The American Water Spaniel!

The American Water Spaniel, currently recognized as the state dog of Wisconsin, first enjoyed popularity as an exemplary hunting companion in the midwestern regions of the US. Though there are no accurate records of its origin, this breed is believed to have derived from the Irish water spaniel, to which it has a close resemblance, and possibly the English water spaniel as well. This breed is quite skilled, its relatively small build notwithstanding. It has a long, powerful muzzle suitable for carrying quarry, tough legs that are fit for swimming, and a tail that is often used to steer while in the water. Its wavy or curly coat and dense undercoat provide protection from weather and water, as well as thorny cover.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
11-14 years

Energy Level:
Less than average.

Living Conditions:
Apartments are fine, but access to yard is preferred.

Quite above average.

Exercise Needs:
Long daily walks.

Breed Group:


15 to 18 inches

25 to 45 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Liver or rich brown color, with a little spot of white on the chest

National breed club:
The American Water Spaniel Club

American Water Spaniel Skills

The American water spaniel has long been favored as an all around hunter, with its strong sense of smell and water resistant coat, and its ability to retrieve over water and land. Today’s American water spaniel is still quite adept at hunting, and is quite fit for spaniel field trials, though it has little popularity as a show dog or as a family pet.

American Water Spaniel Personality

The American water spaniel is a natural swimmer, as well as a proficient retriever and hunter. It is lively, friendly, and obedient, but very sensitive, thus a calmer training approach is necessary. With regular mental and physical work out, this breed can be a fun and well-mannered family pet. However, its excessive barking, and occasional drooling and whining can be a problem. Proper socialization at early stages will minimize its tendency to be timid, and limit its aggression toward unfamiliar dogs.

Exercise Needs

A considerable amount of physical activity is necessary for this breed, though long walks on a regular basis would suffice.

Living Conditions

Usually active when indoors, the American water spaniel is amenable to apartment living, given that it meets its exercise requirements. Access to a medium size lawn is best for this breed.

Grooming Requirements

This breed has an oily coat that requires brushing on a weekly basis, or more. Baths should be given only as needed, to keep the dog’s skin from drying out. Its ears must be inspected for intrusive hair growth that must be clipped to avoid infection. Hair on the topknot and the feet may also require clipping.

Health Issues

This is a generally healthy breed, though some may be susceptible to skin diseases and hip dysplasia. Tests for the hip and the eyes are recommended.

If you liked this dog… might also like the Irish water spaniel, a slightly larger, more playful breed that’s also an adept in water and equally skilled watchdog.


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