X
X

Irish Water Spaniel

IrishWaterSpaniel_v2

A Curly-Coated Clown

Enthusiastic, exuberant, energetic

Irish Water Spaniels are loyal, playful, and independent large dogs. Water Spaniels are reserved with strangers and are generally well behaved with children, but can be territorial with other dogs and cats. These spirited dogs are sometimes stubborn, and make ideal companions for outdoor enthusiasts, active singles, and families with older children. This breed is hypoallergenic, so they’re great for people with allergies. They require an hour of free running or strenuous exercise every day to remain happy and healthy.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:21-24 in. Weight:45-65 lb Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
4

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
2

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Irish Water Spaniels are highly active dogs that that love the water and excel at dog sports like obedience, rally, and agility.

Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Irish Water Spaniels generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Make sure to keep their floppy ears dry. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


Irish Water Spaniels are tireless, courageous, and devoted hunting dogs. With proper exercise and socialization, they make an affectionate and calm family companion. Females may be significantly smaller than males.

Positive Traits:

  • Energetic, active, and athletic

  • Alert, curious, and busy

  • Quiet—not much of a barker

  • Excellent hunting dog

  • Protective of family; good watch dog

  • Lovable, playful companion

Negative Traits:

  • Requires vigorous, frequent exercise and space to run

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

  • Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

  • Willful and stubborn if you don’t show strong leadership

  • May be territorial when it comes to cats and other dogs

  • Standoffish toward strangers



Whether you are considering adding a new Irish Water Spaniel to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Irish Water Spaniel will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Irish Water Spaniel you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues an Irish Water Spaniel could encounter:

The Irish Water Spaniel originated in Ireland during the 17th century and the first written records of the breed date back to 1607. They are the tallest of the spaniels and were bred as a dual-purpose hunting dog; hunting upland game and retrieving waterfowl. They have a dense curly coat with natural oils and webbed feet that allow them to retrieve game in cold waters. The Irish Water Spaniel is often referred to as the “clown of the spaniel family.” They are known for being mischievous, inquisitive, creative, and entertaining. This breed is spirited, playful, and willing to please, but can become headstrong, difficult to train, and overprotective.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Irish Water Spaniel shows signs of the following:

  • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

  • Cloudiness to eye lens

  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Straining to defecate, bleeding, licking of the area around the rectum, or smelly discharge

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Anxiety, destructive behaviors, vocalization, hiding, panting, drooling


  • Care

    Routine Care: Irish Water Spaniels are highly active dogs that that love the water and excel at dog sports like obedience, rally, and agility.

    Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Irish Water Spaniels generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Make sure to keep their floppy ears dry. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    Irish Water Spaniels are tireless, courageous, and devoted hunting dogs. With proper exercise and socialization, they make an affectionate and calm family companion. Females may be significantly smaller than males.

    Positive Traits:

    • Energetic, active, and athletic

    • Alert, curious, and busy

    • Quiet—not much of a barker

    • Excellent hunting dog

    • Protective of family; good watch dog

    • Lovable, playful companion

    Negative Traits:

    • Requires vigorous, frequent exercise and space to run

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

    • Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

    • Willful and stubborn if you don’t show strong leadership

    • May be territorial when it comes to cats and other dogs

    • Standoffish toward strangers



  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Irish Water Spaniel to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Irish Water Spaniel will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Irish Water Spaniel you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues an Irish Water Spaniel could encounter:

  • History

    The Irish Water Spaniel originated in Ireland during the 17th century and the first written records of the breed date back to 1607. They are the tallest of the spaniels and were bred as a dual-purpose hunting dog; hunting upland game and retrieving waterfowl. They have a dense curly coat with natural oils and webbed feet that allow them to retrieve game in cold waters. The Irish Water Spaniel is often referred to as the “clown of the spaniel family.” They are known for being mischievous, inquisitive, creative, and entertaining. This breed is spirited, playful, and willing to please, but can become headstrong, difficult to train, and overprotective.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Irish Water Spaniel shows signs of the following:

    • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Straining to defecate, bleeding, licking of the area around the rectum, or smelly discharge

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Anxiety, destructive behaviors, vocalization, hiding, panting, drooling


Irish Water Spaniel Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Irish Water Spaniel breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

Trupanion Provides Peace of Mind

  1. One Simple Plan

    To get comprehensive coverage without complexity.

  2. 90% Coverage

    To ease your financial commitment in a time of worry.

  3. No Payout Limits

    To get your pet the best care, whatever the cost.

  4. Vet Direct Pay

    So you don't wait for reimbursement checks.

processing
X

Thank you for visiting Trupanion.

pumpkin

Unfortunately, Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions are not compatible with some areas of our website.

If you wish to enroll or activate a certificate, we encourage you to upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, use Google Chrome or Safari browsers to access our website, or you can simply call us at 855.591.3100.

Otherwise, you may continue browsing the rest of our website.

opacity