Irish Water Spaniel


The largest Spaniel, the Irish Water is an interesting blend of several dogs: a Poodle-like coat, a Retriever’s fetching instincts, a Spaniel’s affectionate nature, and a Sporting dog’s love of water. The Irish Water Spaniel has a smooth face framed with curls and its body covered in dense, water-repellent ringlets, ending with a signature “rat tail.” An adept water retriever, the breed entered the American and British show rings in the late 1800s. Though popular for a time, the Irish Water Spaniel is relatively rare these days.


Medium; females 21 to 23 inches, 45 to 58 pounds; males 22 to 24 inches, 55 to 65 pounds.




Energetic, enthusiastic, even clownish. Can be independent and stubborn; needs patient, firm training. Alert and inquisitive; reserved with strangers.

Energy level:

High as puppy.

Best owner:

Hunter, outdoorsy type.


Daily mental and physical exercise (runs, strenuous play, obedience sessions), brushing and combing two times a week, scissoring every few months.

Life expectancy:

10 to 12 years.