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Irish Water Spaniel

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Irish water spaniel is the largest and the oldest of all spaniels. It has a very characteristic appearance with long loose curls covering the entire dog except for the face. It is an active breed that requires quite a bit of exercise and training daily. Irish water spaniel derives from Ireland where it is used for hunting.

Character and behaviour
Irish water spaniel is a happy, cheerful, and intelligent dog. It will do everything to please its owner, which makes them easily trained. In addition, it enjoys having a job to do for its owner.

The Irish water spaniel may be reserved toward strangers and it is important to socialize it while it is still a puppy. In this way they can easily associate with other pets and children. In regards to children it is important that they respect the dog.

Irish water spaniel requires a lot of exercise and training each day. It is an excellent swimmer with great stamina. It is suitable for the active family and it bonds with its owner. It is important to an Irish water spaniel that all family members demonstrate leadership.

History of the breed
As the name implies the Irish water spaniel derives from Ireland. However, knowledge of its origin and which breeds were used in the development is limited. In the 17th century descriptions of different water spaniels existed. And it is on the basis of these that the Irish water spaniel was developed.

It is thought that the poodle, Irish setter, curly coated retriever, barbet, or Portuguese water dog may have been involved in the development. Irish water spaniel was developed for hunting on land and in water. In Ireland it is still used for hunting.

Appearance, grooming and health
The Irish water spaniel has a distinct look with its curly coat covering the entire dog except for the face. The ears are long, drop-shaped, and hanging down. The nose is big and dark brown. The eyes are small and almond shaped. The tail is long and set low. The front legs are straight. The body is barrel shaped.

Irish water spaniel is 20-23 inches tall and weighs 45-60 pounds.

The coat is reddish brown and curled. It has two layers. The inner coat is dense and woollen and helps isolate the dog. Weekly brushing with a comb is necessary. It only sheds moderately thus making it good for allergic persons. It may be inclined to suffer from hip dysplasia, eye problems, or ear infections. Life expectancy is 10-12 years.

What you should know about the breed:

  • A cheerful dog
  • Gets attached to its owner
  • Requires a lot of exercise and training daily. May be reserved towards strangers
  • Enjoys having a job to do

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