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He may look and act like a curly-coated clown, but the Irish Water Spaniel is a serious water retriever with excellent hunting skills.
Given plenty of exercise and training, he can also be a wonderful family companion.
A book published in 1607, , described a “water spagnel” with long, rough, curled hair and a bare naked tail.
A century and a half later, a Captain Thomas Brown remarked on the Irish Water Spaniel’s long ears and the crisp, curly texture of its coat.
Check with your vet before starting any exercise program with your dog -- especially anything strenuous.
That said, if your vet gives the green light, daily regular activities for your IWS can include one to two hours of walking, running, hiking, or other vigorous activity, which can be broken up into several sessions.
It’s an unhappy IWS who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.
Mentions of smooth-tailed spaniels from Ireland include a gift of one from Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster Sir Robert Cecil to the King of France in 1598.Choose him if you enjoy running, hiking, water sports, or other activities that he can do with you. Although he’s called a spaniel, the Irish Water Spaniel is primarily a water retriever and has a fine reputation as a hunting dog among those in the know.The IWS is a fun and interesting dog, no doubt about it, but his high energy level and potential for health problems are factors to consider before acquiring one.For best results, be firm and consistent, and use positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise and food rewards.Like any hunting breed, he’s tireless and needs daily exercise.
The IWS is one of those breeds said to have an ancient history, supposedly dating to the Stone Age or the Bronze Age, based on dog skulls found by archaeologists at sites in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe.