Irish Russian Spanterrier

60-90 lbs
Irish Water Spaniel
Black Russian Terrier

The Irish Russian Spanterrier is a very rare hybrid, in part due to the fact that both of the parent breeds, the Irish Water Spaniel and the Black Russian Terrier, are rather rare themselves. The Irish Water Spaniel is an old breed that has been referred to by description in literature from 1607 and was first the subject of a painting in 1841. The Black Russian Terrier is a very new breed, it has been less than a hundred years since Russian military breeders began developing this dog and just over sixty since they began breeding true. The two breeds are quite different in physical appearance, temperament, and in their original purpose, so the Irish Russian Spanterrier can vary in several ways from dog to dog, even in the same litter. There are some definite similarities between the two, however, such as their intelligence, their versatility, and their dark coloration.

purpose Purpose
Guarding, Gun Dog, Companion
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Irish Water Spaniel and Black Russian Terrier

Irish Russian Spanterrier Health

Average Size
Male Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats
Height: 25-27 inches Weight: 70-100 lbs
Female Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 60-90 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Urolithiasis
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Otitis Externa
  • Eye Diseases and Disorders
  • Nail Bed Disease
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy
  • Seizures
  • Ivermectin Sensitivity
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Cutaneous cytology
  • Cultures
  • Urine Tests

Irish Russian Spanterrier Breed History

The Irish Russian Spanterrier is a designer dog, an intentional crossbreed between the Irish Water Spaniel, a medium-sized waterfowl retrieving canine that was developed in Ireland sometime before the 1600s, and the Black Russian Terrier, a giant breed dog that began development as part of the national security force in Russia in the 1930’s. The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest of the Spaniels, an energetic dog that has been around long enough to be mentioned in literature from the 1600s. The true heritage of this ancient dog breed is lost to history, though many have speculated that breeds like the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog, the Irish Setter, and the Curly-Coated Retriever may have contributed to the breed at some point in their history. They are both wonderful family dogs and excellent versatile hunting dogs who can handle most aspects of flushing and retrieving game birds but excel at nosework and have a strong desire to locate targets. These traits made them very popular in early America and in 1875 the Irish Water Spaniel  had become the 3rd most popular sporting dog in the United States and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1884. Although the Golden Retriever has taken its spot in the popularity rankings and the Irish Water Spaniel has dropped to 150th place in popularity, this breed still has a small but dedicated fan base. The Black Russian Terrier is a very new breed compared to the Irish Water Spaniel. Developed in military kennels outside of Moscow, this canine was designed as a native Russian breed of dog that was to be employed as a large animal that could both be highly trainable and reliable, as well as being able to think and act independently when needed. A total of seventeen different breeds were utilized in developing this immense guard dog but the four dogs who most heavily influenced the breed include the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, the Airedale, and the Newfoundland breed. This large, confident, and independent thinking animal began to breed true in 1956 and was internationally accepted by the FCI in 1984 and but not into the AKC until 2004.

Irish Russian Spanterrier Breed Appearance

The Irish Water Spaniel is a medium-sized dog and the Black Russian Terrier is a giant breed, and typically their offspring will be a large to a very large dog. They are slightly longer than they are tall, giving them a rectangular shape and they will have straight, strong legs, although they can either sport the thick, sickle-shaped tale of the Black Russian Terrier or the distinctive “rat tail” of the Irish Water Spaniel. Dogs that favor their Water Spaniel heritage will have a chiseled head with a long, deep muzzle covered in fine, short hair, while those that favor the Black Russian Terrier will have a large, brick-like head with a broad but slightly tapering muzzle that has copious furnishings of hair that fall over the eyes and form a moustache and beard. The eyes of this hybrid can range from dark brown to amber and may be either oval or almond-shaped, and the ears can be set either high or low on the skull; those that are set high will usually fold forward, while those set low will most often hang down to the side of the head, often reaching past the chin. The Irish Russian Spanterrier will have a double layer coat that will consist of a soft dense undercoat that is covered by a water-repellent layer of outer hair that may be straight like the Black Russian Terrier, curly like the Irish Water Spaniel, or anywhere in between.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Irish Russian Spanterrier eyes
amber Irish Russian Spanterrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Irish Russian Spanterrier nose
brown Irish Russian Spanterrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Irish Russian Spanterrier coat
brown Irish Russian Spanterrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Irish Russian Spanterrier wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Irish Russian Spanterrier Breed Maintenance

The grooming requirements for this particular crossbreed is another area that can vary a bit from dog to dog. Though it does require some effort, the coat of the Irish Water Dog parent is fairly simple to care for; bathing is required only on an as-needed basis, particularly as a thorough brushing and combing of the coat will often remove much of the dust, dirt, and grime that is stuck to the fur itself, and shedding is rare enough that this dog breed is considered to be hypoallergenic The coat of the Black Russian parent is a different story; they require only weekly brushing, but it takes quite a while to ensure the coat is thoroughly detangled as their fur is very thick and dense, and their non-hypoallergenic coats require clipping or trimming at least twice a year. Your Irish Russian Spanterrier will have a coat that is dense and on the long side, though the texture and tendency to tangle will depend upon dominant genes. The ears of your hybrid must be checked often for excess moisture or dirt. It is recommended that you also set up a routine for cleaning of the teeth and trimming of the nails.

Brushes for Irish Russian Spanterrier
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Irish Russian Spanterrier requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Irish Russian Spanterrier Temperament

The temperament of the Irish Russian Spanterrier can vary somewhat between individuals when it comes to energy levels, tolerance and suitability for children, and territorial or protective behavior. While both Irish Water Spaniels and Black Russian Terriers are usually very tolerant of children, they may be a little too rambunctious for the youngest of children, particularly through their adolescence. Some negative traits can occasionally crop up on both sides of the family tree, however, as the Irish Water Spaniel tends to be combative with other dogs and has a strong prey drive, and in rare cases, overprotective or territorial behaviors may crop up with the Black Russian Terrier due to their guard dog nature.  Early positive socialization can help to mitigate many of these negative behavior traits as well as encourage the proper behavior with strangers. This hybrid is at their best when they are able to spend as much time as possible with their family and are prone to separation anxiety if left alone too long. This is an extremely trainable dog that can typically master new commands quickly and consistently, but may become willful or distracted if they are bored. Try to vary your training routines regularly to avoid boredom and bring out the best in your dog.

Irish Russian Spanterrier Activity Requirements

Although the Black Russian Terrier can tend to be somewhat sedate, the Irish Water Spaniel is a very active canine, so the Irish Russian Spanterrier does need at least 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise throughout the day each day to keep them at their happiest and healthiest. This crossbreed may develop skeletal disorders if they are allowed to play too rough or overstress their joints by walking or jogging too far at one time while they are in their adolescence. Along with walking and jogging, this canine may also excel at and enjoy activities such as obedience training, swimming, agility training, and rally events. They will appreciate a large yard in which to stretch and explore, or regular visits to the dog park if space outside the home is limited.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
9 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes
activity minutes

Irish Russian Spanterrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00
food bag monthly cost

Irish Russian Spanterrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats at six months
Height: 20.0 inches Weight: 60.0 lbs
Female Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats at six months
Height: 20.0 inches Weight: 50.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 24.0 inches Weight: 80.0 lbs
Female Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 23.0 inches Weight: 70.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 26.0 inches Weight: 100.0 lbs
Female Irish Russian Spanterrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 25.0 inches Weight: 90.5 lbs

Irish Russian Spanterrier Owner Experiences

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