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Adopt an American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


Gundog, Water Dog, Spaniel

Area of origin:

United States

Original function:

bird flushing and retrieving

Average size of male:

Ht: 15-18, Wt: 30-45

Average size of female:

Ht: 15-18, Wt: 25-40

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

American Water Spaniel Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable American Water Spaniel dogs available on Petfinder

American Water Spaniel Dog Temperament

As his name implies, the American Water Spaniel is a natural lover of water. Not only is he a skilled retriever and versatile hunter, but is also a tractable fun-loving family dog, as long as he gets regular physical and mental exercise. He is sensitive and willing to please. Some can be timid. Generally good with other dogs in the household. Barking can be a definite problem; some also whine or drool.

American Water Spaniel Dog Care

Like all hunting dogs, the American Water Spaniel needs daily exercise, although these requirements can be met with a long walk. The coat is oily and needs weekly brushing. Hair may be clipped from the feet and topknot. Ears should be checked regularly.

American Water Spaniel Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: lenticular opacities, CHD
Occasionally seen: patellar luxation, PRA
Suggested tests: (hip), (eye)
Life span: 10-12 years

Interested in the history of the American Water Spaniel dog breed?

Exactly when and where, or from what the American Water Spaniel was developed was never recorded. His appearance strongly suggests a smaller version of the Irish Water Spaniel, and it is likely that he is derived from that breed or his earlier versions, the Northern, Southern and Tweed Water Spaniels. The curly-coated retriever and his forebear, the English water spaniel, may also have played a role. Some theories even credit the American Indians who lived in the Great Lakes regions as the creators of the breed. Whatever his origin, the American water spaniel first became established as a recognizable breed in the Midwestern parts of the United States, where he was unsurpassed as a hunting companion. This small dog with the waterproof coat and keen nose could hunt through rough thickets, spring game and retrieve all manner of game from land and water, often marking several fallen birds before retrieving them all unfailingly. Until he was recognized by the AKC in 1940, no one ever considered breeding these dogs for anything but hunting ability. Even after recognition, the breed's forte remained in the field, and he is a rarity in the show ring or even the home. Today the American water spaniel is among the least known of AKC recognized breeds, despite being one of only two sporting breeds developed in America. In fact, the American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with American Water Spaniel Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with American Water Spaniels ready for adoption:

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