Spanish Water Dog

Type: Gun Dog

Height: Females: 15 - 18 inches; Males: 17 - 20 inches.

Weight: Females: 26 - 40 lbs.; Males: 40 - 49 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 4 - 6 puppies. The average is 6 puppies.

Country of Origin: Spain

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Medium. This breed is suspicious of strangers.


Description: Lively, fun loving and full of energy, the Spanish Water Dog is a clown in a curly coat. They love the water, and were once used as fishermen's aids in bringing in nets and catching items overboard. The Spanish Water Dog can even dive! Rather obedient and willing to learn, they actually enjoy working and are eager to do so. They are affectionate and loyal, cheerful and fun. However, they are not so friendly as to ignore a threat. The Spanish Water Dog is wary of strangers and makes an excellent watch dog. They also get along with children, although merely tolerating them. The Spanish Water dog is a dog of many names, being called the Perro de Agua Espanol, Turco de Andaluz and several other names. They are medium sized dogs that have extensively curly hair that is never in need of brushing. The coat, if grown out, will cord and is encouraged to do so. They come in colors of white, black, chestnut, white and black or white and chestnut. The color of the eyes and nose compliment the breed's natural fur color. They are strong, woolly, and an energetic choice.

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Other Names: Perro de Agua Espanol, Turco de Andaluz, Andalusian Turk

Colors: White, black, chestnut, white and black or white and chestnut. Eyes are any color from hazel to chestnut, in agreement with the color of the coat.

Coat: The coat is very curly and has a woolly texture. It forms heavy cords of hair if remained untrimmed.

Temperament: The Spanish Water Dog loves to have fun, loves the water, and is a very active breed. They are faithful and obedient, and they rather enjoy working. They can be trained to do several things, not just one, using their extremely athletic and hard-working mentality to keep them going. They are a cheerful breed. Wary with strangers, this breed will tolerate children but should not be expected to enjoy them. Affectionate, loyal and diligent, the Spanish Water Dog is very intelligent and not difficult to train. They thrive on working and playing, being idle is something they are not used to. They have natural herding and guarding instincts that serve them well. They are lively and clownish, being mostly one-family dogs.

With Children: Yes, they are fine with children but can get irritable.

With Pets: Yes, good with other pets.

Special Skills: Herding, hunting and companion dog.

Care and Training: The coat is never brushed out, rather, it is allowed to be grown out and be corded. They should be shaved once a year. The Spanish Water Dog is very trainable and obedient. They actually enjoy doing work, being such lively and active dogs. Training of positive reinforcement from puppyhood should be used on this breed.

Learning Rate: High. SWDs like to learn. Obedience - High. Problem Solving

Special Needs: Exercise and grooming.

Living Environment: This breed is very lively and clownish, thus needing an active owner. This breed likes the outdoors. The best owner for this breed would be an active owner or family living in a rural area.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, eye problems, cataracts, allergies, and hypothyroidism.

History: This breed is thought to relate to the old Barbet or other water dogs, such as the Irish Water Spaniel or Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs have been used over time to retrieve from the water with their exceptional diving skills, as well as to go hunting. They are also excellent herders. They have always been multi-purpose dogs, and certainly have the attitude for it. Goat herders and and shepherds in southern Spain used this breed over the centuries for various jobs, and at one point the breed was a fisherman's aid as well. There are a few theories as to where this breed came from. One suggests the breed came with Turkish travelers along the Mediterranean, another suggests they originated in North Africa. Either way, they found their way to the Southern Iberian Peninsula, in which documentation of the breed has been found dating back to 1110 A.D. These woolly coated dogs had several different names, including Perro de Agua, Perro Turco, Laneto, Perro de Lanas, Perro Patero, Perro Rizado, Churro, Barbeta, Turcos Andalucia, and Perro de Agua Espanol. During the 18th century the breed was used for herding in the south and north of Spain. In Seville, Algecieras and Malaga, Water Dogs would tow boats to shore. They also helped fishermen with their nets and for hunting waterfowl. In 1981, Mrs. Saskya Mesdag showed her Spanish Water Dog at a dog show near Malaga, Spain. In 1999, the Spanish Water Dog was accepted by the FCI. The breed still has its original use, herding cattle, sheep, pigs and goats in the mountains of southern Andalucia as they have been for a thousand years. Today, the breed has also been used for search and rescue, drug sniffing, bomb sniffing, agility and work in the water.

First Registered by the AKC: 2015

AKC Group: Herding Group

Class: Sporting

Registries: FCI (Group 8), KC (UK) (Gundog), NZKC (Gundog), UKC (Gun Dogs)