American Water Spaniel

Type: Gun Dog

Height: 15 - 18 inches.

Weight: Males: 28 - 45 lbs.; Females: 24 - 40 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 12 years.

Litter Size: 4 - 6 puppies

Country of Origin: United States

Activity: Indoor - Medium. Outdoor - Very High.

Watch-dog: High. This is an alert watchdog that is pleasant to strangers they have been properly introduced to.

Guard-dog: Medium - Low.

Description: The American Water Spaniel was developed as an all-around hunting dog, bred to retrieve from skiff or canoes, as they were sometimes referred to as the "Skiff dog". They are an active, muscular dog, medium in size with a curly coat which has oil coating that makes them water resistant. The American Water Spaniel's head is moderate in length, with a broad full skull with a strong neck that blends smoothly with the shoulders. It has long ears with close curls, hazel-brown, alert eyes set well apart, and a sufficiently wide nose to ensure excellent scenting ability. All these are attributes that make the American Water Spaniel a great hunting dog. The American Water Spaniel also has a well developed and sturdily constructed back. Primarily a hunting dog, the American Water Spaniel also makes an ideal family pet who will interact well with the entire family. The American Water Spaniels still thinks of himself as a water dog and hunting comes natural to them. The American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin.

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Colors: Solid liver, brown or dark chocolate sometimes with small amounts of white on the chest and toes.

Coat: Uniformly wavy thick, close curls all over except it is smooth on the head. They are double-coated.

Temperament: American Water Spaniels are busy, affectionate, friendly, eager, intelligent, and enthusiastic. The American Water Spaniel is much esteemed by huntsmen. They love the water and get a long well with children but can be a bit food possessive. They are highly trainable, eager and busy. They are very friendly and do not make really good guards, but do an adequate job. They are friendly with those they have been properly introduced to. They have the great charm of a spaniel.

With Children: Yes, they are exceptionally good with children.

With Pets: Yes, they get along well with other animals.

Care and Training: Bi-weekly brushing of the American Water Spaniel is needed to remove dead hair and prevent matting. Minimal bathing is required. Vigorous exercise is essential and they should be allowed to swim often, as they enjoy this.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High. The American Water Spaniel is easily trainable especially if positive reinforcement is used.

Special Needs: Firm, positive training, grooming and a job or activity to do.

Living Environment: House with a fenced yard; daily exercise and attention. American Water Spaniels will adapt to any environment as long as they are with their family. Does best in a rural or suburban home with an active, dog-experienced family with time for training and exercise. A job with make your American Water Spaniel happier.

Health Issues: Alopecia, blindness, deafness, epilepsy, heart problems, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, poor temperament, spinal or neck problems, thyroid problems, and skin problems.

History: The exact origins of the American Water Spaniel are unknown but it is said that their ancestors may have included the Irish Water Spaniel, Old English Water Spaniel and the Curly-Coated Retriever sometime late in the nineteenth century. They were originally called Brown Water Spaniels. They were bred to have the ability to be a water retriever and used to retrieve ducks and geese and rabbits. In the early days they were also known as "Poor man's dog" as there was relatively little cost in maintenance. The American Water Spaniel was developed in the 1800s. Their small size allowed easier access to boats. Their brown color helped them blend in with the foliage around him. The hunter would shoot the ducks, and the American Water Spaniel would either go swimming or go by land to retrieve the fowl. When the 20th century approached, the British retrievers became more prevalent and popular. The American Water Spaniel decreased in popularity and eventually population. But thanks to Dr. F.J. Pfeifer, the breed gained renewed interest due to his writing of the dog standard and breed club entry. His dog was actually the first to be recognized by the AKC. Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1940. Today the breed has moderate attention, but it is not in danger of extinction. They are used as hunters as well as family pets.

First Registered by the AKC: 1940

AKC Group: Sporting

Class: Gun-Dog

Registries: AKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC(GB), UKC