American Water Spaniel
About American Water Spaniels? Click Here for
the Kennel.com Forum!
The American Water Spaniel is a medium size dog
with a coat of curls and waves. The breed originated
in the late 1800s, but its exact origins are unknown.
Experts however, believe it was probably developed
in the Fox and River valley region of Wisconsin.
In February of 1920, Dr. F.J. Pfeifer from Wisconsin
was the first to obtain recognition of the breed.
While the specific breeds used to develop the
American Water Spaniel are not truly known, Pfeifer
believes it may have been a cross between the
extinct English Water Spaniel and the Field Spaniel.
This claim has been has been disputed and it has
been said the breeds thought to have been involved
in the creation of the American Water Spaniel
include the Field Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel,
English Water Spaniel, Tweed Water Spaniel and
the Curly Coated Retriever. There is a possibility
the Chesapeake Bay Retriever may also contributed.
The American Water Spaniel is thought to be one
of five breeds which originated in the United
States and there is no dispute it was developed
as a hunting dog. Hunters were in need of a dog
that could work on land as well as in the marsh,
one that could easily fit in canoe or skiff and
a breed which had a thick, warm coat which would
keep the dog protected in harsh weather.
The American Water Spaniel makes an a great companion.
It is excellent with children, sturdy, intelligent,
has a good nose, loves water and is easy to train.
The American Water Spaniel is eager to please,
active, enthusiastic and makes a good guard dog.
The height for an American Water Spaniel
is between 15-18 inches (38-46 cm) at the shoulder.
The weight for an American Water Spaniel dog is
between 28-45 lb. (13-20 kg) and 25-40 lb. (11-18
kg) for bitches.
The coat of the Ameican Water Spaniel is curly
and can range from regular, continuous waves (marcel)
to closely curled. These waves or curls can vary
on the different areas of the dog's body. Texture
and density should be adequate to protect against
elements such as cold weather, water, etc. The
American Water Spaniel's coat should not be too
coarse, nor should it be too soft.
color of the American Water Spaniel's coat can
be liver, brown or dark chocolate. A small amount
of white on chest or toes is permissible. These
spots become smaller in size as pup grows to adulthood.
The American Water Spaniel is friendly,
loving, intelligent and energetic. This breed
- like the Spaniel - is an enthusiastic hunter,
although it does not need to hunt to be happy.
It is eager to please and protective of its owner.
He does very well with training, but harsh training
techniques can have a negative impact resulting
in aggressiveness or shyness as an adult. Consistent
and fair training is very imperative. The AWS
makes a good companion and is usually excellent
with children, however, if he is startled or harshly
disciplined, he could bite our of fear.
There are a few health concerns which from
time to time affect the American Water Spaniel
such as cardiac abnormalities, allergies, cancer,
hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, follicular
dystrophy, cataracts and epilepsy. It is recommended
for any breeder to obtain health clearances to
be able to provide to future American Water Spaniel
owners. The average life span is between 12 and
• The first 'all around hunter' breed developed
in the United States which could retrieve from
boats was the American Water Spaniel.
• It is likely the American Water Spaniel
was one of the primary contributors to the Boykin
• Because the American Water Spaniel was
purely a working gun dog and not a show dog, it
never made its way into the show ring. It was
feared this would harm its reputation as a hunter.
This however is no longer the case today.
• The American Water Spaniel was recognized
as a purebred dog by the American Kennel Club
• The American Water Spaniel Dog became
the official state dog of Wisconsin in 1985.
AKC: Sporting Group
CKC: Sporting Dogs Group 1
FCI: Group 8 Section 3 Water Dogs
KC: Gun Dog
UKC: Gun Dog