Under the liver colored curls, hides a robust sports dog, with a strong build. The Irish Water Spaniel needs vigorous play and exercise, preferably in water, with a fun loving owner. 
A loose and curly crest over a soft, interrogating face, the Irish Water Spaniel has a sporty build, perfectly balanced, garnished with liver colored curls, and wagging a typical rat tail. It is a smart and robust sports dog, with a cleanly chiseled head, not loaded, with a large skull, rounded, and gradual stop. The ears are long and covered in abundant curls. The neck is long and arched; the shoulders sloped; the upper outline strong and leveled; the body with a medium length; the chest deep; wide thorax. The forequarters strong looking but not heavy; the forelimbs with a good bone structure, with a medium length, enough forearm length to provide amplitude; closed elbows. Strong hindquarters giving the strength to swim. The coat should be double and abundant everywhere, with thick, closed curls; the hair texture is oily by nature. The color should always be a very reddish liver, described by the standard as “a rich liver color with a lilac highlight”. The male stands from 56 to 60 cm, the female 2.5 cm less; the male weighs between 27 and 32 kg, the family between 22.5 and 29 kg.
WHO IS IT RIGHT FOR             
If you wake up next to this bristle, prepare to have an active day. 
A sports dog who loves fun, which with a different appearance and similarity to the Poodle has gained a plenty of fans. It is a natural athlete in the water and needs an active owner. The Irish Water Spaniel shows great loyalty to its owners, but is less inclined to make a fuss over strangers. Children should be instructed, for this independent and quick thinking dog has its place.
The puppies many times are born with white spots at the chest and fingers. These should disappear before the sixth or eighth week. (The white spots are not desirable in the adult.) The color of the eyes can be dark amber, which should darken to the desired dark hazelnut color when maturing. In both cases, the buyer should avoid extremes when choosing a puppy, choosing the one whit the least white and darkest colors. The growth of the classical Irish Water Spaniel coat begins at around four or five months. The adult hair with the crest is usually appreciated from 10 or 12 months. The owner should dedicate plenty of time to teaching and exercising with this young, and begin basic education early.
For show, choose a puppy with a good dark pigmentation, without too many white spots and who doesn’t have to many light colors.
Breeders have retained the Irish Water Spaniel for a long time, and this good care has contributed to the excellent health in the breed, relatively free of disease and hereditary defects. There is a low incidence of hip dysplasia, bad bites, and a hereditary anomaly that consists in areas without curly hair (with a loss of local hair). The largest concern is regular brushing, since the hair tends to knot, leading to skin irritations. In addition, this thick and curly coat attracts parasites, such as fleas and ticks. Hair care should include clipping the hair inside the ears and between the pads to avoid infections. This breed can suffer a chronic disease that affects nails, and which manifests by a limp. Channeling its instincts towards training and collecting contributes a lot to the education of this excellent partner. Longevity is between ten and twelve years.
A well educated Irish Water Spaniel contributes to the joy and fun of the family. Teach it to discern the good from the bad early; it is fearless and inventive: too much liberty can bring problems.