Irish Water Spaniel: character and breeding

Irish Water Spaniel: character and breeding

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Irish Water Spaniel, a dog to "catch" by the tail if you want to recognize it without fear of making a mistake. Yes, because this breed obviously coming from green Ireland, belongs to the group of water dogs but among them, as well as among all the members of the other groups, it is the only one to have a "hooked" tail that is difficult to describe. Better look at it in the photos and hear the story of this Irish Water Spaniel.

Irish Water Spaniel: origins

It is not clear where this breed comes from, genetically speaking. Born in Ireland, it is also called Irischer Wasserspaniel, but there are only vague assumptions about its origins. The less vague one tells that the Irish Water Spaniel derives from Persian dogs that arrived in the green island of northern Europe via Spain. One thing has always been certain, since the 1600s at least, these dogs were primarily used for hunting game.

To give some reasonable clues about the "precedents" of the Irish Water Spaniel it is always the rat tail that he found himself when he was gradually selected over the years. The fact that it is a unique feature suggests that the modern breed has an indigenous Irish ancestor. Other traces in the history of this dog are the great successes collected in numerous exhibitions that were held in the second half of the 19th century. Then, finally, a certain date: in 1890 it was founded

L'Irish Water Spaniel Club by a group of enthusiasts. It is an official association, however, not one of amateur fans, and for over a century it has been committed to promoting the interests of the breed.

Irish Water Spaniel: puppies

The puppies are also characterized by this tail which immediately and throughout their life will label them as belonging to the breed of Irish Water Spaniel. It is defined both "Whip tail" (whip tail) and "rat tail" (rat tail), there is no official definition also because there is no other dog breed in the world that even comes close to having this form "attached" to the rear. It is short and smooth, strong at the root, where it is covered with curly hair, then gradually tapers until it is reduced to a final tip.

We mentioned the hair, I take this opportunity to describe how the coat then continues on the rest of the body of theIrish Water Spaniel. They are all dense and thick curls except on the throat where there is an area with smooth hair, in the shape of a "V" which should be imagined starting from the back of the jaw to the breastbone.

On the contrary, around the forelimbs this breed shows abundant fringes, the hindquarters must instead have a short hair on the front face, on the other they are fringed down to the feet. As for the colors allowed by the standard ofIrish Water Spaniel, only one appears: the dark brown, called "flea".

Irish Water Spaniel: appearance

For the rest of the body, tail aside, with theIrish Water Spaniel we are in the presence of an elegant dog with a body always well upright and who can boast a strong constitution. It is not very slender, indeed, it cannot be said that it rises with its legs, it is compact and stocky. Starting from the trunk all in one piece and not threadlike.

As for the size, the Irish Water Spaniel is a dog that can be defined as medium in size. It is average in size with a height at the withers ranging from 53 to 59 cm for males, slightly less for females: 51 to 56 cm.

We've talked a lot about the tail, but the head? Less characteristic but it is covered with longer hair on the skull and shorter on the muzzle, therefore it remains a peculiarity. Moreover, the nose is not classically black as often happens, it is dark but its color varies in relation to that of the coat. The neck is sturdy and very consistent with the squat structure of the trunk, the eyes are quite small but stand out because of their lively and intelligent expression. Their color ranges from dark amber to dark hazelnut.

From the head, with a low attachment, the ears and are very long, drooping and in contact with the cheeks. As a shape they can be called rounded, but it cannot be said precisely because they are covered with long curly hair.

Irish Water Spaniel: character

As we learned by investigating the origins of this dog, we are talking about animals devoted to hunting for centuries and centuries, so the character is unquestionably marked by this historical experience and tradition. The fact remains that the'Irish Water Spaniel is now also considered a good family dog ​​that knows how to behave. Not only that, with children he has a reputation as a good entertainer: he plays with pleasure and joy, without making us worry because he does not show signs of aggression or nervousness.

If he is a very pleasant and sociable dog in the family, we cannot say the same thing if we see him dealing with someone he does not know. On those occasions he does the reserved, but not aggressive. He's on his own waiting to see if it's worth making friends. And to wag the tail.

Irish Water Spaniel: breeding

In Italy there are not many breeding farms that deal with the Irish Water Spaniel, but there are some. Among these I noticed Neverland in Campiglione (MS). To see its activity and its history, you can consult the official website ( also to plan a possible visit or just for more information.

Irish Water Spaniel: price

As for the price of the puppies Irish Water Spaniel, we can only give an indicative but not significant figure, given that the specimens that run in Italy are very few. On the Enci site, few units appear in the census. A puppy can cost around 800 euros, but for certainty and explanations, it is best to contact the kennel. Or take advantage of it for a trip to the beautiful and green Ireland where certainly the breed is more widespread.

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Video: Dog Breeds - Irish water spaniel. Dogs 101 Animal Planet (February 2023).