One of the oldest and rarest of all hunting dogs is the Irish Water Spaniel. Although the depiction of its origins remains sketchy, its reputation as a great hunting companion cannot be denied. The Irish Water Spaniel is rather famous for its daring ability to plunge into the coldest waters just to retrieve a fallen game. It is still being used on upland game hunting and duck hunting, often helping bring over prey like grouse, pheasants, quails, and other wild fowls. This breed of dog is now gradually becoming a favorite among retriever enthusiasts, especially in the hunting or field sport category.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a large dog, very powerfully built. It is fleet-footed and does not showcase lumbering gaits like most other breeds of its size. It has a very high energy level and can work the fields without showing signs of exhaustion. Some Irish Water Spaniel owners even claim that after a whole day of retrieving prey in the fields, their pets still remain animated enough to enjoy more romping in the yard. The Irish Water Spaniel's hind quarters are noticeably higher than its front end, giving the dog a much deserved appearance of sleekness and speed. The rest of its body, although muscular, is really very long and slimmer than most dogs from the spaniel breed. Its chest is also very narrow. If you combine these traits with the Irish Water Spaniel's webbed feet and very dense waterproofed coat, you actually have a hunting dog companion that makes excellent time and progress retrieving game even in the most frigid of waters.
The Irish Water Spaniel is known to be very athletic, and it rather enjoys its time outdoors, often running unobtrusively alongside its human companion. Its intelligence is beyond question, and sometimes its human companions notice that the dog can make spot decisions on its own. It can sometimes go against direct instructions (sometimes mistaken by the less experienced handlers as willfulness), but it delivers wonderfully when it comes to its work. Aside from that, the Irish Water Spaniel's docile temperament and love of human companionship also make it a wonderful hunting companion.
It is not intrusive during the hunt, and will remain well out of the hunter's way when ordered to do so. The dog does not show any untoward signs of aggressiveness towards the intended prey, but can bolt into action when signaled to do so.
Properly trained, any Irish Water Spaniel will follow directives easily. This breed of dog likes to please its human companions, and will do anything to gain one or more forms of physical affection. Some reward system used for its training are usually only based on verbal praises or patting or even something as simple as a few minutes of a game of fetch.
The Irish Water Spaniel may have a bit of a problem when it comes to dealing with other hunters in the field or with other hunting dog companions. This breed needs constant socialization throughout its life. It stays wary of strangers and does not socialize freely with other dog breeds, not even of its own kind. Although its sweet disposition is impeccable, it remains perpetually guarded in the presence of unfamiliar entities.