Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

Group: Sporting Group

Origin: Ireland

– Males: 22 to 24 inches (56-61 cm)
– Females: 21 to 23 inches (53-58 cm)

– Males: 55 to 65 lbs (25-29 kgs)
– Females: 45 to 58 lbs (20-26 kgs)

Irish Water Spaniel
Poole’s Ide Mighty Quinn, (10 Weeks)

Breed Listing

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Breed Profile

The Irish Water Spaniel is alert, inquisitive and gentle with those he knows, as well as protective of his family and home. The breed is considered one of the rarer breeds but is still fairly well known. He is a natural retriever and a good swimmer.

His coat is solid liver in colour. His neck, back and sides are covered in tight, crisp ringlets; the legs have abundant hair falling in curls or waves. Characteristic to the breed is a topknot of long, loose curls. He also has a beard that grows at the back of the throat accompanied with sideburns. His “rat tail” is covered with short curls at the base and extending a few inches. Appearing as though he has been clipped, the hair is short and smooth. He is a rugged dog with webbed toes making him a powerful swimmer. He is very intelligent, rugged, bold and eager. This is an active breed, like most of the Sporting Dogs, always a willing and energetic companion.

Health Issues

Surveys have been conducted by the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America to identify health problems most often encountered in the breed. Results show that Hip Dysplasia; hypothyroidism; entropion; seizures; cancer; irregular heat seasons; ear infections; and skin and coat problems were areas of concern. There has also been some reports of breed sensitivity to ivermectin, sulfa drugs, and various forms of anesthesia.

If you are considering the adoption of a Irish Water Spaniel puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Irish Water Spaniel
Poole’s Ide Mighty Quinn, (12 Weeks)

Grooming Information

The Irish Water Spaniel’s tight double coat does shed slightly and should be thoroughly combed weekly or bi-weekly to keep the coat free of mats and promote healthy skin. In addition, scissoring is required every 6-8 weeks to shape the coat. Swimming on a regular basis helps promote the correct “ringlets” over the body. Ears, teeth and nails should also be included in the grooming routine.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

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