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Old 04-02-2008, 03:36 AM   #1
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Default Irish Water Spaniels

I have always admired them and it is one of the breeds I'm considering as a companion for my standard poodle when the time comes for my 15 yr old chow cross to be put down, something I'm facing very soon.

I'm just wondering if anyone can give me some info on them as far as care, energy level, trainablity, health issues, grooming requirements, ect. Don't pull any punches, I know that all breeds have their plus's and minus, I want to make sure I'm fully informed before I pursue this breed.

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Old 04-02-2008, 05:22 AM   #2
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I am sure Carole (Jake on here) will be along to help shortly.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:19 AM   #3
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Hi

I am the very proud owner of an Irish Water Spaniel (also known as Bog Dog, Rat-tail). I am sure that an IWS would make a wonderful companion to an SP. I've owned poodles before and would always recommend poodles too.

Here's a link to the sporting irish water spaniel club UK - you can learn a lot from that site
http://www.siwsc.org.uk/

also
http://www.irishwaterspaniels.org.uk/gallery.html

Jake needs plenty of exercise - he needs a strong consistent leader, you can't afford to be weak or inconsistent or Jake will be his own boss. Despite what the literature says they do shed a little - very fine hairs. They are not as hair-free as a poodle. However, they do not shed like e.g. labrador etc. It is mild (if any) shedding.

Ideally I clip Jake every 6 weeks - same as poodles. You don't have to clip them but clipping Jake controls his hair loss. Jake swims 2/3 times a week (even in winter) so that keeps his coat in good condition. He swims in the River Spey which I am told is the purest river in Europe.

Unlike poodles IWS have webbed feet. This enables them to swim very strongly. They also have a tail which looks rather like a rat's - so woo betide if you get whipped with it when they are excited. LOL

Pros - Loyal; affectionate; very intelligent - every bit as intelligent as a poodle; don't shed much if at all; comical - full of character; don't bark much; excellent swimmer. Jake has never destroyed a thing - apart from his own toys - and I'm told that this is consistent with the breed.

Cons - like most gun dogs has a taste for the poo of other dogs - this has been controlled with a masterplus spray collar and isn't a problem now. Can be oafish, especially if not regularly exercised. Not destructive, just clumsy.

With regard to health I suggest you read the link I've sent. However, Jake is pretty robust, other than a tendency to exhibit IBS type symptoms if he is REALLY excited!

Don't take any notice of some of the elitiest breeders owners who claim that you have to have zillions of years experience and cannot possibly own this dog unless you are a professional breeder or gun dog handler - that's rubbish! This has probably led to the demise of the breed which is now endangered. IWS can be a little aloof and stand-offish from people or dogs they don't know. But once they become familiar with them they are very loyal. You wouldn't get a problem with an IWS making him/herself a nusciance with other dogs.

Overall, I don't think he's any more or less difficult/better to own than a poodle - just different.

http://kirkmarsh.co.uk/kirksub/index.htm
here's another link - sometimes they have IWS puppies but they are like gold dust!

If you would like any further advice or information I'd be delighted to help in any way I can or send you links to IWS breeders.

Carole xx

p.s. Look at Jake in the gallery - you'll get an idea of his character from his pictures.

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Old 04-03-2008, 06:25 AM   #4
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Thanks Carole, that was very informative and from the way your Jake sounds, he's not all that different than a standard poodle, I have heard they are thought to share common ancestors. I have had or been around standards for over 30 years so I have a feeling IWS's are right up my tree. After your info, I want one even more, I even have a pond for swimming, lol.

Unfortunally I did a web search out of curiosity and it would seem that they are not very popular here in the states, so actually finding one might not be possible. Maybe when the time comes that I am actually ready to get one, I might luck out and find a pup or a rescue, I can always hope, I did just happen to get lucky and found my latest standard after many heartbreaks of almost having one and then losing it at the last second through no fault of my own, so maybe just wanting one bad enough like as bad as I wanted another standard will be enough to turn luck my way.

Now just one tiny thing, poodles also have web feet, after all, they were bred to be water dogs first, foo foo pets second. Don't know about where you're at, but the AKC has finally allowed standard poodles in field trials and they do quite well, have even been on the cover of field and stream, standards still have that retriever instinct.

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Old 04-03-2008, 06:30 AM   #5
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Hi
Just might be able to help you out - long shot but ............. if you look on the Kirkmarsh site you will see 'Bentley' our american boy. He came from the US to introduce some different breeding stock (currently AI is commonly used to avoid genetic defects). So, I could maybe give get you details of breeders etc in US from Kirkmarsh. Many of the IWS owners go to the US - never know!

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Old 04-03-2008, 06:32 AM   #6
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Oh by the way I think your standard is gorgeous!

http://kirkmarsh.co.uk/kirksub/bentley.htm
Look at this page -

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Old 04-03-2008, 07:09 AM   #7
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Thanks a ton again Carole. Loved the website showing agility, I've just decided I'm going to give my Chewie a shot at agility after he did a running jump over a 2 foot high curvert pipe sitting above ground waiting to be buried, on our hike yesterday. I'll also be new to agility, so we'll learn together, already got plans for jumps, teeters and weave poles to practice at home.

Me wanting to get an IWS is in the future. It won't be until my old chow cross is gone, she's 15 yrs old and has a lot of problems so it's a lot of work for me to keep her as comfortable as possible, but she's been my girl since she was 6 weeks old, so I owe her. When the time comes, I might be bothering you again, I'll take all the help I can find.

Plus I want to get some training on Chewie first, which we have been working on. It's so hard to believe that it was only 3 months ago that I took that next to dead, filthy, weak, timid, bad of bones from a pound over two hours from me. He use to be afraid of his own shadow, now he's a confident, outgoing, BRAT that is in bad need of training and now that the weather has broke, I walk him over 3 miles everyday after work just to get him down to hyper, at only hyper, I can get him to listen fairly well and he's actually doing very well with heal, sit, down and stay so far. Not too bad for a 10 month old puppy in that terrible teenage stage the larger breeds go through.

Thanks for the compliment. I do have to admit he does have a next to perfect poodle face, I didn't even know that when I took him, he was in bad need of grooming. I can't say that I like the parti color, in fact, I actually swore I would never have one, didn't even know he was one when I went to see him. But if you were me, would you have left him?

Oops, all 64 pounds of him (he's gained almost 20 pounds in 3 months and is still lean) is trying to crawl on my lap to let me know that dawn has broke and it's time for us to go on our walk, maybe we'll get 4 miles in today.

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Old 04-03-2008, 09:23 AM   #8
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Chewie certainly was lucky to find you - and if I were you, could I have left him ..........well let me think that one over.........not for a milisecond - of course not.

Have a look at this thread I think Jake and Chewie may be soul mates! LOL

http://www.dogforum.org/showthread.php?t=17382

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Old 04-04-2008, 09:14 AM   #9
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OMG Carole, I'm in tears looking at those pics. I want to say "how could anyone do that to such a noble dog" but unfortunally I know all too well that it takes a special person to understand a highly intelligent and energic breed. Well maybe not so much an understanding person as one who is at least as intelligent as the dog, lol. I'm so glad you found Jake and are giving him the life he deserves, I can see you understand what it's like not having the heart to leave a dog you know needs you, even if it's not the dog you want, and then loving that dog as if it was the greatest dog ever born.

Yes, Chewie and Jake are soul mates, such a shame they are an ocean apart, I have a feeling they would be the best of friends. What pictures I have of him do not show the shape I found him in because he had so much hair, he was only 46 pounds at over 24 inches at the shoulder, I could have cut my hands on his backbone when I petted him.

You have seen my sig pic of Chewie, this is him the day after I got him, you can see how afraid he was, he was so sure I was going to beat him, it took me weeks to convince him that I wouldn't, he use to run, yelping, to hide if he thought he did something wrong which could be something as touching the furniture, or unable to control his bowels because he had explosive diarea. Sigh, I use to have that tall puppy spilling everything on the coffee table as he tried to get under it to escape and that made him even more afraid, it's been a long process to convince him that he is safe with me.

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Old 04-04-2008, 12:38 PM   #10
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Oh now its my turn for niagra falls! When I first saw the picture I showed it to hubby and he said 'ah he's begging for food looking sorry for himself' and i said read the post and then he said 'yes I can see he truly is scared'.

Sounds like he too has IBS - poor baby it just shows how they have been treated when they have 'explosive diahorrea'. (not always that but often) Is he OK now?

I hope your 15 year old's health doesn't deteriorate too significantly - have you any pictures of him/her?

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