The Irish Water Spaniel belongs to a group of very ancient breeds. Though there is no exact data on their origin. The information is rather conflicting, however, most dog historians and breeders agree that the Irish Water Spaniel descended from a mixture of many other spaniel breeds. But Irish folklore tells us quite clearly that this dog descended from the ancient Dobhar Chu.
As you can see, there is a lot of information that causes contradictions. We will try to systemize it somewhat. It is possible that the Irish Water Spaniel is indeed descended from the Dobhar Chu, however, the breed was subsequently mixed with other spaniels. The following are believed to have been involved:
- Portuguese Water Dog;
- English Water Spaniel (this breed is now extinct);
- Northern and Southern Water Spaniels.
But these are only breeders’ assumptions, since the person who made the breed as we know it today did not leave any data for us. His name was Justin McCarthy and he lived in Dublin.
He developed the Irish Water Spaniel breed in the first half of the 19th century, and a worthy result of his work appeared around 1830. Justin was a hunter and wanted to breed a dog that would meet his idea of the perfect hunting dog – capable of even pulling a dead bird out of the water. By the way, it is believed that this is one of the oldest spaniels on our planet. In addition, these are also the largest spaniels and a very rare breed.
These are large and athletic dogs with voluminous chests. The limbs are of medium length. Their ears are hanging. Their coat is curly and of medium length. The tail is medium length with very short hair.
The Irish Water Spaniel was originally intended for hunting, however, in the modern world, it serves as a pet very well. And you do not have to be an avid hunter to get this dog. In regard to relationships with its family, this breed is distinguished by softness, affection, and great devotion.
The Irish Water Spaniel can be a great watchdog, especially if he lives in a house where he has his own territory – a fenced area. He will protect his family – that’s for sure. Although, the dog perceives strangers without aggression if it is just walking through the park.
This breed treats children with great tenderness, care, and patience. At the same time, we must not forget that every living being on this planet has its own limit of patience, and it is not worth testing it. Therefore, be sure to teach your child how to correctly and respectfully treat animals. Also, do not leave children under the age of five alone, as, purely because of their size, the dog may accidentally knock over the child.
The Irish Water Spaniel has hunting instincts, as it was originally bred for such purposes. If you go to the woods for a picnic, or go to the park for a walk, or go for a run in a park where there are squirrels, don’t be surprised if your pet tries to catch them.
If the dog lives in a house and has free access to the street, then periodically it will bring you a mole or a rat, as a kind of offering. Since this is a terrier, he loves to dig. It has a highly developed intellect, and a good memory, it is normally trainable, and it likes to maintain close contact with its owner and do something together. This breed has a high level of energy, and needs long walks and physical activity.
Irish Water Spaniels are very healthy dogs that rarely get sick.