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American Water Spaniel

American-Water-Spaniel

A Sensitive Hunting Dog

Playful, trainable, athletic

American Water Spaniels are even-tempered, highly intelligent, and energetic, medium-sized dogs. This rare breed is a great family dog because of their loving nature, willingness to please, and watchfulness. American Water Spaniels make great companions for hunters, active individuals, families, and those who enjoy the outdoors. This breed tends to bark, drool, and whine, but their even temperament makes them great pets to live in apartments and small homes. They are very active and love the water, so they’d love a long walk, run, or swim every day. 

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs. 

Breed Details

Height:15-18 in. Weight:25-45 lb Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
3

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
2

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: American Water Spaniels are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts.

Grooming: Their water resistant coat tends to be a bit oily, and over bathing can actually make it worse! Brush her at least twice weekly.

Dental: American Water Spaniels usually have good teeth, but you’ll need to brush them at least twice a week to keep them strong and healthy!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


American Water Spaniels love their daily exercise, but also enjoy family time. Gotta keep that beautiful coat well brushed!

Positive Traits:

• Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

• Excellent family dog, watchdog, and hunting dog

• Highly trainable and eager to please

• Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

• Loves to play games, especially fetch

Negative Traits:

• Sensitive by nature, a bit slow to mature

• Needs to be exercised and groomed regularly

• Can be possessive of toys and food, tending to show dominance

• Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

• Does not tolerate harsh reprimands or negative-reinforcement training

Whether you are considering adding a new American Water Spaniel to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every American Water Spaniel will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the American Water Spaniel you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues an American Water Spaniel could encounter:

Still considered rare, this is one of the few truly American dog breeds. Hunters in the Great Lakes region in the late 1800's developed a dog breed they called the “American Brown Spaniel” that was clever and sturdy enough to work both on land and in the frigid water. 

Today, the progeny of those pioneers is registered as the American Water Spaniel, which is the State Dog of Wisconsin. Originally bred as a versatile hunting dog, this is generally a very hardy breed, with a water-resistant coat and great tolerance for cold, wet work. Recent breeders have fostered their even temperament, and many of these clever dogs are now prized as family and apartment dogs.

Consult with a veterinarian if your American Water Spaniel shows signs of the following:

• Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

• Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Bumping into objects, startles easily

• Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

• Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

• Coughing, exercise intolerance, rapid breathing at rest

• Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

• Shortness of breath, cough, or fainting

• Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

• Increased hunger and thirst, or weight loss

  • Care

    Routine Care: American Water Spaniels are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts.

    Grooming: Their water resistant coat tends to be a bit oily, and over bathing can actually make it worse! Brush her at least twice weekly.

    Dental: American Water Spaniels usually have good teeth, but you’ll need to brush them at least twice a week to keep them strong and healthy!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    American Water Spaniels love their daily exercise, but also enjoy family time. Gotta keep that beautiful coat well brushed!

    Positive Traits:

    • Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

    • Excellent family dog, watchdog, and hunting dog

    • Highly trainable and eager to please

    • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

    • Loves to play games, especially fetch

    Negative Traits:

    • Sensitive by nature, a bit slow to mature

    • Needs to be exercised and groomed regularly

    • Can be possessive of toys and food, tending to show dominance

    • Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

    • Does not tolerate harsh reprimands or negative-reinforcement training

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new American Water Spaniel to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every American Water Spaniel will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the American Water Spaniel you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues an American Water Spaniel could encounter:

  • History

    Still considered rare, this is one of the few truly American dog breeds. Hunters in the Great Lakes region in the late 1800's developed a dog breed they called the “American Brown Spaniel” that was clever and sturdy enough to work both on land and in the frigid water. 

    Today, the progeny of those pioneers is registered as the American Water Spaniel, which is the State Dog of Wisconsin. Originally bred as a versatile hunting dog, this is generally a very hardy breed, with a water-resistant coat and great tolerance for cold, wet work. Recent breeders have fostered their even temperament, and many of these clever dogs are now prized as family and apartment dogs.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your American Water Spaniel shows signs of the following:

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Bumping into objects, startles easily

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

    • Coughing, exercise intolerance, rapid breathing at rest

    • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

    • Shortness of breath, cough, or fainting

    • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Increased hunger and thirst, or weight loss

American Water Spaniel Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the American Water Spaniel breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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