Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel picture


Whilst the exact origins of the breed remain obscure, the earliest reference to the type of Irish Water Spaniel (IWS) we know today was in the 1830s.

It is a versatile gundog, and was originally bred as a wildfowling dog to work on the marshes, bogs and rivers of its native Ireland.


Irish Water Spaniels are slow to mature and can be headstrong and willful. Although they are also intelligent, alert, mischievous and fun loving. They are quite clown like and are sometimes referred to as the “clown of the spaniel family”. It is their intelligence that gives the IWS a reputation as a comedian, as they are inquisitive and often use their own initiative in ways that can surprise, delight or frustrate their owners.

The Irish Water Spaniel is quite active breed and requires regular exercise, preferably free running. They also enjoy swimming and retrieving games. Most IWS love any water be it muddy, smelly or clean: Be prepared to get wet. Maybe not one for the house-proud!

They do have an endearing nature but require early training and socialization.

They learn very quickly, but can also become bored and stubborn if overtrained. They need variety to keep them interested.


As a larger breed the IWS can be susceptible to hip dysplasia. All parents of puppies should be hip scored. The breed average hip score is 17.