The Irish Water Spaniel is a medium-sized gundog that originates in Ireland and was originally bred to retrieve game birds from water. It is the largest and one of the oldest of spaniel breeds. It has the general appearance of a smart, strongly built, compact dog that possesses strong hunting abilities, endurance and versatility, an all-around gundog fit for all types of shooting, particularly in wildfowling. The Irish Water Spaniel is often described as alert, cheerful, initially aloof but affectionate to its owner, energetic, intelligent with a charming sense of humour and a steady disposition. Among the easily recognizable physical characteristics of the breed are long, oval-shaped ears that hang close to cheeks covered with long twisted curls, and a rat tail (short, thick at root and tapers to a fine point with around 10cms covered by close curls then stops abruptly, with the remainder bare or covered by short fine hairs). The coat is a densely rich, dark liver with purplish tint (puce-liver) made of tight, crisp ringlets free from woolliness which covers the entire body and adorned by a “top-knot” above the head. The ideal height of dogs is between 53cm and 58cm while bitches are between 51cm to 56cm in height.
All dog breeds have different levels of intellect. Some dog breeds; working dogs in particular, are very independent thinkers and have been evolved to be very intelligent. Typically, a highly intelligent dog does well in obedience training and other activities. A highly intelligent dog can be very demanding and do require lots of physical and mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a relatively laid-back dog, that doesn’t require lots of mental and physical stimulation, then you must fully understand the level of intelligence of your dog breed of choice.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, you must fully understand their intellect levels and their specific levels of energy. To keep your dog well-balanced and happy, their needs must be met and maintained.
All dog breeds have different needs when it comes to the level of exercise they require. For the high energy dogs; which are your typical working dogs, they have a lot of energy and require lots of daily exercise along with plenty of mental stimulation. A highly energetic dog breed would suit an individual or family that is equally as active and loves the outdoors. There are also breeds that have relatively low exercise needs, such as toy dog breeds. Although they require daily exercise and mental stimulation, they’re just as happy chilling at home with their loved ones. This type of dog breed would suit an individual or family that prefers the peace and quiet and relaxation.
Before deciding on your chosen dog breed, Mypetzilla recommends that you research the exercise needs and whether you’re well equipped before committing to buying or adopting a particular dog breed.
There are several dog breeds that are known and potentially predisposed to developing health related conditions. Sensible breeding can help prevent the onset of health related conditions and this should always be taken into condition when researching your dog breed of choice. Before committing to a dog, you should speak to the breeder about any health related conditions that may affect the dog you’re looking to buy or adopt. You can also request to see any test results from genetic testing.
There are many dog breeds that tolerate children really well and are not affected by the constant noise and need for play-time. However, there are some dog breeds that don’t do very well with children and can become frustrated and snappy. That being said, all children should be shown how to handle and care for a dog in their home and should always be supervised when playing. As much as a dog can become annoyed and snappy with a younger child, the child can also become less tolerant and misbehaved towards the dog.
Mypetzilla recommends that you always supervise play-time between your children and dog. Children need to respect the boundaries and feeding time for the dog and likewise for the child. We also strongly advise that play-time doesn’t get out of control and too rough which can cause injury to both child and dog.
There are lots of dog breeds that are well suited to living in an apartment. It’s worthwhile noting that you need to check that you’re allowed dogs in your building before committing to bringing one home. If you do decide to own a dog and are living in an apartment, then you must make sure that they have plenty of room to roam around and frequent walks outside to prevent them from becoming bored and depressed.
Mypetzilla recommends that you check as to whether you’re allowed dogs in your apartment building and to fully ensure your apartment is dog proof before committing fully to bringing a dog home.
All dog breeds shed to some extent, some more than others. With this, all potential dog owners should be aware of this, as it will be a matter of putting up with some hair or lots of hair being left around the house. Depending on the dog breed, there are certain times during the year where some dog breeds shed the most and this is typically around spring and autumn. However, there are some dog breeds that shed all year round.
If you’re very house-proud, they you may want to choose a dog breed that sheds very little. Mypetzilla strongly recommends that you fully research your dog breed of choice and their shedding levels before committing.
All dog breeds require different levels of grooming. Some dog breeds are easier to maintain than others and only require a weekly brush to help keep their coat in good condition. There are some dog breeds that require regular trips to the grooming parlour and this can come at a huge cost. Either way, all dog breeds require their coat and nails to be maintained and cared for.
Mypetzilla strongly advices that potential owners research the grooming needs and associated costs with their desired dog breed before fully committing.
Barking is a necessity for your dog to communicate. However, it can also be a nuisance to yourself and fellow neighbours if it’s not kept under control. If you live in an apartment, then you’re better off choosing a dog breed that doesn’t bark as much. If you live further out and far from civilisation, then it’s worthwhile looking into a dog breed that does bark and will bark to alert you of any other company on your property.
Mypetzilla advices that you research the behaviours of your dog breed of choice and whether this would work for you and your family. It’s worth noting that dogs can be trained to bark less and this will take a lot of effort and training from the owner.
Majority dog breeds form very close relationships with their owners and as a result can become very stressed when left alone for a period of time. If a dog is suffering with separation anxiety then they’re very likely to become destructive around the home as a way of dealing with their anxieties. Dog breeds that do form strong bonds with their owners are better accustomed to a household where one member of the family remains home, whilst the others are out, this is to help avoid further anxieties and destructive behaviours.
Mypetzilla recommends that all potential owners research their dog breed of choice on their bonding abilities and how well-adjusted they are to being left alone at home. It’s also worth noting that you should never leave your dog for longer than 4 hours alone at home.
There are certain dogs breeds that have very high intellect and therefore easier to train than other dog breeds. There is also a downside to this; as fast as they learn the new trick or command, they can easily pick up bad habits just as quick. Other dog breeds that don’t rank as high on the intellect scale require patience and plenty of reward treats from their owners during training.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, Mypetzilla advices you to fully research your dog breed of choice and their level of training needs.
All dog breeds have different energy levels. The working dog breed has one of the highest energy levels in comparison to the low-energy dog’s breeds such as the Toy dog breed group. To keep a dog truly happy, healthy and well-balanced, their energy levels must be met.
High-energy dog breeds need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. High energy dog breeds would suit an active family or person. Dog breeds that are considered as low-energy, love to spend the majority of their time relaxing and sleeping in their favourite, comfy spot. A low-energy dog breed would suit an individual that equally loves the quiet life and relaxing lifestyle. Of course, low-energy dogs still need their daily walks and mental stimulation, just not as much as a high-energy dog breed.
Mypetzilla recommends that potential owner research fully on the type of dog breed that would suit their existing lifestyle and to also take into consideration the dog breeds energy levels and exercise requirements.
Before you decide on what dog breed would be suitable for you and your family, you must consider whether they’re a friendly dog breed and if you already have other pets within the household. For homes that already have dogs and other domestic pets, then it’s wise to choose a dog breed that has a friendly personality and temperament.
There are some dog breeds that mix well with other dog breeds and there are others that don’t suit one another and this could potentially cause issues later on down the line.
Another important point to consider is whether the dog breed of choice is friendly towards people and children.
Mypetzilla recommends to research fully on the right dog breed for your family and to also consider their temperament and characteristics.
The exact history and origin of the Irish Water Spaniel is clouded in obscurity but archaeological digs done in Ireland during the 1930s revealed the remains of dogs similar to the modern-day Irish Water Spaniel. These remains dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries AD proves that the breed has a very ancient lineage. Most dog experts believe that it is probable that the development of the modern breed dates back to the late 1100s and it is probable that the Irish Water Spaniel developed from crosses of some or all of these breeds: the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, native Irish Spaniel, French Barbet, Irish Setter and the English Water Spaniel. It is reported that Sir Robert Cecil, the 1st Earl of Salisbury sent an Irish Water Spaniel to the King of France in 1598. Edward Topsell also described the Irish Water Spaniel in his book “History of Four-footed Beasts” in 1607, while the first painting of the breed was made in 1841. It was a dog named “Boatswain” who lived between the early 1830s to 1852, that is widely regarded as being the foundation of all the Irish Water Spaniels that we know today.
The Irish Water Spaniel is regarded as an alert, cheerful, energetic, intelligent, and lively breed. It has the natural instinct of wanting to please its master and has a reputation of sometimes being a “clown dog” of the spaniel world. It also makes a good guard dog with proper training and will protect its human at all costs. However, it is usually not an aggressive dog and will not usually bite unless provoked or threatened. It has a deep, fierce-sounding bark which the dog use to warn strangers and would-be attackers.
Training the Irish Water Spaniel is on the easy to moderate side of the scale. It is an intelligent breed, always wanting to please its owner, and has a keen sense of working as a team member which makes it relatively easy to train and discipline. A lot of owners train their Irish Water Spaniels not only in hunt tests and field trials but also in obedience trials, rally obedience, dog agility contests, tracking trials, flyball, or in the conformation show ring. Training and socialisation should be done early in the dog’s life in order to raise a well-balanced adult Irish Water Spaniel.
Grooming the Irish Water Spaniel involves thorough combing of the coat at least every 1 to 2 weeks. Combing or brushing helps promote proper blood circulation which keeps the skin healthy and free from diseases. Trimming should be done every 6 to 8 weeks to keep the coat neat-looking. Regular checking of the ears, teeth, and nails is also necessary to prevent allergies and other irritants from harming the dog.
The Irish Water Spaniel has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. This is an average for dogs of similar size. The breed is prone to the following health issues:
Major issues include:
Although the Irish Water Spaniel is an active breed, it will also be happy to snooze on the couch all day. However, regular long walks or an hour of daily exercises are essential for the breed in order to stay strong and healthy. An insufficiently exercised dog, like most breeds, can develop unwanted (sometimes destructive) behaviour which can cause problems around the house or even with neighbours. Some dogs channel boredom through digging, chewing, hyperactivity, and excessive barking. The Irish Water Spaniel can live in an apartment as long as it is given sufficient exercises regularly.
Individual dogs have individual personalities. While some Irish Water Spaniels may be all-around people-loving dogs, some may be wary of strangers. Conversely, not all Irish Water Spaniels can be trusted to get along with other canines and household pets, but like with other dogs, early and proper socialisation is the key to correcting this behaviour. In general, it is usually excellent with older children who knows how to treat and respect a dog. However, adult supervision is necessary whenever the breed is around very small children.
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