The Irish Water Dog is a breed of dog with a dense, curly coat, originally from Ireland. It is characterized by its ability to work in water and by its loyalty and friendly temperament.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a large breed, weighing between 27 and 32 kg in males and between 23 and 27 kg in females. The height at the withers ranges between 55 and 66 cm in males, and between 50 and 60 cm in females. The average life expectancy of this breed is 10 to 12 years. According to the classification of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), it belongs to Group 8, which includes hunting retrievers, hunting hounds and water dogs.
Breed history in brief
The Irish Water Dog is an ancient breed that originated in Ireland hundreds of years ago. They were originally used as working dogs in tasks such as fishing, hunting and herding sheep and cattle. They were highly valued for their ability to work in difficult conditions and their skill at swimming and retrieving objects in the water. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the declining need for working dogs, the Irish Water Dog population declined dramatically. However, in the mid-20th century, a group of breeders set about reviving the breed and today it is valued as both a working and companion dog. It is now used as a rescue dog, service dog and companion dog.
The Irish Water Dog has a broad head and a long, rectangular muzzle with a black nose. Its eyes are large, dark hazel to brown and have an alert, intelligent expression. The ears are medium-sized and covered with curly hair. Dogs of this breed have strong, sturdy legs and a long, straight tail.
Their coat is dense, curly in texture and comes in different shades of brown, black, gray and white.
Irish Water Dogs are characterized by their friendly and playful nature, as well as their intelligence and ability to work in the water. They are excellent swimmers and have traditionally been used to retrieve waterfowl and fish in the cold waters of Ireland. They are also good family companions and get along well with children.
Common health problems
The Irish Water Dog may be prone to some genetic diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, hereditary eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataract and distichiasis.
In addition to the above conditions, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends a cardiac and eye screening test (at 24 months of age), as well as a test to assess for autoimmune thyroiditis.
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