Irish Water Spaniel Resource

Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is a natural clown with an inquisitive, determined personality. A member of the ancient family of water dogs found in Europe, the IWS is probably closely related to the Poodle. Most IWS can be shown and worked as waterfowl retrievers, with their unusual coat of tight, crisp, water-repellent curls offering excellent protection, even in extremely cold water. The double coat is a solid liver color and needs little trimming because only the bleached ends are cut off. However, the long curls do tend to mat, so the coat should be detangled about three times a week. A topknot and a peak of curly hair between the eyes are this breed’s hallmarks. A smooth face and a tapering “rat” tail contrast with the overall curliness. Consider an IWS if you have a large home with a fenced yard. Males can be up to 24 inches high and weigh up to 65 pounds. Females should be 1 inch shorter and weigh about 50 pounds. Irish Water Spaniels can be very protective of their people and property, and are smart, trainable dogs with eager personalities. They need moderate daily exercise and enjoy playing with children. A place to swim and romp, and a chance to hug its owners are the answers to making an IWS a happy family dog.

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Breed Details

Country of Origin:
Medium Dog Breed
Solid liver.

Double coat, covered with tight, crisp ringlets; smooth face.


Brush and detangle three times a week. Little to no shedding.

Life Expectancy:
10 to 12 years
AKC Group:
Sporting Group
UKC Group:
Gun Dog
21 to 24 inches at the shoulder
45 to 65 pounds
Use Today
Water retrieving