20-24” (51-61 cm) 45-65 lb (20-30 kg) Double coat with abundant hair falling in tight, crisp ringlets or waves. Solid liver.
Water spaniels have been used in Ireland for centuries to retrieve waterfowl felled by hunters. In the 1930s, Irishman Justin McCarthy bred his dog Boatswain, a typical southern Irish water spaniel, in what was either an effort to resurrect a dying breed that had existed since the early 16th century, or create a new breed of Irish Water Spaniel, utilizing a variety of bloodlines he kept secret all his life. Likely prospects for this breeding program included Poodle/Barbet type dogs and Portuguese Water Dogs. The resulting breed remained remarkably true to type, and completely distinct from other dogs. The Irish Water Spaniel is an excellent waterfowl hunter, with fanciers in both his native Ireland and North America. With a unique water-resistant coat that keeps him warm even in the coldest conditions, and webbed toes that allow him to swim with great efficiency,he is a true water dog. Although not highly popular, he has a strong following as a proficient hunter and fun-loving friend.
He’s full of clownish antics, so training the young Irish Water Spaniel may seem an exercise in futility. As he matures, however, he shows an amazing retention for lessons he showed no signs of learning in his youth. Though somewhat reserved with strangers, he’s boldly affectionate to those he cares about most. Bred to work long hours in cold, sometimes miserable conditions, the Irish Water Spaniel benefitsfrom plenty of exercise rain or shine, and never hesitates to jump into the nearest pond or puddle.