One of the perks of working with BaxterBoo.com is the fact that I get to educate myself about rare breeds I might not otherwise know about. The American Water Spaniel is a breed worth exploring, as you will soon find out!
Read on to see if the American Water Spaniel might be for you!
- Height: 15-18 inches at the withers
- Weight: 25-45 pounds
- Historical function: Hunting, retrieving
- Modern function: Hunting, retrieving, companion
- AKC classification: Sporting group
Physical Characteristics: The American Water Spaniel is a well-kept secret for a medium-sized hunting dog that’s suitable for adverse weather conditions with its wavy or curly dense brown coat that sheds very little. It’s well-proportioned with an appealingly sweet face with long ears and brown eyes.
History of the Breed:
The American Water Spaniel (AWS) is an American breed developed as an all-around farm dog and hunting companion in the 18th Century in Wisconsin. It was designed to be small enough to retrieve water fowl by jumping out of boats. The breed’s ancestors include both the Irish Water Spaniel and Curly-Coated Retriever. The AWS is a rare breed with only around 300 registered with the AKC and about 3,000 in existence, mostly in the Midwest. It is the official state dog of Wisconsin.
Temperament: The American Water Spaniel has a bit of a dual personality, wanting to please, but having a bit of a stubborn streak as well. He’s intelligent and responds well to positive reinforcement and play, which makes him think the training is his idea. The AWS matures slowly, so patience is required, but that will pay off with a very dedicated, loyal pet and hunting companion. They are intuitive and sensitive, so they will respond quickly to commands, especially from the human they have bonded with. Sharp words and training methods are counterproductive with this breed, but calm, confident human pack leaders will be respected. Socialize well to prevent food guarding and dog aggression for more dominant types.
- Best suited for: Hunting, swimming, and retrieving. Good for families, agility, and an active lifestyle. Suitable for apartment life when adequately exercised.
- Preferred living conditions: This dog is a one-family dog, meaning they bond deeply with their people.
Care and Health:
- Grooming Requirements: The oily water-resistant coat of the American Water Spaniel needs a thorough brushing twice a week. Bathe only when necessary as bathing removes the natural water-repelling oils and can dry out the skin. The coat may have a scent due to the oil. This breed is a light shedder.
- Exercise Needs: Daily walk if not engaged in active training.
- Health Concerns: Some are prone to skin and eye problems, but have some of the lower results for hip dysplasia of the hunting dogs.
Breed Club Links: The American Water Spaniel Club, Inc.
Have any stories about life with an American Water Spaniel?