The Irish Water Spaniel is intelligent, but also considered a "freethinker," inasmuch as it will not take direction if it thinks itself stronger of mind than the person giving the commands. They are a loving dog that is great with kids, and can be good with pets if properly introduced. They may not take to strangers, being shy or reserved. They should be socialized early on to avoid them becoming overprotective, or just mischievous. While they were bred to be hunting dogs, because of their tendency to not be vocal unless they detect something awry, they can also make a good watchdog.
The Irish Water Spaniel can be either deep puce, dark brown, or liver in color.