The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the gentlest giants in the dog breed world. Technically, it's‚ not really a giant breed of dog, but it is one of the largest, standing at 22 to 24 inches at the withers and weighing between 55 to 65 pounds. Originally bred to be a hunting dog, the Irish Water Spaniel is now making a name for itself as a hunting/field trial dog, and also a wonderful house pet or companion.
The term "hunting dog"‚ is really a misnomer, because the Irish Water Spaniel does not merely hunt or stalk prey. Most sporting dog breeds excel in hunting, pointing, flushing out prey and retrieving prey as it is taken down. In the Irish Water Spaniel's case, it excels in all these but most especially in the act of retrieving. In fact, it is a very good retriever. It is fearless in the water and can perform several jumps even in the harshest and the most inclement of weathers. Because it is also built with a very sleek bodily design, the Irish Water Spaniel is fast both on land and in the water.
As a house pet, the Irish Water Spaniel is a special favorite among families with young children in the house. As stated earlier, it is extremely gentle and can tolerate long bouts of human affection. This dog actually thrives on a lot of human affection, and it seems eager to do anything to please its human companions. Many owners also find comfort in the fact that the Irish Water Spaniel is not a happy-go-lucky dog. Its emotional attachment is usually rooted firmly with the people it socializes with everyday. It does not fare well in the company of strangers or unfamiliar animals. This seeming guardedness and perpetual alertness makes the Irish Water Spaniel a great watch dog.
In the world of hunting/field sport competition, the term "versatility" actually means a sporting dog's ability to perform all necessary functions of a great hunting dog, and more. Versatility tests are often conducted in a series of field trials. And these tests usually give merits to dogs that excel in flushing prey, hunting, pointing and retrieving prey. Versatility tests also measures how much the dog has learned in its training as it ages, how it follows directives from its human handlers and the speed and accuracy of its hunting talents. The Irish Water Spaniel is now one of the more popular breed of dogs when it comes to hunting/field trial. Not only does the dog perform all sporting dog functions perfectly, its speed, endurance and willingness to serve are trademarks of the Irish Water Spaniel's excellence as a hunting dog.
Versatility also translates to the dog's learning abilities, how quickly does it learn a new behavior or trick, how retentive is its memory, and how does it respond to anything that is beyond its traning. When it comes to this kind of versatility training, the Irish Water Spaniel is always at its peak form. With the correct method of training, this dog can learn quickly, can remember instructions even after a long time of lapse, and is smart enough to make the right decisions on its own.