▷ The world of Pets: Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, amphibians

American Water Spaniel
Estados Unidos FCI 301 . Water Dogs

Perro de Agua Americano

The American Water Spaniel always delivered to work, He is obedient and easy to train..



The American Water Spaniel It is a breed of dog originating in United States, little-known outside of North America.

Although the exact origins of the American Water Spaniel remain a mystery, experts agree that it probably developed in the first half of the 19th century in the Fox and Wolf river valleys of Wisconsin, an American state in the Great Lakes region.

During the conquest of the West in the 19th century, European settlers who moved to the Midwest regions of the United States brought their hunting dogs with them to help meet their food needs. Over the years, used various Old World breeds to create a new dog perfectly adapted to the peculiarities of hunting in the Great Lakes region. They needed a versatile animal with an excellent sense of smell, able to work both on land and in water, and expert in recovering downed waterfowl. They also wanted their companion to be compact enough to carry in a small boat or canoe., and could withstand the cold Wisconsin water temperatures.

It is not possible to know with total certainty which races were used to achieve this, but experts believe they were the English Water Spaniel (now extinct), the Irish Water Spaniel, the Curly-coated Retriever, the Poodle and the Sussex Spaniel or other type of Spaniel. Native American dogs were also used in the various crosses.

The small brown animal thus created was known at the time as American Brown Spaniel. It had thick curly fur that protected it from cold water and winter temperatures.. They were used to hunt and retrieve waterfowl, but also for hunting on land, like grouse, quail and pheasant, as well as the occasional rabbit. At the end of the 19th century, the American Brown Spaniel had made a name for itself in the Great Lakes region and enjoyed some popularity with Wisconsin hunters, Michigan y Minnesota.

But, the number of specimens of this breed began to decline rapidly at the beginning of the 20th century, due both to the reduction of the duck population in these areas and to changes in hunting practices. In fact, hunting became at that time a leisure activity, more than in a true feeding medium. It also, hunters began to prefer new European hunting dogs that were larger and more specialized in a specific type of hunting, already were Retrievers, Pointers or Spaniels.

Fortunately, the American Brown Spaniel had an ardent admirer in Dr.. Fred J. Pfeifer, based in New London, Wisconsin. Firmly convinced that this dog should be preserved and recognized, Pfeifer created a kennel dedicated to the breed, Wolf River Cattery, and set out to save it from extinction. He spared no effort to offer his puppies to all corners of the country, mostly through various advertisements.

The American Water Spaniel is probably one of the main races that contributed to the development of the Boykin Spaniel.

The recognition and dissemination of American Water Spaniel

The efforts of Fred Pfeifer and other enthusiasts who joined him paved the way for official recognition of the breed by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1920, with the name of American Water Spaniel. It was Pfeifer's own dog, called Curly Pfeifer, the first representative of the breed to be registered with the organization. The breed was also recognized by the Field Dog Stud Book in 1938 and by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1940.

The breed took much longer to be recognized in other parts of the world. Like this, acceptance by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) did not occur until 1979, followed shortly after by that of British Kennel Club in 1981. The Canadian Kennel Club it is also among the organizations that recognize the race.

Distribution and popularity

In United States, the American Water Spaniel still extremely rare today, with a world population estimated at about 3.000 specimens, most of them in the American Midwest, especially in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota y Michigan, where it is still very popular with hunters. The race occupies the position 165 (of something less than 200) in the breed classification of the American Kennel Club (AKC) depending on the number of annual registrations in the organization, and the situation has been comparable at least since the beginning of the 21st century. Obviously, the fact that it is one of only two sporting breeds developed in the United States (along with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever) does not seem to be enough to make her popular with the American public.

In the rest of the world, race is even more confidential.

In France, for example, There are less than 10 registrations per year in the Livre des Origines Françaises.

In Great Britain, the number of births registered with the Kennel Club is even zero most years.

Physical characteristics

The American Water Spaniel it is a compact dog, medium in size and well muscled. Designed to work in the icy waters and swampy shores of the Great Lakes region of the United States, they are perfectly equipped for it: the pads of its feet are thick, their toes are webbed and small enough to jump off a small boat without capsizing it. It also, their hips and hind legs are strongly developed, which gives it some propulsion force and prevents it from jamming. Like this, is able to break through even on wet hunting grounds.

The head is well proportioned to the body. ears are drooping. The eyes are long and wide, and they can be hazel colored, brown or amber. They contribute to a cheerful expression and a smart look. The nose is black or brown and the nostrils are well developed, which reminds us that this dog was designed to sniff out game. The nose is dominated by tight lips.

The American Water Spaniel has a dense undercoat that greatly protects it from water, extreme temperatures and branches. The top layer is of medium length and can have even waves or tight curls. The density of the latter can vary from one area of ​​the body to another.. In all cases, the head is covered with short, straight hair and the tail is moderately bushy.

It also, its top layer is naturally very oily to be waterproof and avoid scratches from vegetation. Thus, their fur has a strong odor, and can sometimes leave a greasy stain when rubbed against a wall or furniture.

The coat of the American Water Spaniel it is always uniform and liver-colored, chocolate or black, although a small amount of white hairs are sometimes found on the fingers or on the chest.

Last, sexual dimorphism is quite marked in this breed, since the males are, average, considerably heavier and more massive than females.

The standard the FCI is the same as the American Kennel Club. This indicates that the American Water Spaniel has a size ranging from the 38 to 45 cm and weigh in 13 to 20 kg. Some reaching a height of 50 cm and a weight of 23 kg. This not disqualifies them but costs them points.

Character and skills

Like most hunting dogs, the American Water Spaniel is full of energy and enthusiasm, and you need a good dose of daily exercise and mental stimulation to be balanced. As long as its owner meets your needs, either making them hunt, taking them for a run or letting them play with the children, They are excellent companion dogs..

In fact, he's basically a jolly dog, friendly and loving, eager to please their owners and who likes to spend time with them. You may also become especially fond of the person who dedicates the most time and attention to you., but he is still very friendly with the rest of the tribe.

Usually, have a strong affinity with the youngest, to the point of being a recommended dog breed with children. Inexhaustible, they love spending time with them, entertain them and participate in all kinds of activities with them, either on land or in the water. However, it is important to teach children to interact with them in a respectful way, to avoid any accident. In any case, no dog, whatever race he is and no matter how friendly he is, should be left unsupervised with a young child.

You can play all day and, At night, snuggle into your family's lap for a hug.

Sociable and affectionate with his family, the American Water Spaniel It, on the other hand, shy and suspicious of strangers, without showing aggressiveness. As a result, It may take several introductions before you finally decide to befriend someone you regularly meet..

Nor does he feel very comfortable with his companions, and can sometimes be territorial and aggressive towards them. But, if you share your home with one of them or with a cat, considers you as a full member of your family, so normally there is no problem. This is even more true if you are used to being with him from a young age..

The same cannot be said for a possible coexistence with a rodent or a bird., even if it starts when he is still very young. In fact, the hunting instinct that makes him chase these species when he finds them during his walks could lead him to do the same at any moment, and thus put an end to said coexistence.

Letting him live with a dog or cat is not without interest in any case., because his proximity to his masters makes him easily suffer from separation anxiety if he stays alone for more than a few hours. So it's likely to bark excessively, which can quickly become a source of tension with neighbors. The presence of a little companion can keep you busy and ease your anxieties., although the best is, Obviously, have your family at home as often as possible. In any case, this dog is not really adapted for people who generally spend their days away from home.

Developed to be a tough hunting companion, the American Water Spanielhave energy to spare: one or two short walks around the neighborhood a day are not enough to meet your exercise needs, and then he would have every chance of developing various behavioral problems.

Although it depends on the age and health of each, in general it is necessary to anticipate not less than one or two hours of activity a day so that the dog can keep moving. It is best to divide it into several opportunities spread throughout the day, for example combining two or three walks, jogging sessions or bike rides with a good period of play. Of course, if any of these activities offer the opportunity to bathe, Will be delighted, since it is a water-loving breed of dog.

Giving him plenty of opportunities to exercise is the best way to avoid a number of potentially problematic behaviors., as it has a strong natural tendency to bite, dig and jump.

It also, as soon as your need for exercise is satisfied, that is to say, as the day is full of outings that are so many opportunities to make you spend, can live in an apartment, although obviously it is far from being an ideal environment for him. In any case, if you spend a lot of time indoors, it is important to provide all kinds of balls, chew toys and other distractions that allow you to burn energy throughout the day.

The fact is that the American Water Spaniel it's a country dog ​​at heart, much happier when you have access at all times to a large outdoor space where you can expend your energy. But, although he loves to play and spend time outdoors, it is out of place to put him there and make him spend most of his time away from his family, since you need prolonged and daily contact with her.

It also, if the house has a garden, it is advisable to make sure that it is well fenced, to avoid any leak. In fact, this dog has a pronounced hunting instinct and is a wanderer at heart: if given the opportunity, he is likely to run off hunting small critters or just exploring the surroundings.

However, how he usually responds well to withdrawal orders once he has been properly trained, it is possible to walk without a leash in nature. On the other hand, in places where the presence of other dogs is very likely or even safe, it is better to wear him systematically on a leash, to avoid any risk of dog fighting.

Last, it is not likely that the American Water Spaniel be the best friend of the neighbor. In fact, although he is calm and affectionate with his family, he is very awake and barks a lot, sometimes for no apparent reason. This makes for an excellent watchdog., especially since his barks are quite loud, but also a potential source of trouble. But, this propensity to bark can be mitigated by addressing the problem in the context of their education.


The American Water Spaniel can be stubborn and independent at times: he likes to do what he wants and may try to impose himself by behaving as a dominant, both with their masters and with other dogs. Thus, you need to have an experienced and solid master in front of you, able to show your dog who decides and to keep a steady hand throughout his life, because at any time you can try to question the established order.

But, he is also an intelligent dog and eager to please his caregiver, as soon as he recognizes him as the leader of the pack. So, responds well to an education that is firm, smooth and consistent, and this can give excellent results when in good hands.

To get it, it is best to opt for short and motivating training sessions and not skimp on the use of positive reinforcement techniques: compliments, petting, candies, etc. On the other hand, it is advisable to avoid the use of punishments, that could affect this sensitive dog and degrade the trust it should have in its master.

Learning to call back should be a top of his education if he's allowed to live off-leash. Otherwise, his hunting instinct would make him flee soon when small animals similar to prey passed by.

In any case, this instinct obviously makes it a good potential to be used for hunting. A little more training on the different hunting techniques is still necessary to fully exploit it..

Another aspect to address in the context of your education is barking, because he tends to be very barking. The ideal is to make him distinguish between what he deserves to bark and what he does not, as well as simply teaching him to stop immediately when asked.

Last, like any dog, the American Water Spaniel needs to be thoroughly socialized from a young age, facing all kinds of people, animals, places, situations and stimuli, to hone your social skills and allow you to grow balanced. This is all the more necessary as he tends to be shy., distrustful or even aggressive towards people or dogs you don't know.


The American Water Spaniel is generally robust and healthy, which is explained in particular by the selection work that was at the origin of its creation and the multiple criteria that it had to meet at that time.

Among these, resistance to cold and weather stood out., and its double layer perfectly fulfills the objective: protects her wonderfully from the cold (both on land and in the water) and from the elements, but also from the heat, even if in case of a heat wave you should be able to take refuge in the shade, or even in an air-conditioned place, in general it is able to adapt to almost any type of climate.

His good general health does not prevent the American Water Spaniel are particularly prone to certain diseases:

  • theHip Dysplasia, joint malformation that can be caused by a hereditary cause causes pain, limp then causeosteoarthritis afrom a certain age;
  • Dermatitis sensitive to growth hormone,alopecia (hair loss)caused by a lack of growth hormone (somatropina).The latter is secreted by the pituitary gland., an endocrine gland that secretes many hormones and is necessary for coat growth. Affected people have varying degrees ofalopecia., but are otherwise healthy. Veterinarians do not yet know if this condition is genetic or not. Hair loss often begins at puberty and men between 1 and 5 years are the most affected., it comes in the neck, torso, thighs and abdomen, and the underlying skin is noticeably darker due to increased pigmentation.This condition can be treated with injections of growth hormones, but it is expensive and difficult to obtain. Sterilization can sometimes solve the problem in men. In any case, in the absence of treatment, alopecia and hyperpigmentation can spread throughout the body, with the exception of the head and feet.How hereditary transmission is suspected,
  • The symmetric alopecia, causing a gradual loss of hair that usually begins between the 6 and 9 months of the puppy and progresses until the affected areas are completely bald, these are the neck, the back of the thighs and the tail.There is no treatment to date, but this condition does not significantly affect the lives of the affected people;
  • The waterfall, which is an increasing clouding of the lens of the eye, causing increasing difficulty in seeing, even blindness The disease can be inherited, usually occurs in old age and can be treated with surgery.
  • Retinal dysplasia, an abnormal development of the retina that often has a hereditary cause and results in the appearance of retinal folds. They bother the dog's sight in a more or less pronounced way, according to the degree of severity. The latter does not progressively progress, because the disease is not progressive, there is no cure, but the other senses can compensate for the visual impairment.
  • The progressive retinal atrophy, incurable inherited disease that causes loss of photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye, gradually leading to the total blindness of the animal;
  • Entropion, which can be of hereditary origin and corresponds to the turning of an eyelid towards the inside of the eye, causing severe irritation of the eyeball (Red eyes, tearing, etc.). But, this condition can be treated surgically;
  • The epilepsy, sometimes an inherited disorder causing sometimes impressive seizures cannot be cured, but lifelong treatment can allow affected people to lead near normal lives;
  • The Hypothyroidism, a deficiency of hormones produced by the thyroid gland that can cause all kinds of mild symptoms. Lifelong treatment helps prevent them;
  • Allergies, that can be hereditary and have all kinds of origins: foods, domestic products, pollen, dust, insects, etc. The cause may be difficult to identify and, Therefore, allergies difficult to treat.
  • Theear infectionsbecause the sloping shape of the past favors the accumulation of moisture and dirt.

It also, an individual used for hunting is also more exposed to the risks involved in this activity: injuries, parasites,spikelets,etc.

Taking into account that several diseases to which the breed is predisposed are or may be hereditary, going through a serious breeder who carefully selects his breeders is essential to maximize the chances ofadopt a puppythat not only has he benefited from good socialization since his first weeks. , but also that it gets rid of any hereditary ailment.

The American Water Spaniel Club of America participate in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), a database ofcanine health.Any breeder worthy of the name must, Therefore, get a CHIC number for your dogs, which requires transmitting the results of the health tests of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and those of the eye tests of the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF)., Whatever your conclusions. The fact that a dog has a CHIC number is not, therefore, a guarantee of good health, but your test results are publicly accessible on the CHIC website: This allows anyone considering theadoption of a puppycheck your results and also those of your parents.

The breeder will also be able to present the results of additional genetic tests carried out to the parents or the puppy to detect some other diseases as well., in addition to providing a certificate of good health established by a veterinarian, as well as details of vaccinations. administered. to the little one.

Once the latter has moved into its new home, keep in mind that their bones and joints are especially fragile until they reach adulthood., it is necessary to avoid physical exercises that are too intense or prolonged while you are still young and growing, under penalty of causing injury or even deformity, so potentially life-long consequences.

It also, even if he seems to be in perfect health, any dog ​​should be examined by a vet at least once a year for a full checkup, this can allow detecting a possible problem as soon as possible, and you can also take the opportunity to have your vaccination reminders done at the same time., your teacher should make sure to renew your deworming treatments throughout the year whenever necessary, so that also at this level you are never unprotected.This is even more important as you spend a lot of time outdoors.

Life expectancy

12 to 13 years


The curly coat of the American Water Spaniel needs to be brushed once or twice a week to prevent tangling and to help evenly distribute sebum, the natural oil that protects your skin. This dog sheds relatively little throughout the year, but much more in spring and autumn, so it is necessary to opt for a greater frequency of brushing during these times to remove dead hair and prevent it from accumulating throughout the house.

Some hunters choose to shear their pets regularly to prevent foliage and branches from sticking to their fur.. A pet dog can be left with its coat untrimmed., or cropped and ears shaved for a more polished look.

It must be taken into account that the upper layer of the American Water Spaniel is naturally rich in sebum. This can cause some discomfort in everyday life., like a certain smell or grease marks in the house, when rubbed against a wall or furniture.

But, it only needs to be washed when it is very dirty or smells bad. In effect, too frequent bathing would lead to the loss of the natural oils that protect their coat, which would cause irritations by making your skin drier. In any case, it is essential to systematically use a shampoo specially designed for dogs, since the pH of your skin is different from that of human skin. It also, a good habit to adopt is to systematically rinse the dog with fresh water after each visit to salt water or algae, to avoid any irritation.

It is also useful to dry the ears after each bath or after being in a humid place for a long time., because its drooping shape predisposes it to otitis. They should also be inspected and cleaned every week, to prevent moisture or dirt build-up that can cause infection.

Like any dog, it is also advisable to check your eyes and clean their contour every week, there too to avoid any infection. This is especially useful since he is prone to various diseases at this level., some of which can be treated.

The weekly maintenance session is also an opportunity to brush your teeth, making sure to use a toothpaste designed for canines. This helps prevent tartar buildup and the risks that come with it.: bad breath, oral diseases, etc. Ideally, do it more often, even every day if possible.

The nails of the American Water Spaniel generally require less attention, as their high level of activity means that they generally wear out naturally and do not need to be trimmed manually. But, it is better to make sure every one or two months. In any case, as soon as rubbing is heard when walking on hard surfaces, it's time to take care of them. Otherwise, could get in the way, but also break it or even hurt it.

coat care, the ears, the eyes, your dog's teeth and nails is not something to be taken lightly. If they are not done correctly, could not only be ineffective, but they could also harm you. So don't hesitate to learn them from a vet or professional groomer the first time., to learn how to do it. It also, it's better not to wait to start: the sooner the dog gets used to these different manipulations, more easily accept them throughout your life.

Last, a brief visual inspection of its coat and different parts of its body each time you return from a long stay abroad (for example, during a hunting day) allows you to quickly detect a possible wound or the presence of a parasite, a spike, A spike…, and act accordingly to avoid taking too large proportions.


The American Water Spaniel was developed to be a versatile hunter. Specialized in hunting waterfowl, this talented and resilient swimmer is delighted to jump into the water to retrieve the downed game, so much so that it could be considered a Retriever like a Spaniel. On land, they are mainly used to hunt grouse, quail, pheasants and rabbits. Still popular with hunters in the Midwest, where are they from?.

In addition to his athletic qualities, his intelligence also allows him to excel in many sports and dog activities such as agility, obedience, flyball, canicross, field trial, tracking… and of course hunting competitions.

How much can you exercise?, it is also a wonderful pet. It is the ideal companion for an experienced owner, who has a garden and who is active enough to satisfy his important need for activity (or that I can delegate this task in part to the children) and that he is present enough at home to avoid being alone too long. His distrust of strangers and loud barking also make him an excellent watchdog..

Last, sometimes found as a therapy dog ​​entrusted to a person suffering from a problem, a use where your gentle and affectionate temperament can work wonders.


The American Water Spaniel It is a rare breed of dog., so very few puppies are born per year. The vast majority of breeders are located in Michigan and Wisconsin ((UNITED STATES)UU.), and they usually have waiting lists of a few months to a year. They usually offer their puppies between 600 and 1.000 $ (between 500 and 900 EUR).

It is very difficult to find a breeder outside of the United States..

Importing from abroad is often the only possible option to adopt a American Water Spaniel, transportation and administrative costs are added to the purchase price, without mentioning the cost of eventual registration in the national registry of the country of adoption. It also, it is important to respect the regulations regarding the importation of a dog from abroad.

Characteristics "American Water Spaniel"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a dog of the breed "American Water Spaniel" you know certain factors. Not all breeds of dogs are apt to live in an apartment, you must take into account his character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, their care and if you have small children, their level of tolerance towards them.

Adaptation ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

friendly dog ​​ⓘ

2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

hair loss ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Affection level ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Need for exercise ⓘ

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Social need ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Home ⓘ

2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Toilet ⓘ

2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Friendly with strangers ⓘ

2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

barking ⓘ

2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Health ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Territorial ⓘ

4.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Cat friendly ⓘ

2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Intelligence ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Versatility ⓘ

3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Child friendly ⓘ

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Surveillance ⓘ

4.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

joy ⓘ

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Images “American Water Spaniel”

Videos “American Water Spaniel”

Type and recognitions:

  • Group 8: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
  • Section 3: Water Dogs. With working trial.


  • FCI – Group 8: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs – Section 3: Water Dogs
  • AKCSporting
  • CKCSporting Dogs
  • ​KC – Gundog
  • UKCGun Dogs

FCI breed standard "American Water Spaniel"

FCIFCI - American Water Spaniel

Alternative names:

1. American Brown Spaniel, American Brown Water Spaniel, AWS (English).
2. American Water Spaniel, Epagneul d’eau américain (French).
3. American Water Spaniel (German).
4. (em inglês: american water spaniel) (Portuguese).
5. American Water Spaniel, Spaniel de Agua Americano (español).

1 thought on "American Water Spaniel”

Leave a Comment