Irish Water Spaniel vs Icelandic Sheepdog - Breed Comparison

Icelandic Sheepdog is originated from Iceland but Irish Water Spaniel is originated from Ireland. Icelandic Sheepdog may grow 14 cm / 5 inches shorter than Irish Water Spaniel. Icelandic Sheepdog may weigh 16 kg / 35 pounds lesser than Irish Water Spaniel. Both Icelandic Sheepdog and Irish Water Spaniel has almost same life span. Icelandic Sheepdog may have less litter size than Irish Water Spaniel. Both Icelandic Sheepdog and Irish Water Spaniel requires Moderate Maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dogs
Gun dogs
Origin:
Iceland
Ireland
Height Male:
40 - 45 cm
15 - 18 inches
51 - 59 cm
20 - 24 inches
Height Female:
40 - 45 cm
15 - 18 inches
51 - 59 cm
20 - 24 inches
Weight Male:
9 - 14 kg
19 - 31 pounds
25 - 30 kg
55 - 67 pounds
Weight Female:
9 - 14 kg
19 - 31 pounds
25 - 30 kg
55 - 67 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 14 Years
10 - 12 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 8
4 - 12
Size:
Medium
Medium
Other Names:
Iceland Dog, Icelandic Spitz
Rat Tail, Southern Irish Water Spaniel
Colors Available:
black, cream or chocolate., tan and white, Grey and white or tan and white
Dark Brown, Liver
Coat:
Short or long, straight or wavy
Longish hair - thick and very curly
Shedding:
Moderate, Seasonal
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate Maintenance
Moderate Maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
Yes
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

There are quite a few different dog breeds that fall under the name of Spitz-type dogs, and in fact they have a number of similar characteristics, one of which is that they have some wolf-like features. They typically have the thick coat with undercoat and the erect, pointed ears and slanted eyes.

There is definitely a strong link between the Spitz type dogs and wild wolves. The tail too is feathery and can curl over the back of the dog.

The Icelandic Sheepdog, a native dog to Iceland, is a Spitz type dog which originates from the dogs brought to Iceland by the Vikings. The dogs have always been used to herd sheep, and they resemble dogs found in graves in Sweden and Denmark.

The dog at one time was facing extinction in the late 20th century, but in 1969, the Icelandic Dog Breeder Association was established to restore and preserve the breed. The Icelandic Sheepdog gained AKC recognition in June 2010.

The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the larger spaniel types and also one of the oldest.

He is sometimes referred to as the Southern Irish Water Spaniel. Hailing from Ireland, the precise origins of the dog aren't altogether sure. It is believed that the dog came from other dogs from Persia and there are references to these water dogs from as early as 1600.

The modern breed was developed in Ireland in the 1830s. The breed's purpose is that of a hunter of waterfowl and he swims strongly.

The Irish Water Spaniel was recognized by the AKC in 1884. In 1890 the Irish Water Spaniel Club was formed.

Description

The Icelandic Sheepdog is a smallish to medium sized dog standing at 40 to 45cm in height and he can weigh anything between 9 and 14kg.

His double coat can be short or long, straight or wavy and in a mix of colors such as grey and white or tan and white, black, tan and white, cream or chocolate. Even though they come in a number of predominant colors, these colors are always accompanied by white markings.

He has a longish muzzle, much like the wolf, giving him an alert, foxy appearance. He has a muscular, rectangular body with strong, straight legs with dewclaws on both the front and hind legs.

Temperament:

Your social, energetic dog will require socialization and training which does him the world of good, turning him into a well-adjusted, obedient dog.

He is an intelligent dog, and training him won't be difficult as he is eager to please. These are social dogs which love being part of the family and they don't like being left outside day after day with little human intervention. He is a lively, confident breed, gentle and not at all aggressive.

A peculiar feature of this dog is its hairless tail which is partly covered in curls which the rest is all but hairless, giving him the nickname of Rat Tail or Whip Tail.

Looking much like a Poodle with his tight oily curls, the Irish Water Spaniel is a medium to large sized purebred dog, a robust, compact built dog with a skull which is shaped like a dome.

The muzzle is longish, the eyes dark brown and intelligent looking and the ears are long and floppy.

His hair is thick and curly and it sheds very little so that the dog is regarded as being hypoallergenic. The medium length coat is a dark brown, liver color with fairly tight curls that may even tend to cover the eyes.

It is interesting to note that he has webbed feet, which is useful for when the dog swims.He stands at roughly 51cm to 61cm and weighs between 25 to 30kg.

Temperament:

Temperament in any dog is affected by socialization and the way the human owner raises the dog. The Irish Water Spaniel is a water loving dog, being active and energetic.

He is an intelligent dog and easy to train and socialize. When trained he becomes such an obedient dog. He has also got a light-hearted side to him and is actually known to be quite amusing and clownish, providing plenty of laughs for you.

They make good family dogs, getting on well with children in the home as well as with other pets. They're also able to make good guard dogs, taking the protective roles seriously. He isn't an aggressive dog but he has a warning bark that can be a good warning to intruders.

Health Problems

Your pet will reach 12 to 14 years of age with good care and is regarded as a generally healthy dog breed. However, they can be prone to a few health conditions, and these include hip dysplasia and diabetes.

Diabetes:

Mercifully for your pet, diabetes is considered a manageable disorder. When your pet doesn’t produce insulin or can’t utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels rise, resulting in hyperglycemia.

If left untreated, your pet can land up with a host of complicated health problems. Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 or Type II, with the more common form in dogs being Type 1.

A generally healthy breed, the Irish Water Spaniel, just like with most other dogs, can fall prey to some of the more common dog ailments of which hip dysplasia is one.

Bone and joint problems like this can lead to lameness even in young dogs.

Eye diseases are also a problem, and cataracts can form in the eye, particularly when the dog is older and create a cloudy look to the eye. It's not painful for the dog.

Hypothyroidism, a treatable hormonal disorder is another disease worth being aware of.

Caring The Pet

Diet:

Feed your energetic Icelandic Sheepdog a diet which is appropriate for his age and activity level. Don't just feed him the best commercially manufactured dog food, but give him some cooked chicken, brown rice and vegetables mixed into his kibble as a tasty treat. Also, dogs are carnivores, so include some raw meat into his diet from time to time. Clean, cool water should always be available.

Grooming:

The Icelandic Sheepdog has a thick double coat, with the outer coat being longer and the hair being shiny and glossy. These dogs shed quite a bit with seasonal shedding too so twice-weekly brushing will be necessary to keep the fur free of loose hair. His nails should also be checked regularly and his teeth should be brushed a couple of times a week too.

Exercise:

Icelandic Sheepdogs are athletic, active dogs that require a lot of exercise to keep them in good physical shape.

He loves all kinds of games and outdoor activities, one of which will be going with you for a walk every day. He makes a wonderful companion for those people going on long hikes.

Grooming:

Your Irish Water Spaniel requires quite a bit of grooming that will involve his coat, his nails, his teeth and his ears. The double coat doesn't shed much so it can be easily maintained by brushing the coat twice a week.

It can help your water spaniel to look good by sending him in to a doggy grooming parlor to have his curls neatened. This is a dog that loves water and swimming, and you will need to check the inside of his ears for dampness, wax build-up and debris. This can all combine to cause nasty ear infections.

Exercise:

The dog is energetic and will need to be exercised. Take him for walks, play ball games with him and allow him to go on hikes with you or to go swimming. He loves being involved in all your activities as he is a social, active dog.

Diet:

Highly energetic, it will be important to feed your Irish Water Spaniel with food that enhances his energy levels. There are some good quality commercially manufactured dog foods on the market. Choose one that caters for active, athletic dogs such as the Irish Water Spaniel.

Dry kibble is more recommended to prevent canine tooth decay. Mix in some home cooked foods from time to time such as cooked chicken, rice, pasta and vegetables and try to include some raw meat every now and then as well. Make sure he has constant access to fresh, cool water.

Characteristics

The Icelandic Sheepdog is such a good all-round family pet. He is alert, intelligent, social, playful, loyal, loving and brave.

He is friendly too, getting on well with children and any pets you have in the home. He is essentially a working dog, so you shouldn’t think of owning him as a pet if your lifestyle is centered around the TV and the couch for the best part of the day.

This is an energetic dog who wants lots of action during the day. He is a dog that badly wants to be part of the family and in exchange for looking after him well, he’ll promise to be an exceptional pet.

Your active Irish Water Spaniel just loves water so you can count him in whenever you go swimming. That is one characteristic of the Irish Water Spaniel – he just loves to be involved in all the action you're busy with.

He makes an ideal family pet for an active family, and he will be a loyal and devoted pet who will provide a lot of fun to your family with his mischievous side.

He is confident, independent and strong willed so first time dog owners should bear this in mind. He is essentially just a fun loving, busy dog and if you make sure to exercise him well and make sure he is a participating member of your family, he'll be your most loving and devoted friend.

Comparison with other breeds

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