Southern Irish Water Spaniel
Body: Strong, sturdy build with a square body, deep chest, well-sprung ribs, short, wide, level back (or slightly higher in the rear), and deep, wide loins.
Coat: Double coat is dense and oily with short, thick curls of hair (not fur) and water repellent.
Color: Solid liver (brown).
Ears: Long and pendulous, low set, carried close to the cheeks, and covered with curls.
Eyes: Medium size, slightly almond-shaped, tight eyelids, dark brown color and keenly alert.
Feet: Large, thick, round, and spreading with webbed toes, and hidden under thick curly hair.
Head: Proportionately large, highly domed skull, cleanly chiseled (not cheeky), with a prominent occiput, gradual stop, square, rather long muzzle, liver colored nose, and a characteristic topknot of long, loose curls.
Legs: Forelegs are well-boned, muscular, and of medium length. Hindquarters are strong and muscular with well-developed second thighs, wide hips, and moderately bent stifles.
Neck: Long, strong, muscular, and arched, gracefully set into cleanly sloping shoulders.
Weight: 45 – 65 pounds (20 – 30kg)
Height: 21 – 24 inches (53 – 61cm)
Tail: A “rat-tail” thick at the root and tapering to a point.
Recommended for experienced dog handlers
Good with children
AKC Standards say, “The Irish Water Spaniel presents a picture of a smart, upstanding strongly built sporting dog. Great intelligence is combined with rugged endurance and a bold, dashing eagerness of temperament.”
He is a clown if there ever was one in the world of dogs. The Irish Water Spaniel is a comical dog who will provide you with endless daily entertainment. He’s a kind-hearted dog who loves both adults and children but can be aggressive with other dogs and pets.
The Rat-Tailed Spaniel has tremendous stamina and a need for vigorous daily exercise. He loves swimming, hunting, hiking and playing. Due to his nature and love of the outdoors country living is best suited for this breed where he can get the exercise he demands.
He is a quick learner and should be trained and socialized when very young or he may become head-strong. Proper training with an experienced, firm-handed, but respectful dog handler is highly recommended. Obedience training should be encouraging and rewarding, never abusive or harsh. Mistreatment of this sensitive dog will not be well received.
AKC Group: Sporting Group
A gun dog and water-retriever used for retrieving ducks and other fowl from frigid waters of marshes and lakes, from sunrise to the dark of night.
Care and Grooming
Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise such as swimming, hiking, and running.
Grooming: Although he sheds very little, the dander stays in the hair requiring daily brushing and frequent trimming. Bathing with detergents may damage his oily, water-repellent hair. Keep his ear canals clean and dry.
Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 Years
Entropion – turning inwards of the eyelids
CERF – for the eyes
OFA – for the hips