Breed Information Centre

Spaniel (Irish Water)


Illustration of Spaniel (Irish Water)

The tallest of all the Spaniels, the Irish Water Spaniel is a breed of great antiquity. He delights in water and is an admirable and enthusiastic retriever. He derives considerable intelligence from the Poodle, which has obviously played a significant part in his ancestry. Although tall, he is always well balanced. A dark liver in colour, his coat is composed of dense, tight ringlets, which cover every bit of him except his muzzle, the front of his neck and the major portion of his tail.

The Irish Water Spaniel is something of an enigma: although in Britain he is shown as a Spaniel, he works in field trials as a retriever. The breed attracted attention when show classes were first put on for him at Birmingham in 1862.

He is blessed with an affectionate disposition, and a distinct sense of humour. He is not a big eater for his size, and makes both a good worker in the field, especially for a wildfowler, and a lovable family dog, revelling in all the exercise that is on offer.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
More than 2 hours per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
More than once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Large House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Gundog Breed Group

Dogs that were originally trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. This group is divided into four categories - Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters - although many of the breeds are capable of doing the same work as the other sub-groups. They make good companions, their temperament making them ideal all-round family dogs.

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