Irish Water Spaniel (Sporting Group)
The Irish Water Spaniel is one member of the sporting group that does everything with enthusiasm and vigor. These dogs absolutely love to run for hours at a time, swim, play, and hunt. The Irish Water Spaniel also has a funny side, and tends to clown around when having a good time.
In the mix of these wonderful characteristics, this breed has a high rating in terms of training ability and makes an excellent watchdog. A bit stubborn and quite independent, the Irish Water Spaniel tends to be reserved around strange people and other pets, but is generally good around children.
A Brief History Of The Irish Water Spaniel
One of the most distinctive members of the spaniel group, not to mention one of the oldest, the Irish Water Spaniel is reported to have been depicted in various manuscripts from as long as 1,000 years ago.
During the 1100s, there is mention of these dogs by various names, including Rat Tail Spaniels, Shannon Spaniels, and Whip Tail Spaniels. The name Irish Water Spaniel has been found to be the reference to the breed from approximately 1600 and on. Sometime during that period researches documented that an Irish Water Spaniel was given as a gift to the King of France.
Now we do not exactly know whether or not the breed existed in different varieties at this time or if there were just similar breeds that resembled one another. However, what we do know is that in Ireland there were various similar spaniels in existence. They were the Tweed Spaniels, Southern Irish Spaniels, and the Northern Irish Spaniels.
The one type of spaniel listed above that is said to be mostly responsible to the influence of today’s Irish Water Spaniel is the Southern Irish Spaniel, which is also known as McCarthy’s Breed. The breed was part of the show ring by the late 1800s, in both the United States and Britain, and by 1875 it was considered the most popular dog of the time. Today, the Irish Water Spaniel is rarely found as a common pet or in the show ring.
Upkeep Requirements For The Irish Water Spaniel
Sporting dogs need plenty of daily exercise and the Irish Water Spaniel must have mental exercise to match. Plan on giving your Water Spaniel at least one hour of daily stimulation each day. They are inquisitive and sensitive to your needs which makes them easy to train. And a well-trained spaniel makes a great watch dog.
Like all dogs, the Irish Water Spaniel will lose its coat ever so often, but because of its curly coat the hairs do not fall off; instead they become trapped in the other hairs. This means regular brushing so that the dog’s coat does not form cords and mats.
The average life span of a healthy Irish Water Spaniel is between ten and twelve years. The only two major health issues that are common in this breed are otitis externa and CHD. Minor concerns include distichiasis. Rarely seen is nail-bed disease, seizures, and megaesophagus. Veterinarians suggest that all Irish Water Spaniel dogs get tested for hip problems.