The Irish Water Spaniel is part of the Spaniel family as it names indicates. The unique feature of the Irish Water Spaniel is it is the largest variety in the breed. It is also the rarest, which makes it hard to find if you are looking for one to own. Many call this dog the rat tail dog because of the lack of hair on the tail. The ears are one of the most beautiful features of the dog because of the long hair that droops down over them. These dogs love to swim and have webbed feet, which helps them with this ability.
If you are prone to allergies especially to dogs, you might want to consider this breed. The Irish Water Spaniel does not have fur but hair, which is hypoallergenic. With regular brushing and trimming, you will not have to worry about shedding as well. The coat on this dog is medium long and curly. It comes in liver color, dark brown, and puce. The hair on the ears is long and the hair on the face, back, legs and tail are short.
The Irish Water Spaniel originated in the 1800s as a hunting dog in Ireland. The Poodle and Irish Setter are both ancestors of this breed. In the early years, this dog was used for hunting because of its gentle way in picking up animals. However, the coat on this breed is hard to maintain and takes time, which hunters only tolerated until they found an alternative in the Labrador Retriever.
This dog is an energetic dog that enjoys playing with other dogs and owner. Many own this dog for its watchdog and hunting dog abilities. They are also friendly and intelligent dog, which makes them a great family pet. They are gentle with children and other animals so you won't have to worry about having this dog with others in the home. If you do bring this breed to your home with other dogs are sure to introduce them slowly especially if your dog has not been around other dogs as a pup. This is why it is important to socialize this breed with other dogs at a young age.
This dog is a great watchdog because they become weary of strangers and will bring attention to anyone who comes to your door. They are not aggressive but they will make it known that they do not know the person at your door. You can help your dog become more calm especially to people you visit often by showing your dog that there is nothing to be worried about. Soon your Irish Water Spaniel will be as loving to your company as he is to your family.
Dogs with large or long ears, which are covered or droop like the Irish Water Spaniel need their ears cleaned regularly. Dirt and wax can build up and cause infection by an overabundance of bacteria. Swimming can contribute to this problem because these swimmers can get water stuck in the ear that accumulates which can lead to ear infections. Here are some other health issues that this breed is known to have especially when they become older:
Proper exercise and regular veterinarian visits will help keep your Irish Water Spaniel in good health. This is especially true of Hip Dysplasia, which occurs most frequently in larger breeds.
Proper grooming is important in all dogs but especially for this breed. Use a steel dog brush to get through this think coat at least once a week. You don't want your dog to get matted hair or you will have to shave your dog. Don't forget about behind the ear which also has long hair that can get tangled and matted. Some dogs need professional trimming to keep the hair manageable and looking healthy. Nails need to be trimmed by you or professionally when needed. Many dogs who run on hard surfaces like concrete file their nails down enough that trimming is not needed.
Since this breed has long ears which are covered by hair. You want to clean out the ears regularly and especially after swimming or bathing. This is simply done by taking a q-tip or cotton ball and wiping the inside. If you see your dog is scratching at the ears frequently, make sure to see a veterinarian to rule out mites or infection.
Since the Irish Water Spaniel is an energetic pup you will need to let this dog get the exercise it needs. They have a history of being a hunting dog so you know they are accustomed to working and running for many hours. Plan to take at least two breaks out of your day to walk or run your Irish Water Spaniel. You will notice that your dog will be much better behaved and calm if you give it the exercise to expel some energy. Make sure you keep your dog on a leash though they would love the chance to be free and chase after things.
When training this intelligent breed you will have to use a firm voice and be consistent in your training. You must start training as a pup so that they understand why is the dominate one in the pack. This pack is your family since the dog will treat your family this way. You need to mark dominance and so do others in the family. However, only one family member will be viewed as the master.