The clown of the spaniel family, the Irish Water Spaniel will think of creative ways to accomplish even the slightest of tasks. Strong and intelligent, the tallest spaniel breed possesses several unique characteristics its liver-colored curly coat and signature “rat tail.” The water-repellent double coat consists of dense, tight ringlets with a topknot of long, loose curls and a smooth face. The “rat” tail is thick and covered with curls at the base, tapering to a fine point covered with short, smooth hair.
A dog of ancient lineage, there is evidence of Irish Water Spaniel-type remains going back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries AD. In the late 1100s, dogs found in southern Ireland below the River Shannon were called Shannon Spaniels, Rat-Tail Spaniels, or Whip-Tail Spaniels, among other things. Records document the “Water Spagnel” with “long, rough, curled hair and a tail somewhat bare and naked.” Today’s IWS is a true dual-purpose hunting dog, as qualified with the upland game as with waterfowl.
A typical Sporting dog, the Irish Water Spaniel is an active and energetic companion. He possesses the natural instinct to please, making him relatively easy to train, but regular exercise is important. Suitable for allergy sufferers, their hypoallergenic coats require brushing every few weeks and trimming every two months to neaten and shape the coat.
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