We always love getting emails from our customers & readers asking us to feature their dog or favorite breed for our Best Bully Sticks Spotlight on a Breed blog series every Thursday. As always we are honored to oblige. We are excited to spotlight the Irish Water Spaniel.

Irish Water Spaniels

Height: Male: 22-24; Female: 21-23 inches

Weight: Male: 55-65; Female: 45-58 lbs

Coat: The most distinguishing characteristic of the Irish Water Spaniel is the coat. The majority of the body is covered with tight ringlets of hair. The tail, face, and ends of the rear legs have smooth short hair. The coat is crisp in texture and solid brown in color. The curly outer coat is lined with a dense under coat that serves as insulation from frigid water. To cover and protect the eyes a top-knot of curls hangs down from the head. This breed sheds little to no hair.

Color: Solid Liver, described as deep reddish brown. There are no white markings, except for those due to graying from age.

Appearance: The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest of the spaniel breeds, sporting a solid brown, crisp-textured, curly coat and a topknot of curls that protects the eyes. The muzzle is long and square, ending in a large, liver-colored nose and teeth that meet in either a level or scissors bite. The chest is deep, the forelegs are powerful without being bulky, and the hindquarters are muscular and set as high or higher than the shoulders, to aid in swimming. Webbed feet also make the Irish Water Spaniel a champion swimmer. The tail is wide at the root and tapers to a point. Unlike the hair on the rest of the body, the hair on the tail is very short and is known as a rat tail.

Temperament: A breed of ancient lineage, the Irish Water Spaniel is an active, energetic, and willing companion. They are strongly built and have rugged endurance. A true sporting dog, they are bold, alert, and inquisitive. Irish Water Spaniels are often referred to as the clown of the Spaniel family.

Irish Water Spaniels are highly intelligent, confident, and devoted. They demand attention and are a “whole family” dog. This is a breed that truly enjoys human contact. They are best suited for families with older considerate children. If properly introduced, they will get along well with other pets. They are generally quiet and bark only when necessary. The Irish Water Spaniel is protective, reserved, and wary with strangers. However, they are not aggressive. This breed displays a joyous exuberance and zest for life.

Health: The average life span of the Irish Water Spaniel is 10 to 12 years. The Irish Water Spaniel has a few Health concerns that it’s owner should be aware of and keep a keen eye out for. The most common of these would be Ear infections as this is common in many swimming dog breeds with longer ears and the Irish Water Spaniel is no exception. Ear infections often occur as a result of the water that does not drain from the ears properly and can pool inside causing an infection. Drying your Irish Water Spaniel’s ears throughly after swims may help to prevent some Ear infections, but any sensitivity around the ears should immediately be checked by a veterinarian.

Other Health Problems to be aware of with this breed is Hypothyroidism, seizures, eye Entropion which can all be inherited and you should inquire about any health concerns with the parents of your puppy before adopting or buying him or her. Because the Irish Water Spaniel is a larger breed of dog hip dysplasia is also a common health condition for the dog as it ages and can be uncomfortable for the dog, proper nutrition and health check ups can help to prevent some hip dysplasia.

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