An all-natural blend free of preservatives, artificial colors, soy, wheat, and corn is advised by vets.
Ask your vet about a grain-free blend developed for this breed.
Natural pet foods should be a recommendation by the vet who treats your Irish Water Spaniel. Look for a formula that uses real red meat, plenty of fruits and vegetables, prebiotics, and omega-three fatty acids. This type of dog has special nutritional needs to keep it healthy.
More interesting facts about Irish Water Spaniels
Irish Water Spaniels make good guard dogs. They do not bark unless there is a reason. It is a protective dog that will not scare away young children. The dog is always alert and on guard.
They are entertaining and enjoy playing games by themselves and with people. Their creativity leads them always to want to learn new games.
This dog has webbed feet similar to ducks. This webbing helps them to swim easily. They are designed to jump into the water and swim. They make great companions for the outdoor types. The dog loves spending time in the woods, outdoors, hunting for game, and walking in nature.
An Irish Water Spaniel requires a more vigorous walk than on a leash in the neighborhood. Taking your pet on a hike in the woods, hunting, or running and playing in open spaces is what it enjoys the most. An active person is more compatible with these dogs.
There is an Irish Water Spaniel Club of America that began in 1937. The year the club began, it developed a show for the dogs and the first field trials.
The club designed obedience courses to help owners learn to teach certain dog behaviors. There are members in every state and several foreign countries.
The breed is considered rare and is respected by the AKC. The club has information for owners and potential owners on breeders, grooming, feeding, and competitions.