The Irish Water Spaniels is often considered one dog breed that is always extreme. It is one of the oldest breeds among the spaniels. It is one of the oldest breeds of sporting dogs. It is the rarest of all the spaniel breeds. It is the tallest among all the spaniel breeds. It has the most shadowy and unrecorded dog breed history in the world. Here are other facts you may not have known about the Irish Water Spaniel:
Irresponsible breeding has halved the Irish Water Spanielâ€™s life. Early reports noted that this breed lived up to 15 years. Now, the Irish Water Spaniel only lives a maximum of 8 years.
During the 17th century, when King James I of England wanted to improve diplomatic ties with the King of France, he sent over an excellent hunting dog and retriever as a gift. Yup, it was an Irish Water Spaniel, and the very first one in France.
Irish Water Spaniels are also known by many names like Rat Tail Spaniels, Whip-Tail Spaniels, and Shannon Spaniels. The last name stems from the theory that Irish Water Spaniels were originally and primarily seen on the shores of Shannon River, West of Ireland.
The Irish Water Spaniel has a higher rear end than its front end. The muscular hind quarters of the dog actually make it a very good jumper. An athletic and healthy Irish Water Spaniel can clear a five-foot tall fence quite effortlessly. This trait also helps the dog jump powerfully into the water, cutting its swimming distance by a good four to five feet.
Basing their assumptions according to the different theories on how this dog came to be, many dog breeders are now saying that the only thing Irish about the Irish Water Spaniel is its name. Despite one theory of the dog being first seen in Ireland, the predecessors of the Irish Water Spaniel may have been dogs imported from outside the country, and the first litters may also have been imported from elsewhere. Besides, there are no authenticity claims on the historical sighting of the first Irish Water Spaniel in Ireland, except for one or two verbal accounts.
Aren't you curious as to why the Irish Water Spaniel developed a rather naked looking tail and face, when the rest of its body is one massive cloud of curls? To develop the best kind of water retrieving dog, breeders of the Irish Water Spaniel wanted a pooch that will not be hampered by its body hair when it jumps into a lake to retrieve a fallen game. Selective breeding has then created a canine that loves the water, has webbed feet (excellent for paddling), has a bare face (which acts as a bow in the water) and a bare tail (acts as the dog's rudder). Also, the Irish Water Spaniel has two coats: one dense undercoat which is perfect for keeping the animal warm even in frigid waters, and one curly overcoat which is in fact waterproof and helps keep the Irish Water Spaniel buoyant in the water.