As the name suggests, the Irish Water Spaniel was originally bred for use as a water retriever, assisting hunters in retrieving small game from rivers and lakes. Although a relatively rare breed these days, Water Spaniels make for great companion dogs, especially for those who love the outdoors. One of the oldest and largest breeds in the Spaniel family, these dogs are distinctive by their long, curly coat, which is usually seen coloured liver/puce with a slight purple tinge. Energetic and strong-willed, Water Spaniels aim to please and as such are relatively easy dogs to train.
Lifestyle and Living Environment
Independent and sometimes stubborn, Water Spaniels are not recommended for first time owners, despite being relatively easy to train. An apartment won't cut it for this breed - a house with at least a medium sized backyard is essential in ensuring that their exercise needs of between 30 and 60 minutes per day are met. If you have a pool or live near a body of water this is also a bonus, Water Spaniels love nothing more than a swim on a hot summers day. Although not recommended for young children, Water Spaniels will get along well with slightly older kids provided that early socialisation takes place. This is also the case for people with other smaller pets in the house - if this familiarisation does not take place, these dogs could potentially pose a threat to their welfare.
Common Health Issues
Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts, Follicular Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Allergies, Entropion, Paronychia, Distichiasis, Megaesophagus, Epilepsy, Vaccination Sensitivity, Drug Sensitivity.