Irish Water Spaniel

Traditionally intended for hunting waterfowl, the Irish Water Spaniel can easily adapt to most hunting disciplines, but also to the family, provided he is well trained and his owners are sufficiently attentive. Unfortunately, today he is in danger of extinction as the number of specimens is continually decreasing.

Height 51 to 59 cm
Weight 22 to 26 kg
Life expectancy 10 to 12 years
Hair Loss Low
Excercise Need High
Home country Republic of Ireland

Quick Overview of the Irish Water Spaniel


  • Feisty and enduring
  • Bold in the hunt
  • Playful and lively with the family
  • Very reserved with strangers


  • Strong build
  • Compact and slightly stocky silhouette
  • Very elegant and proud air
  • Pretty dark brown truffle


  • Ears to monitor
  • No particular pathology

Temperament of the Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is spirited, hardy and bold on the hunt. He is playful and lively with his family. He is nevertheless reserved with strangers.

He is also intelligent, proud and very loyal to his owner and family.

His education must be firm and include good socialization.

chien d'eau irlandais personnalité

Breed Appearance

Irish water dog

The Irish Water Spaniel is a compact, stocky dog of great strength.

His athletic physique gives him a very elegant and proud look. He is rather low on legs and his constitution shows all his character, ardor and great vitality.


Between 53 and 59 cm (20.87 to 23.23 inches) for the male
Between 51 and 56 cm (20.08 to 22.05 inches) for the female


Between 22 and 26 kg (48.50 to 57.32 pounds) for the male
Between 22 and 26 kg (48.50 to 57.32 pounds) for the female


The color of his coat is generally chestnut or dark brown, a shade commonly known as "flea brown".


His coat has thick, tight, frizzy curls.

Fringes are usually found on front and hind legs, descending to the paws.

A v-shaped smooth hair runs down the throat, from the back of the mandible to the sternum.


His dome-shaped head has a gently sloping stop. His small almond-shaped eyes are a color ranging from dark amber to dark hazelnut.

His very long hanging ears are lobe-shaped and are set along his cheeks. His nose is dark brown in total harmony with the coat.

His long, thin tail, like a "rat tail", hardly reaches the hock.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 8, section 3 and is #124

Characteristics of the Irish Water Spaniel

Does this dog suit your lifestyle?

Every dog breed has its own characteristics. However, the actual character of a dog can vary from one to another within the same breed.

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Life in an apartment
Good first dog
Tolerates solitude
Tolerates cold weather
Tolerates hot weather
Friendly with children
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other animals
Hair loss
Drooling level
Easy to care for
Robust health
Easy to train
Tendency to bark
Tendency to nibble
Instinct to hunt
Adventurous spirit
Energy level
Level of intensity
Need for exercise

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Irish Water Spaniel puppy: between and
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder

Irish Water Spaniel puppies near me

Tips About this breed

He is a magnificent specimen that requires a lot of attention. This spirited and bold hunting dog requires special care.

Rather reserved with strangers, he needs a firm and adequate education as well as very early socialization.

He can be compatible with children because he is a real entertainer who loves to play, but his education must be uncompromising, especially if he has to live with young children.

He needs to know his place in the family and socialize as early as possible.

He can easily become the best companion with a good education because he is very intelligent and affectionate when well trained.

However, he is not really compatible with city life because he likes the great outdoors and the freedom to run at will, thus satisfying his great need for exercise.

Health of the Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is a robust dog that is not affected by any particular pathology.

His constitution is generally excellent and he is rarely ill.

However, his ears should be watched carefully because they are sometimes sensitive to ear infections. No other particular problems affect him and he enjoys a good life expectancy.


His hanging and curly ears should be inspected regularly.

His pretty coat with tight curls should be brushed daily.

It is necessary to plan a little time every day for his brushing because his tight hair tends to get tangled very easily.

History of this breed

The Irish Water Spaniel has very obscure origins. Native to Ireland, as his name suggests, he is apparently descended from a very old breed of native Irish dogs.

His "rat tail" is not found in any other canine specimen of the same kind. This is why some people claim that his origins are indigenous. This particular trait has earned him several nicknames such as "whip tail" and "rat tail".

It was in 1600, in Ireland, that the first certificate related to this dog was issued. It is true that dogs with impermeable hair were used in Ireland at that time, even before small pellet gun hunting was introduced.

It was towards the end of the 19th century that the breed became very successful and was recognized in dog shows. The Irish Water Spaniel was first exhibited in 1862 in Birmingham, where the club was founded in 1890 to promote the breed and enable it to grow considerably.

The Irish Water Spaniel adapts very easily to most disciplines, especially gun hunting.

His physique is adapted for hunting waterfowl. He very often stops or retrieves, even in the most impenetrable bushes.

Despite his good hunting qualities, the Irish Water Spaniel is not really suited for other functions.

He is sometimes compatible with the family, but therefore needs a good education, especially with young children. As a result, there are few specimens nowadays and the dog is threatened with extinction.

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