Irish Water Spaniel​

Irish Water Spaniel

Breed Group: Sporting Group

Size Group: Large Dog Breeds


Height: F: 21-23″, M: 22-24”

Weight: F: 45-58 lbs, M: 55-68 lbs

Color: Liver

Lifespan12-13 years

Temperament: Obliging, loyal, energetic, focused



Irish Water Spaniels are best known for their tight curly hair, cascading top knot which covers the eyes, and hairless rat tail. These pups are eager to please, easy to train and wonderful with families. They have a curious nature and are known as the clown of the spaniel family.

IWS can be wonderful with other family pets, but early socialization is a must. Additionally, early socialization is key if your dog will be in a home with small children. This breed makes wonderful land and water hunting dogs, as they have excellent vision, a keen nose and first-rate marking skills.

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Celebrity Owners

King James I of England, Geena Davis

Fun Facts

Irish Water spaniels use their hairless tails as rudders in the water.


Irish Water Spaniels have a few health issues to keep an eye on:

Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, entropion, seizures, cancer, irregular heat seasons, hypothyroidism, ear infections, allergies

They have drug sensitivities to ivermectin and sulfa antibiotics.

While you always hope your pet will live a long and healthy life, it is always a good idea to invest in pet health insurance.

Keeping your dog’s mouth clean and problem free goes a long way to your pup’s overall health. Dental hygiene can be the cause or can be the byproduct of other serious health issues.

Visual inspections can be performed to keep track of the signs of potentially waning oral health. These signs can be anything from bad breath to abnormal chewing to loss of appetite.

Keeping ahead of these warning signs can pay dividends. A preventative approach can delay and stop many of the common dental problems from arising.

Oral health can be tackled in five basic steps:

  1. Brushing your dog’s teeth to prevent an undesirable buildup of plaque
  2. Feed your dog a diet where the high quality dog food has dental benefits
  3. Regularly give your dog dental toys and treats
  4. Use mouthwash, to help where brushing misses
  5. At the sign of any abnormalities, consult a vet. You can even do it virtually, from the convenience of your home.

Dogs are just like humans in that they can experience anxiety. The degree to which they are susceptible to anxiety and how they deal with anxiety is breed specific. Left unchecked, initial signs of anxiety could give way to an anxiety disorder. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can lead to a myriad of behavior issues.

Knowing the signs and symptoms will best equip you to keep ahead of it and to nip it in the bud at the earliest signs. There are options available to help with anxiety.

Are You Covered When Your Pup Gets Sick?

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IWS need a full coat brushing to remove any dead hair and matts every 1-2 weeks. Reshape the coat with scissors every 6-8 weeks. Bathe your dog monthly or as needed. Access to water will encourage the coat to look its best. This may come in the form of swimming. Always be sure to clean and dry your dog’s ears post swim or bath to make sure they are clear of debris that may cause infection. Keep your pup’s nails trimmed and brush teeth several times per week.


$800 – $1,800


IWS needs between one and two hours of exercise per day. Access to water would be the first choice! Long walks, hikes, running, and fetch will also do the trick. These smart pups love mental stimulation as well, so be sure to provide puzzle toys for your dog.


On average Irish water spaniels consume about 2.5 cups of food per. As with all dogs, the amount of food your dog requires will vary based on age and activity level.


We’ve taken a look at some premium dog foods, high in nutrition here.

Are You Feeding Your Dog The Best Food?

hypoallergenic Barbet

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As with all dogs, early socialization with other dogs and humans is key. This breed tends to be wary of strangers, so socialization is even more necessary for IWS. These pups have an eager to please temperament, so training that is full of positive reinforcement will make your pup thrive. 

Proper training is essential to ensuring the safety of your dog and those around you. Having your dog come when they should, and in general having them listen is something you want to address early in your pup’s life, as it will pay dividends down the line. There are many tried and true training programs to accomplish this training – faster and better than you might think!

Unless you’re living on a farm, or have the space, a yipping dog, or one that barks all day when you are gone could be an issue with the neighbors and/or landlord. Historically, dogs would bark to communicate with the rest of the pack when hunting and bark as a warning shot to predators eyeing up their flock. Barking is deep rooted in dogs and manifests itself in many ways and for a variety of reasons.

Just like any habit or instinct, there are effective ways you can train this issue away.

The Best Dog Vitamins and Supplements To Keep Your Pup Healthy. Period.

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A solid Glucosamine Supplement for hips and joints will go a long way to helping your furry friend.

Other helpful supplements include full-spectrum hemp oil or CBD oil. Fish oil skin and coat supplement.

Ensuring a comprehensive preventative vitamin and mineral plan is essential to keeping your dog healthy. Truth is, there are vitamins and minerals that your dog needs, but doesn’t produce naturally. While many of these vitamins and minerals can be found in your dog’s current diet and dog food, the question becomes, are there enough vitamins to ensure they aren’t deficient.

Poor nutrition can lead to some of the most common health issues, such as weak joints, compromised immunity, increased allergies, and low energy.

Vitamins play a vital role in your pet’s health and overall life expectancy. Here are some multivitamin and joint relief options.

As regulations around marijuana have eased, the emergence of CBD oils for humans and dogs have sprung up.

Just to begin to dispel the negative stigma, CBD extract comes from Hemp, marijuana’s cousin. Unlike its cousin, there are no psychoactive qualities in CBD oil. An emerging number of clinical and institutional studies have shown the wide variety of healing qualities in CBD, including pain management, and the containment of seizures and epileptic episodes.

Explore this remedy further to see all the health benefits that have transformed the lives of so many dogs to date.

Have You Tried CBD For You Dog's Health?

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The Good

Great with families
Easy to train
Low maintenance grooming

The "Ruff"

Wary of strangers
Can be tough with other pets if not socialized early
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Dogs Like Irish Water Spaniels

Labrador Retriever​ - Sporting Group
Labradore Retriever
hypoallergenic Barbet
Spanish Water Dog - Medium Sized Dogs
Spanish Water Dog
Irish Setter​ - Sporting Group
Irish Setter

Other Dogs NOT Like Irish Water Spaniels

Shih Tzu​ - Toy Group
Shih Tzu
Australian Terrier - Small Dog Breed
Silky Terrier
Toy Fox Terrier - Small Dog Breed
Toy Fox Terrier
Papillon​ - Small Dog Breed

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Annual Vet Bills: $1,500+

Be Prepared for the unexpected.