Dog Breed Group: Gun Dog
Life Span: 10-12 years
Weight: Male: 25-30, Female: 20-26
Height: Male: 22-24, Female: 21-23
Origin of Name: The Irish Water Spaniel is a breed of dog that is the tallest of the spaniels.
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Centuries ago, the Spaniels were divided into land and water varieties. The water variety includes the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel as well as the English and Irish breeds. In Ireland before the 1850s, two distinct water spaniel strains existed: the South Country Water Spaniel and the North Country Water Spaniel. The Irish Water Spaniel as we know it today evolved from both of these strains, but the closest ones are of the South Country type.
In the 1830s, Justin McCarthy, a player from Dublin, refined the type away from its predecessor varieties and into a different and repeating breed. His dog, Boatswain, was the first pure IWS. By 1859, Irish Water Spaniels began appearing in dog shows.
The popularity of the IWS grew rapidly with English and Irish players, due to its ability, dispersion, and its ability to handle the cold waters of the North Sea. Soon, the word spread to the US and in the 1870s, many dogs were imported. By 1875, the Irish Water Spaniel became the third most popular sports breed in America.