Cheeseheads love this rare breed: the American Water Spaniel is Wisconsin's state dog! They're faithful companions and talented retrievers — and as the name suggests, they're built for splashing and swimming. They're also avid hunters. Some have worked as therapy dogs.
Originally from the United States, this mid-sized, medium-energy breed can grow to between 25-45 pounds and lives an average of 10-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Sporting group.
|Breed's original pastime||Hunting, swimming|
|Average lifespan||10-14 years|
|Date of origin||1800s|
|Original function||Bird flushing and retrieving|
|Today's function||Spaniel field trials|
|Average size of male||Height: 15-18 Weight: 30-45|
|Average size of female||Height: 15-18 Weight: 25-40|
|Energy level||Medium energy|
|Affection level||Very affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Shy|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Shy|
|Ease of training||Hard to train|
|Protection ability||Moderately protective|
|Grooming needs||Moderately maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Medium tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS AN AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
This chipper charmer loves playing outdoors with you. American Water Spaniels are family-friendly, intelligent, and somewhat affectionate. They can be shy with other dogs and standoffish with strangers, but they're reasonably friendly with other pets. The American Water Spaniel loves children and plays best with them while supervised.
WHAT IS AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This hunting breed combines working characteristics of retrievers and spaniels — they're built to retrieve large waterfowl and eager to please you. Daily long walks should meet their exercise needs. You might also want to think about enrolling your American Water Spaniel in agility, tracking, or rally classes, which will satisfy both their exercise needs and their active minds.
It's important to keep them busy: American Water Spaniels are sometimes prone to barking and destructive behaviors if they don't get enough exercise. These dogs are highly vigilant and somewhat able to protect you and your home.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL?
American Water Spaniels are people-pleasers, though they can be stubborn. They can also mature fairly slowly. Be gentle and consistent while you're training and use positive reinforcement. Start early to discourage food-guarding and socialize to avoid suspicion of new people and dogs.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO AMERICAN WATER SPANIELS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Their coats' winsome and water-resistant waves need frequent combings and brushings and regular grooming. Start with a comb to break up mats or tangles, or to remove outside debris from their curls. Use a pin brush with rubber tips on their summer coats; in winter months, slicker brushes will shake the undercoat loose. American Water Spaniels don't often need baths, but if yours has been swimming in saltwater or algae-filled ponds, you might want to rinse them in fresh water.
American Water Spaniels are infrequent shedders.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AMERICAN WATER SPANIELS HAVE?
American Water Spaniels are basically healthy dogs. However, they can sometimes develop hip dysplasia, heart abnormalities, eye disorders, and progressive degeneration of their spinal cords.