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American Water Spaniel Dog
Intelligent And Loyal!

The American Water Spaniel dog, as the name implies, is a water dog and considered a versatile hunter, being capable of working both on the ground as well as retrieving from boats.

The AWS is an "all American" canine having been developed in the United States. It is the state dog of Wisconsin and is considered a quite rare dog breed.

american water spaniel sitting outside in wooded area
The development of the breed is subject to speculation, but based on its physical appearance, many authorities have concluded that various water spaniels, including the Irish and Old English water spaniels, as well as the Curly Coated Retriever, are likely contributors to its lineage.

This spaniel is medium sized, attractive and sturdy. He has a dense double coat, fully furnished long ears and a longish tail that tends toward feathery. The coat will be either densly curled or wavy and is seen in various rich shades of brown.

Personality and Traits

This member of the sporting dog breeds has a friendly and loyal disposition. He is very people oriented and makes an excellent family companion, as well as an alert watchdog.

This American Water Spaniel is known to have good intelligence and is considered to be very trainable. Although he is an enthusiastic learner, his temperament is rather sensitive and he won't respond well to anything approaching harshness. Training will go a lot more smoothly if carried out with a gentle hand.

Early socialization is also very desirable and helpful in encouraging a well-balanced demeanor and to diffuse any tendency toward timid or aggressive behavior.


If the American Water Spaniel receives a nutritious diet and good care, most can be expected to live up to 13 years without a lot of health problems.

However, there are some health conditions associated with the breed to keep in mind. Among them are diseases suspected of being inherited that relate to the eyes such as PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) and cataracts. Prospective owners would most likely want to ask breeders if tests have been done to screen for these conditions.

Some other issues that may affect the AWS include: allergies, epilepsy, diabetes, and glandular disorders. Hip dysplasia - common in many breeds, is a relatively lower concern in the AWS,


Appearance, Coat And Care

water spaniel garden dog flag american water spaniel dog - garden flag

Height: 15-18 inches
Weight: 25-45 lbs
Color variations: Solid liver, brown or dark chocolate

The coarse outer layer of the coat is both waterproof and protective against rough terrain. Warmth is provided by the inner layer. It has an oily texture and can be either wavy or very curly and is quite dense.

Maintenance consists of a thorough brushing about two or three times a week. Shedding is moderate.

How Active is the Water Spaniel?

The American Water Spaniel dog, like most sporting breeds, has inherited a strong desire to be active.

He deserves to be exercised on a regular basis, and if this can include an opportunity to swim, he will be even more delighted. In return, owners will get to enjoy a more contented companion!

Space Needs

The AWS is not fussy about accomodations as long as he has frequent opportunities for exercise.

Being of a modest size he can do well in an apartment, although a yard is always a plus for play time, training or additional exercise.

Suitability For Children

The American Water Spaniel dog loves attention and has a good reputation being with children.

However, the caution remains that interaction between dogs and children should always be supervised by an adult.

Senior or Sedentary Families

This breed is very loyal and would make a good companion for active seniors or less active families as long as adequate exercise can be provided.

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Book Recommendations:

retriever training for spaniels Retriever training for spaniels

A book designed for training the hunting spaniel, which takes into account that Spaniels differ in temperament from Labrador Retrievers and require gentler techniques to train them. Achieve amazing results with your pup through positive reinforcement and clicker training. You and your puppy progress at your own rate. Find everything from puppy kindergarten to the conditioned retrieve.

Sporting Spaniel book Sporting Spaniel Handbook

Devoted to the spaniels classified as sporting dogs by the AKC. Includes information regarding appearance and personality traits, grooming and exercise requirements, hunting ability, aptitude for training. Also covers medical conditions and preventive health care, as well as sports for spaniels.

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