The Irish Water Spaniel: Clown, comedian, practical joker, and possessor of a wicked sense of humor. This exuberant canine lover-of-life, however, isn’t just another pretty face with a funny bone. The dual-purpose dog old Gaelic hunters in Ireland called “Beannaithe” (blessed) was developed to retrieve waterfowl and upland game, but the breed turned out to be so versatile that given a mind to, an IWS could probably master a treble jig and audition for Riverdance.

The IWS can work as a retriever, but do upland work like a spaniel giving a hunter the best of both worlds. They are bigger than other spaniels, and that means that instead of going under cover, they go right through it, and naturally work close when quartering so they stay in run range. In fact, while the IWS has “retriever” in his name and is classified as such by the AKC, it can earn AKC titles in spaniel hunt tests.

“Flurry” by Keran Sunaski Gilmore is available as a print, poster and greeting card here.

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