Irish Water Spaniels


Irish Water Spaniels

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Breed Notes

Although the "Irish Spaniel" was mentioned in documents as early as 17 A.D., the ancestry of the Irish Water Spaniel as it exists today is not known. The modern breed appeared in the 1830s in the kennels of Justin McCarthy who never revealed the sources of his breeding program. Used to hunt waterfowl, the Irish Water Spaniel is a strong swimmer and will dive for wounded birds that otherwise would be lost to the hunter. He is the largest of the spaniel family. He was recognized in the United States in 1878. The first sporting dog to win an obedience title in the United States was the Irish Water Spaniel.
The Irish Water Spaniel has initiative and courage. He is a good family dog and has been called the "clown of the spaniel family." He loves to swim and should be allowed to as often as possible.
The skull of the Irish Water Spaniel is rather large with a high dome which is covered with a characteristic topknot of curly hair. His muzzle is strong and long with a level bite. The hazel colored eyes are medium in size and without eyebrows. The ears are lobular in shape and set low on the skull. They are long enough, when pulled forward, to reach the tip of the nose. They are covered with curls that extend two or more inches below the end of the ear itself. The neck is long, arched and muscular. The chest is deep but not too wide. The body is of medium length with a short, muscular loin. The hindquarters are slightly higher than the shoulder. His legs are strong, muscular and straight which gives him the power to swim against strong currents. The feet are large with a thick covering of coat over and between the toes. The tail is called a "rat-tail" in that it is thick at the root and narrows to a fine point. It should not be long enough to reach the hock. A short curly coat covers the neck, body and part way down the tail. Longer loose curls cover the legs, ears and on the topknot. The face and end of tail are covered with smooth coat. The coat sheds water and enables the dog to work in icy waters. Coat color is solid liver. Average height is between 21 and 24 inches. Average weight is between 45 and 65 pounds.



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