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Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel Dog Breed

Aliases: IWS, Whiptail, Rat Tail Spaniel, Bog Dog, Shannon Tail

Life Span: 10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 4-12 puppies
Group: Sporting
Color: deep puce, dark brown or liver color
Hair Length: Medium
Size: Large
Shedding: Lite Shed
Male Height: 20-24 inches in height
Male Weight: 45-65 pounds
Female Height: 19-23 inches in height
Female Weight: 45-65 pounds
 General info courtesy of Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.

Thyroid Disease - Low Risk

The Irish Water Spaniel ranks #118 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it). 

 Rank Among Breeds  Number of Dogs Tested  Percent of Dogs With Disease
 #118  240  2.5%

You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here

Other Health Problems

The Irish Water Spaniel has a few health concerns that it's owner should be aware of and keep a keen eye out for. The most common of these would be ear infections as this is common in many swimming dog breeds with longer ears and the Irish Water Spaniel is no exception. Ear infections often occur as a result of the water that does not drain from the ears properly and can pool inside causing an infection. Drying your Irish Water Spaniel's ears throughly after swims may help to prevent some ear infections, but any sensitivity around the ears should immediately be checked by a veterinarian.

Other health problems to be aware of with this breed is hypothyroidism, seizures, eye entropion which can all be inherited and you should inquire about any health concerns with the parents of your puppy before adopting or buying him or her. Because the Irish Water Spaniel is a larger breed of dog hip dysplasia is also a common health condition for the dog as it ages and can be uncomfortable for the dog, proper nutrition and health check ups can help to prevent some hip dysplasia.