Irish Water Spaniel Pictures and Information

The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest breed in the Spaniel family. It has an extensive coat that will be curly, and it may be brown in color.


Irish Water Spaniel Description

The fur on the face and tail of this breed will be short, while extensive curls will be seen on other parts of the body. The Irish Water Spaniel has a sizeable head, and in addition to the curly outer coat, it will also have a thick undercoat. The coat is designed to keep this dog warm in environments that are extremely cold. A knot of curls will be present on the head which may help shield the eyes. These dogs also have long muzzles that have the shape of squares. The ears will be covered by the curls, and the chest is deep. The Irish Water Spaniel has webbed feet, and this allows it to excel at swimming. Many experts believe that this dog is a descendant of both Irish Setters and Poodles.

Irish Water Spaniel

Also Known As

  • Rat Tail Spaniel
  • Shannon Spaniel

Country of Origin



This breed is intelligent and can be trained easily. They have a strong desire to please their masters, and can sometimes be strong-willed and independent. While some Irish Water Spaniels make great family dogs, others function best when they are with a single person. These dogs enjoy working and are quick to obey commands that are given to them. Some Irish Water Spaniels can make excellent guard dogs. They are somewhat wary of strangers, and will only behave with children that are mature.

Health Problems

Irish Water Spaniels are susceptible to developing thyroid disorders and eye entropion. Anyone who is thinking of buying this dog will want to avoid purchasing puppies that are timid. Owners will want to watch them for ear infections as well. The Irish Water Spaniel has a maximum life expectancy of 12 years.


The Irish Water Spaniel has large amounts of endurance. They will want to swim and receive on a consistent basis. Owners will reserve large amounts of space for them. These dogs should not be kept in apartments and will do well in large yards that feature pools they can swim in.

Special Grooming Needs

The Irish Water Spaniel has a coat that requires large amounts of care. The coat may begin to mat, and owners will want to use a good brush or comb to remove it. The coat will need to be cut by professionals. These dogs shed very little hair, and are good pets for people who have allergies.