Fédération Cynologique Internationale

The Kennel Club

United Kennel Club

Irish Water Spaniel

Spaniel (Irish Water)

Irish Water Spaniel


ORIGIN

:
FCI
Ireland.

PUBLISHED

:
FCI
13.03.2001.
KC
March 1994

UTILISATION

:
FCI
The Irish Water Spaniel can be easily adapted to suit most forms of shooting he will hunt, often point and retrieve readily from heavy cover. The construction and nature of the breed has traditionally made it the choice of the wildfowler.

CLASSIFICATION

:
FCI
Group 8Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 3Water Dogs
With working trial

KC
Gundog
UKC
Gun Dog

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

:
FCI
The exact origins of the breed remain obscure. Generally it is thought that Water Spaniels evolved from dogs that originated in Persia and came to Ireland via Spain. The first Irish reference to “ water dogs that pursue water fowl” dates from 1600, so we know that dogs with waterproof coats were used in Ireland even before the advent of the fowling piece. There is no real evidence of the ancestry of the Irish Water Spaniel except in its most peculiar feature-the rat tail. This feature appears in no similar dog and makes it very likely that the modern breed had an indigenous Irish ancestor. The tail has given rise to the names “ Whip Tail” and “ Rat Tail”. In any event the descendants of these dogs were accepted and achieved great success on show benches in the second half of the 19th century. In 1890 the Irish Water Spaniel Club was formed to promote the interests of the breed.
UKC
The exact country of origin for the breed is not clear, but the country from which the most recent foundation stock came is Ireland. Some research indicates that common ancestors include the Poodle, Barbet and Portuguese Water Dog. Recent history has the breed taking its present form in the 1830's. Its development is credited to Justin McCarthy and his "Boatswain" dog. The breed's purpose is that of a waterfowl hunter; his strong swimming ability enables him to be physically qualified for the task. He is a quality retriever in any cover and is used for a variety of game. The breed has retained type for over 150 years, and is very popular in Ireland. The Irish Water Spaniel has been recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1948.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

:
FCI
Smart, upstanding, strongly built, compact or cobby.
KC
Smart, upstanding, strongly built, compact.
UKC
The breed is the tallest of all spaniels. It is a solid liver color, with dense curly hair. Two identifying characteristics of the breed are its "topknot" and "rat tail."

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

:
KC
Enduring, versatile gundog for all types of shooting, particularly in wild fowling.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

:
FCI
Proud, combining great intelligence and endurance with a bold and dashing eagerness of temperament, immense stamina and loyalty. A good family dog with a sense of humour but discerning with strangers.
KC
Initially aloof, staunch and affectionate; with an endearing sense of humour and a stable disposition.
UKC
Easily trained, the Irish Water Spaniel makes a good family dog, protector of the home, and obedience dog. The breed shows initiative and courage. Its overall appearance is appealing. The breed's characteristic water-resistant, curly coat needs to be groomed, but not clipped like a Poodle's. His appearance may lend to his reputation as a clown.

HEAD

:
FCI
Skull and head should be of good size.
KC
Head of good size. Skull high in dome; of good length and width allowing adequate brain capacity. Muzzle long, strong, somewhat square with gradual stop. Face smooth, nose large and well developed, dark liver colour, overall an impression of fineness.
UKC
The head is of good size and cleanly chiseled. It should not present a short, wedge-shaped or cheeky appearance. The face hair is short and smooth, but has a beard that grows in a narrow line at the back of the jaw.

CRANIAL REGION

:

Skull

:
FCI
Skull high in dome, good length and width allowing for large brain capacity. Top-knot should consist of long loose curls growing down into a well defined peak between the eyes and should not be in the form of a wig, i.e. growing straight across.
UKC
Is rather large and high in the dome, with a prominent occiput and a gradual stop.

Stop

:
FCI
Gradual.

FACIAL REGION

:
FCI
Perfectly smooth. Hair grows in a narrow line forming a beard at the back of the lower jaw.

Nose

:
FCI
Large and well developed and of dark liver colour
UKC
Large, with open nostrils. Liver colored.

Muzzle

:
FCI
Long, strong and somewhat square in appearance
KC
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
UKC
Long, strong and somewhat square, with a deep mouth opening and lips that are fine in texture.

Jaws/Teeth

:
FCI
Strong and regular with scissors bite.
UKC
A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors or level bite.

Eyes

:
FCI
Comparatively small almond-shaped, dark amber or dark hazel and very intelligent looking.
KC
Comparatively small, almond-shaped, medium to dark brown, intelligent and alert.
UKC
Medium in size, and almond in shape, dark amber or dark hazel in color. Expression is keenly alert, intelligent, direct and quizzical.

Ears

:
FCI
Very long and lobe-shaped in the leather, set low, hanging quite close to the cheeks and covered with long, twisted curls of hair.
KC
Long, oval-shaped; set low, hanging close to cheeks.
UKC
Very long and lobe shaped in the leather. Set low, hanging close to the head and covered abundantly with curls.

NECK

:
FCI
Fairly long, strong and arching, (enabling the head to be carried well above the level of the back) and strongly set into the shoulders.
KC
Strongly set into shoulders, powerful, arching and long enough to carry the head well above level of back.
UKC
The neck is long, arching, muscular and set strongly into the shoulders. The throat is smooth.

BODY

:
FCI
Should be of good size, being as a whole so proportionate as to give a barrel-shaped appearance accentuated by the springing of the ribs, overall strong and well- muscled.
KC
Ribs carried well back, so well sprung behind shoulder as to give a barrel-shape. Back short, broad, and level, strongly coupled to hindquarters. Loins deep and wide.
UKC
The body is of good size and medium length, giving the breed a slightly rectangular appearance. The back is short, strong and level. The well-sprung ribs are carried well back. They are pear-shaped to the brisket, and rounder toward the hindquarters. The loins are wide and muscular. The body gives a barrel-shaped appearance and should not look tucked-up.

Back

:
FCI
Short, broad and level, strongly coupled to the hindquarters.

Loin

:
FCI
Deep and wide.

Chest

:
FCI
Deep, but not too wide or round between the forelegs, though large girth with ribs well sprung behind the shoulders. Ribs carried well back.

TAIL

:
FCI
Smooth, strong and thick at root (where it is covered for 3 to 4 inches - 7.5cm to 10cm with short curls), and gradually tapering, ending in a fine point. It should not be long enough to reach the hock joint, and should be carried nearly level with the back in a straight line.
KC
Short, not reaching to hock joint, straight, thick at root and tapering to a fine point. Low set, straight and below level of back. 7.5-10 cms (3-4 ins) of tail root covered by close curls which stop abruptly. The remainder bare or covered by short straight, fine hairs.
UKC
The tail is set on low, giving a rounded appearance to the hindquarters. The tail has two or three inches of curly hair at a thick base, and tapers to a fine point at the end. The hair (other than the curly hair at the base) should be short, giving the appearance of being clipped and looking like a rat's tail, which is a characteristic of the breed. The tail should not be long enough to reach the hock joint.

LIMBS

:

FOREQUARTERS

:
KC
Shoulders powerful and sloping; chest deep, reasonable width and curvature between forelegs. Forelegs well boned and straight.
UKC
The shoulders are powerful, sloping and clean. The chest is deep, extending to the elbows.

Shoulder

:
FCI
Very powerful and sloping.

FORELEGS

:
UKC
The forelegs should be well-boned, straight and muscular.

Forearm

:
FCI
Well boned and straight, the forearm at point of elbow in a straight line with the highest point of the shoulder blade.

FEET

:
KC
Large round and spreading, well covered with hair over and between toes.
UKC
Large, thick and somewhat round and spreading. Well covered with hair.

Forefeet

:
FCI
Large, somewhat round and spreading, well covered with hair, both over and between the toes, but free from any superfluous feather.

Hind feet

:
FCI
See Forefeet.

HINDQUARTERS

:
FCI
Very powerful.
KC
Powerful; well angulated stifle and low set hock.
UKC
The hindquarters are as high, or slightly higher than, the shoulders. They are powerful, with long, well-bent stifles and muscular thighs. The hocks are set low. The hips are wide. Well-developed hindquarters are of utmost importance since they are vital to swimming.

Stifle

:
FCI
Well bent stifles.

Hock

:
FCI
Hocks set low.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

:
FCI
The gait has a characteristic peculiar to the breed, that of a rolling motion produced by the barrel-shaped ribcage.
KC
Moves freely and soundly, with reach and drive; characteristic rolling motion accentuated by barrel-shaped rib cage.
UKC
Smooth, free and ground-covering, with a characteristic rolling motion produced by the barrel shaped body.

COAT

:

HAIR

:
FCI
Dense, tight, crisp ringlets, entirely free from woolliness but with a natural oiliness. The back and sides of the neck should be covered with curls similar to those on the body, the throat should be smooth, the smooth hair forming a V-shaped patch from the back of the lower jaw to the breastbone. The forelegs covered with feather, which should be abundant all round though shorter in front. Below the hocks, the hindlegs must be smooth in front, but feathered behind down to the feet.
KC
On body, dense, tight, crisp ringlets, free from woolliness. Hair having natural oiliness. Forelegs covered down to feet with curls or ringlets. Abundant all round, though shorter in front. Below hocks, hindlegs should be smooth in front and with curls or ringlets behind down to feet. On skull covering of long curls forming a pronounced ‘top-knot’, growing in a well defined peak to a point between the eyes. Ears covered with long twisted curls. Neck covered with curls similar to those on body. Throat smooth, the smooth hair forming a V-shaped patch from back of lower jaw to breast bone.
UKC
The topknot is a characteristic of the breed. It consists of long, loose curls growing down into a defined peak between the eyes. It should not appear wig-like; that is, growing straight across. The neck, back and sides should be densely covered with tight, crisp ringlets. The hair should have natural oiliness. The forelegs are well-covered with hair in curls or waves down to the feet. Below the hocks on the hind legs, should be smooth in front, but feathered behind down to the feet. Proper coat is of vital importance.

COLOUR

:
FCI
A very rich puce liver, white on chest objectionable.
KC
Rich, dark liver with purplish tint or bloom peculiar to the breed and sometimes referred to as puce-liver.
UKC
Solid liver in color.

SIZE

:
KC
Height: dogs: 53-58 cms (21-23 ins); bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins).
UKC
Males: 22 to 24 inches at the shoulders; and 55 to 65 pounds. Females: 21 to 23 inches at the shoulders; and 45 to 58 pounds.

Height at withers

:
FCI

Dogs 21/23 inches (53/59cm)
Bitches 20/22 inches (51/56cm)

FAULTS

:
FCI

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
  • White on Chest.
  • Paleness of coat.
  • Light eye.
  • Woolliness of coat.
  • Feather on front of Hocks.
  • Want of feather on front of forelegs.
  • Splay feet.
  • Feather on stern.
  • Feather on face.
  • White on feet.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
KC
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

SERIOUS FAULTS

:
UKC
Color: White on the chest.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

:
UKC
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.