The Real Reason the Irish Water Spaniel is a Clown

Some people take leprechauns very seriously.

The leprechaun fairy watch is a webcam hidden in a field somewhere in Tipperary, Ireland. This is said to be an enchanted area well known for magical associations. In fact, there’s fairy ring close-by (a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms), and all manner of Irish fairies such as pookas, banshees and merrows might be seen.

  • In case you don’t know about leprechauns, here’s a primer:
  • They’re fairies;
  • There’s no record of female leprechauns;
  • Leprechauns are sneaky with a curious sense of humor;
  • Sometimes, they wear red;
  • They are protected under European law. Seriously.
  • They’re known for their money, and there’s apparently a lot of it in making shoes, their traditional business;
  • They spend most of their time alone
  • “Leprechaun” is believed to be a variation of the Middle Irish word, lūchorpān—lū which means small,  and corp means body;
  • And finally (and the most important): In Irish mythology, it’s said that when Princess Paen wanted to teach a leprechaun a lesson for his deviousness, she put him inside an Irish Water Spaniel puppy for a whole year. When it came time for the leprechaun’s release, he left the IWS’s body, but promised that a bit of him would always and forever remain in the dog and its descendants.  So, when you hear that the Irish Water Spaniel is the “clown of the sporting dog world,” now you know why.

This charming legend is attributed to the late Alan Stern from an article he wrote for the AKC Gazette.

Image of Irish Water Spaniel by  Stuart Mallard. This print is available here.  


2 thoughts on “The Real Reason the Irish Water Spaniel is a Clown”

  1. The Princess Paen story can be attributed to the late Alan Stern from an article the he wrote for the AKC Gazette.

    • Thanks, Florence, we’ll see to it that it’s properly credited!

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