The Irish water spaniel is the sole surviving water dog of the British Isles. Its exact origins are unknown, although it is generally thought to have evolved in part from dogs brought to Ireland by way of the Iberian Peninsula. By the mid-19th century, the breed had been developed as a retriever of waterfowl, and soon became America’s most popular retrieving breed. Its eager disposition, curly coat and rat-like tail made it uniquely qualified for water work. Today, the breed retains all of its original characteristics, and enjoys a special prominence in the home as a bold and dashing companion animal.