A rat’s tale
Original Name : Irish Water Spaniel
Type : Braccoid
Other Names : Whiptail, Rat, Tail Spaniel
Male size : 21-23 inches
Female size : 20-22 inches
Degree of grooming :
Countries of origin : Ireland
Irish Water Spaniels are proud, bold and spirited animals that combine great intelligence with impressive stamina, vitality and loyalty. They are good family dogs with a “sense of humor”, but reserved with strangers.
Skull and head of good size, high, domed skull of good length and fair width to accommodate a large brain. Topknot of long loose curls forming a well-defined peak between the eyes.
Strong, very muscular, of good size, general barrel-shaped appearance, accentuated by the curve of the ribs.
Very rich puce liver.
Very long, lobe-shaped, set low, hanging fairly close to the cheeks, covered with long twisted curls of hair.
Smooth, strong and thick at the base, where it is covered for 3-4 inches by short curls.
Dense, tight, crisp ringlets with natural oiliness.
The breed’s precise origins are obscure, but Irish Water Spaniels are generally felt to be descended from Persian dogs that ended up on the Emerald Isle via Spain. The first reference to “waterdogs that pursue water flow” dates from 1600, so we know that dogs with weatherproof coats were used in Ireland even before the introduction of the shotgun.Irish Water Spaniels find it easy to adapt to most forms of shooting, hunting, often pointing and willingly retrieving, even in heavy cover. Their build and nature make them the traditional dog of choice for hunting water game.
Did you know ?
The only objective evidence of the Irish Water Spaniel’s lineage is its most striking feature, the rat’s tail, which has led to the breed being alternatively known as the Whiptail and the Rat-Tail Spaniel. No similar dog has one, which makes it likely that the breed had an indigenous Irish ancestor.