Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Irish Sporting: Irish Red and White and Water Spaniel

Bird hunting season and thoughts of Ireland lead us to today's post about two of Ireland's sporting breeds: the Irish Red and White Setter and the Irish Water Spaniel.

Red and White Setters are a handsome dog suitable to working in the field and living in the home. Pointers who also retrieve, this is a trainable Setter with a lot of working instinct.

This is a Setter that does well as a family dog.
Athletic, this breed should have a couple of good walks a day; playing in a big yard with another energetic dog can also assist this breed in getting some of their energy out.

Irish Water Spaniels are bred to retrieve birds and have been known for hundreds of years in Ireland. 

Irish Water Spaniels are intelligent and said to have a sense of humor - they like to be silly and make people laugh.

An active breed that likes people, they also require regular walks. Irish Water Spaniels are also suitable for agility sports/competitions. 

This breed also works for people with sensitivities to dogs -- as low shedders, this breed will require hair cuts and grooming.

Two sporting breeds with a common homeland and rather different looks. Unique, handsome, intelligent, good with families. The Red and White will shed more, the Water Spaniel will require a slightly smarter owner :-) 

Note: The IWS and Poodle - similar breeds with different birth places. The Poodle probably originated in Germany.  The IWS is a liver color, one of the dark solid colors that a Poodle does not come in. The Poodle is a more aloof and serious breed than the IWS, who has a more coby build than the Poodle. The IWS remains a sporting breed, the Poodle does not. 
Another example of breeds that appear similar, yet are not the same.

Irish Water Spaniel


  1. Ive always liked the red and white spaniel but the Irish water spanie is an interesting dog too and one you dont see often

    urban hounds

    1. These are both uncommon breeds but the Irish Water Spaniel is getting closer to being 'rare'; perhaps the popularity of the Labrador Retriever has eclipsed the Irish Water Spaniel since they are used for similar work.

  • Beautiful dogs and beautiful post! I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen photos of the Irish Water Spaniel... think not. Thanks!

    1. It is true - the Irish Water Spaniel is not a dog you will trip over on your average trip to the dog park...unless maybe your dog park is in a village of hunters in Ireland!

  • Difference between a standard poodle and a water spaniel? Kathy

    1. Such a good point I had to update the post to address this. To me the faces (in person at least) are not the same. I'm not sure how else to say it but that the IWS has a different eye than the Poodle. The IWS has thicker hair.

      This is not to say that at some level the two breeds didn't have some overlap many years ago. I found a Poodle breeder who claimed that Poodles influenced IWS, while IWS followers claim the breed has been around since at least the 1500's, meaning the Poodle would not have been an ancestor but a parallel development.

      I'm reminded of Labs and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers; Malamutes and Huskies; Labs and Goldens -- breeds can share ancestors, or one can have been influential in the development of another but it doesn't take long before they are decidedly different in personality with physical changes as well.

  • Hi There!

    I stumbled upon your site for the Irish Water Spaniel while searching for images of this breed.

    I am contacting you on behalf of the company VetThink, Inc. We create products designed to improve the health of pets and expand Breed Specific Healthcare knowledge to Veterinarians. We believe that every pet is special and that certain breeds require a more personalized healthcare plan. It's hard for folks to make the connection when they can't put a name with a muzzle.

    We are currently working on a brochure for the Irish Water Spaniel! Would it be possible to use a photo of yours in our product? We would appreciate just one image. We wouldn’t give out any of your information and we won’t use the photo for advertising.

    The brochures we are working on will be electronic files and will be emailed to Irish Water Spaniel lover’s just like you, who have requested more information on their pet.

    If you would like more information on our company you can check out our website here VetThink. You are also more than welcome to contact me for any questions you may have.

    I can provide examples per request via email.

    Thank you so much for considering this, it’s a great opportunity to expand the knowledge of just how special these little guys are and also to improve the healthcare provided to them.

    I look forward to hearing from you!



    Michelle Popilek

    Project Manager

    Genesis Breed Specific Health Care

    (210) 398-0137

    1. Lol, Michelle, if you ever want pictures related to the special needs of Bull Terriers, let me know :-)

    2. The fotos on this page are not owned by the publisher! They did not ask ME for using my pictures, so better check the origin owner of the fotos before asking them for permission to use the fotos. Thank you.

  • news item: high drive dog exercise, CONTROL and fun

    check out these new dog/human powered rigs

    offering unlimited dog exercise under excellent dog control

    much safer and thus more fun than any other wheeled device- and a new urban mushing sport !


    of course its NOT the only way to exercise your dog- just one great way- and part of the mix.

    any chance of a link, news item ?