American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel is a medium-sized dog that originated in the United States where it was mainly used to hunt waterfowl. It is known by several different names including the American Water Spaniel, AWS, American Brown Water Spaniel, American Brown Spaniel and the Amerikanischer Wasserspaniel. While the exact history of the American Water Spaniel is not clear, it is known that the dogs have been in existence since the mid-1800s. It was developed in Wisconsin by crossing Irish Water Spaniels with Curly-Coated Retrievers. Field Spaniels may have also played a part in the development of the AWS. When larger sporting breeds became the preferred hunting dogs among bird hunters during the late 1800s, the American Water Spaniel nearly faced extinction. However, a man by the name of Doctor Pfiefer saved the breed. In fact, it was due to Doctor Pfiefer's efforts that the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1930.

The American Water Spaniel is a solidly built, medium-sized, muscular dog. They have large, hanging ears and strong jaws that are built to retrieve and carry large birds. It has a curly dense double coat, with a thick undercoat. They need regular brushing to reduce shedding and some people prefer to trim their coats. They are prone to ear infections, so ears should be inspected regularly. The average size for full grown American Water Spaniels is about 25 to 40 pounds. These dogs have medium-length wavy or curly hair that is longer on the ears, forelegs and tail. Acceptable colors for the AWS are brown, liver or dark chocolate. A bit of white on the toes and/or chest is permissible. The eyes vary in color but can be amber, hazel or dark brown. The AWS has a square muzzle, and its nose is typically the same color as its coat. It has large, floppy ears that are heavily plumed and reach to just above the shoulder blades. Its tail is long and is carried straight out when in motion. Personality: The American Water Spaniel loves water and swimming. They have high energy levels and need vigorous daily exercise. They especially enjoy retrieving, chasing and hunting. American Water Spaniels are sociable, friendly family dogs that enjoy human companionship and are eager to please. It is a vocal breed and barking has been observed as a breed-specific problem. American Water Spaniels are energetic and friendly dogs that get along quite well with other dogs and kids. However, many of them do not interact well with such small pets as cats, rabbits, birds and rodents. These are also very intelligent dogs that love to learn and are fairly easy to train. They love human companionship, and they may become lonely and destructive when left alone. As such, it is recommended to train your AWS while it is still a puppy. Although these dogs make great family pets, they typically form an extra special bond with the one person in their human family who shows them the most attention. If you are looking for a lively dog to accompany you while hunting or jogging, the American Water Spaniel may be the perfect breed for you. These dogs love human companionship and enjoy running and playing. Furthermore, the AWS is a terrific family dog that can withstand the rough play of children.

American Water Spaniel image
Breed Type
Pure
Origin
United States
Function
Life Span
12-15 Years
Hypoallergenic
No
Other Names
AWS, American Brown Water Spaniel, American Brown Spaniel, Amerikanischer Wasserspaniel, American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel Build Information

Size
Medium
Length (Male)
13-20 in.
Length (Female)
14-16 in.
Weight
26 - 40 lbs
Litter Size
4 - 5 Puppies
Tail Dock or Crop
No
Preferred Climate
Any Climate

The American Water Spaniel is a solidly built, medium-sized, muscular dog. They have large, hanging ears and strong jaws that are built to retrieve and carry large birds. It has a curly dense double coat, with a thick undercoat. They need regular brushing to reduce shedding and some people prefer to trim their coats. They are prone to ear infections, so ears should be inspected regularly. The average size for full grown American Water Spaniels is about 25 to 40 pounds. These dogs have medium-length wavy or curly hair that is longer on the ears, forelegs and tail.

Acceptable colors for the AWS are brown, liver or dark chocolate.

A bit of white on the toes and/or chest is permissible. The eyes vary in color but can be amber, hazel or dark brown. The AWS has a square muzzle, and its nose is typically the same color as its coat. It has large, floppy ears that are heavily plumed and reach to just above the shoulder blades. Its tail is long and is carried straight out when in motion.

Behaviour and Personality

Kid Friendliness
Affection Level
Activity Level
Energy Level
Independant
Good to Other Pets
Dominating or Submissive?
Guardian Skills
Barking
Aggressiveness Level

The American Water Spaniel loves water and swimming. They have high energy levels and need vigorous daily exercise. They especially enjoy retrieving, chasing and hunting. American Water Spaniels are sociable, friendly family dogs that enjoy human companionship and are eager to please. It is a vocal breed and barking has been observed as a breed-specific problem. American Water Spaniels are energetic and friendly dogs that get along quite well with other dogs and kids. However, many of them do not interact well with such small pets as cats, rabbits, birds and rodents.

These are also very intelligent dogs that love to learn and are fairly easy to train.

They love human companionship, and they may become lonely and destructive when left alone. As such, it is recommended to train your AWS while it is still a puppy. Although these dogs make great family pets, they typically form an extra special bond with the one person in their human family who shows them the most attention. If you are looking for a lively dog to accompany you while hunting or jogging, the American Water Spaniel may be the perfect breed for you. These dogs love human companionship and enjoy running and playing. Furthermore, the AWS is a terrific family dog that can withstand the rough play of children.

Appearance

Colors
Chocolate Light Brown Liver
Shedding
Moderate
Grooming
Medium Maintenance
Coat Type
Curly

Due to the nature of the American Water Spaniel's coat, you will need to brush its hair quite often to prevent mats from forming. Furthermore, you may want to brush its hair daily during shedding season, which typically occurs twice per year. You should only need to give your pet a bath once or twice a month if it needs one.

Bath time is a great time to check your pet's ears and clean out any excessive wax buildup.

When cleaning ears, do not use a Q-tip: use the tip of a moist rag. Additionally, check your dog's nails periodically and clip the tips of them with a guillotine-style nail clipper if they grow too long.

Breed's Talents and Facts

Training
Easy
Hunting Companion
Yes
Jolly for Jogging
Yes
Sighting Capabilities
No
Ideal for Tracking
Yes
Retrieving Skills
Yes
Pointing Breed
No
Herding Skills
No
Dutiful Watchdog
Yes
Security Guard Capable
Yes
Police Performer
No
Wet Water rescues
No
Assist Disable Owners
No
Dog Sledding
No
Able to Perform Dog Carting
No
Agile/Zippy
Yes
Fun with Lure Coursing
No
Obedient
No
Possible Schutzhund Work
No
Trainable for Tricks
No
  • The American Water Spaniel is Wisconsin's state dog
  • In addition to hunting, the AWS excels in many other areas including obedience, agility, tracking, search and rescue, and therapy work
  • American Water Spaniels are natural swimmers and love playing in the water

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Common Health Conditions in American Water Spaniels

In general, the American Water Spaniel is a hardy breed that can live as long as 12 years or longer. However, just as with many other dog breeds, the AWS has been known to develop various health issues such as those listed here: Mitral Valve Disease, Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Patent Duct Arteriosus, Pulmonic Stenosis, Skin Allergies, and Hypothyroidism.

American Water Spaniel Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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