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Irish Water Spaniel: Temperament, Exercise, Health

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About Irish Water Spaniel

Country of Origin, History of Irish Water Spaniels

Irish water spaniel, breed of sporting dog developed in Ireland in the 1830s for retrieving game; its ancestors were other curly coated water retrievers. It is not known from which other breeds Irish Water Spaniels were developed. All manner of dogs have been suggested including: the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Barbet, generic old water dog, the now-extinct English Water Spaniel as well as the Northern and Southern Water Spaniels, but whether Irish Water Spaniels are antecedents, descendants, or mixtures of these other breeds is a matter of some speculation.

In an effort to produce a dog that could excel at rat baiting and rabbit coursing, Black and Tan Terriers were crossed with the Whippet.

By 1860 Manchester had become the breed centre for these new terriers, and so they became known as Manchester Terriers. Because of their demeanor, they were called the Gentleman's Terrier in Victorian times.

Irish Water Spaniel Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Irish Water Spaniel the right breed for you?

Is the Irish Water Spaniel the right breed for you and your family?

Find out by using our Free Dog Breed Selector Tool

Check Your Irish Water Spaniel's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Irish Water Spaniel's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Irish Water Spaniel training methods.

Is your Irish Water Spaniel dominating over you?

Does your Irish Water Spaniel bark unnecessarily? Does your Irish Water Spaniel come to you when you call? Download a FREE Report on Dog Dominance for you and your Irish Water Spaniel and learn how to control your dog.

Do you make these mistakes with your Irish Water Spaniel?

Are you inadvertently snow-balling bad behavior in your Irish Water Spaniel? Evaluate your Dog Training Style from our Free Tool and learn how best to deal with your dog.

Irish Water Spaniel Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Irish Water Spaniel needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Irish Water Spaniel Calorie Calculator.

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General Appearance of the Dog

The Irish Water Spaniel is a sturdy dog native to Ireland. The IWS has long, loose curls growing down from the head which often covers the eyes. They have a "beard" growing at the back of the throat and a curled, liver ("puce")-coloured coat. They have a smooth "rat tail". The face is entirely smooth-coated and, unlike the poodle, should require little or no trimming to stay that way. An IWS is ruggedly built with webbed feet to aid in its powerful swimming.


The coat, consists of dense curls and sheds very little. The colour is liver/puce and has a very definite purple tinge. The very curly-coated Irish Water Spaniel also has a dense undercoat to insulate it in cold water.

Height: 20-23"

Weight: 45-65 lbs.

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Free Irish Water Spaniel Training Secrets

Free Course on Irish Water Spaniel Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Irish Water Spaniel Personality Traits

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Temperament of the Breed

Irish waster Spaniels are born clowns with a mind of their own, but are gentle and fun loving. Some are shy and nervous and prefer quieter environment.

Living Conditions

Bred to be a hunting dog that enjoys swimming and retrieving, he has great stamina and a very good nose and is always ready for a walk or swim. Therefore, he needs lots of time outdoors in a well-fenced yard.

Are they suited to kids?

He should be well socialized as a pup and does better around older children than young children.


The Irish Water Spaniel requires a trainer who is a firm leader. Since they may refuse commands from some family members – they can be ‘one-person’ dogs

Starting obedience training early and keeping it fun are important to make them family dogs.

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Free Irish Water Spaniel Training Secrets

Free Course on Irish Water Spaniel Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

Be sure parents were checked for thyroid problems. This breed drools.

They easily get ear infections, especially after swimming. Watch for eye problems.

They need a professional groomer every 6 weeks; however, they don’t shed much and have little dander so are fairly hypo-allergenic.

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years.

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Free Irish Water Spaniel Training Secrets

Free Course on Irish Water Spaniel Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

Sign Up Here

National Breed Clubs

Breed Club:

Rescue Link:

Group: Sporting Group

AKC Popularity Ranking: 159

Train Your Irish Water Spaniel To Listen To You

Get Instant Access to Your Training Now - For Free

Sign up for our Free Irish Water Spaniel Mini Course to have a housebroken, obedient dog that happily comes to you every time you call.

You'll learn new commands to obedience-train your dog as well as how to housebreak your dog in 6 days or less.

You'll also learn how to eliminate bad habits like barking, nipping or biting, jumping, or pulling on the leash.Here's just s small fraction of what else you'll learn in the course:

  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

  • 3 dangerous mistakes that most IWS owners make when they are trying to potty train their dogs.

  • The 2 main reasons why your dog barks excessively and how to control its excessive barking.

  • How to obedience train your Irish Water Spaniel to permanently end behavioral problems like Jumping, Aggression, Pulling on Leash.

  • A surprisingly easy way to teach your dog cool new tricks.

  • How to improve your dog's lifespan and keep it from getting overly heavy with a healthy and nutritious diet.

  • Getting Pro help fast - how to get access to our expert trainers when you need them most.

  • One hidden psychological trigger that all Irish Water Spaniels have... that practically allows you to "analyze" and "control" your dog's every action.

  • Priority access to the free online seminars conducted by our training experts.

Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers IWS information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, IWSs have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Irish Water Spaniel training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

Here are a few of our experts:

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