Irish Water Spaniel Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The Irish Water Spaniel is one of a number of breeds that have developed throughout the world as wildfowling dog, working as retrievers rather than spaniels. The Irish Water Spaniel is, though, the only water spaniel developed in the British Isles who survives today. There is a mention in an Irish work around 1600 of “water dogs that pursue water fowl”. The earliest record of the breed is of a dog named Boatswain (Bo’sun) belonging to a Justin McCarthy of Dublin, born in 1834. All of today’s Irish Water Spaniels can trace their ancestry back to this single dog. The Irish Water Spaniel was first shown in Birmingham in 1862.
He is an intelligent dog, with an independent streak, probably deriving this trait from the poodle which must surely form part of his heritage. Those familiar with the breed consider him a strong character, probably not suited to a novice owner, who needs firm and consistent handling, particularly as a youngster.
He is the tallest of the spaniels at 51-58cm, weighing up to 65lbs. His coat is highly distinctive; always a rich dark liver with a purplish tinge which is peculiar to the breed. The tight, crisp ringlets are naturally oily and to care for the coat correctly requires specialist advice.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a good housedog for those who have some experience of dogs; perhaps not so biddable and eager to please as many of the gun dogs, those who know him have the greatest respect and affection for his intelligence and sense of humour.
Rescue and Rehoming
- Irish Water Spaniel Association Rescue Mrs C Attwood Email 01526 322081
- Sporting Irish Water Spaniel Club Rescue Stephanie Rolfe 01884 255723
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.