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AKC Meet the Breeds: Irish Water Spaniel

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

The clown of the spaniel family, the Irish Water Spaniel will think of creative ways to accomplish even the slightest of tasks. Strong and intelligent, the tallest spaniel breed possesses several unique characteristics like its liver-colored curly coat and signature "rat tail." The water-repellant double coat consists of dense, tight ringlets with a topknot of long, loose curls and a smooth face. The "rat" tail is thick and covered with curls at the base, tapering to a fine point covered with short, smooth hair. 

A Look Back
A dog of ancient lineage, there is evidence of Irish Water Spaniel-type remains going back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries AD. In the late 1100's, dogs found in southern Ireland below the River Shannon were called Shannon Spaniels, Rat-Tail Spaniels or Whip-Tail Spaniels, among other things. Records document the "Water Spagnel" with "long, rough, curled hair and a tail somewhat bare and naked." Today's IWS is a true dual-purpose hunting dog, as qualified with upland game as with waterfowl. 

Right Breed for You?
A typical Sporting dog, the Irish Water Spaniel is an active and energetic companion. He possesses the natural instinct to please, making him relatively easy to train, but regular exercise is important. Suitable for allergy sufferers, their hypoallergenic coats require brushing every few weeks and trimming every two months to neaten and shape the coat.

  • Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1884.
  • Ranging in size from 21 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and 45 to 65 pounds.
  • Water dog.

 

 

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.

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