American Water Spaniel

Description American Water Spaniel

Energetic, Friendly, Obedient
Would you like to call a real heraldic dog your own? Then you should take a closer look at the American Water Spaniel. Even if this dog breed is relatively unknown outside of its original homeland, there are a few breeders who are committed to preserving these extraordinary hunting dogs.FCI Group: Retrievers – Search Dogs – Water Dogs

  • Size: medium
  • Weight: 11-20kg
  • Life expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Coat Type: Medium Hair
  • Colours: brown, liver brown, chocolate brown

Character American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel is a medium-sized, muscular dog, meticulously designed for both water and land hunting.
The four-legged friend has a compact physique and grows up to 46 cm high. Its weight is around 20 kg. The mostly dark or leather-brown fur can have white markings on the paws or chest. It is always wavy or curly and has a dense undercoat and feathering on paws and ears.

Its lush coat protects it from extreme weather conditions.
Since this breed has remained practically unchanged over the years, its original robustness has been preserved. Diseases typical of the breed are not known.
The American Water Spaniel is a friendly four-legged friend. He is very attached to his master or his family and always wants to please.

As a hunting dog, he is very eager and has a strong urge to move.
If you can offer him the right environment, he is a very docile companion who learns quickly. You also have to offer him enough “brain work”. If his human cannot do justice to his nature, the American Water Spaniel quickly gets bored and keeps himself busy. Then he manages to break out of the property without any problems and go “hunting” on his own.

Despite his good nature, the cheerful four-legged friend is also well suited as a watchdog, loudly defending “his” property. Basically, however, he is friendly towards strangers and conspecifics.

Diet American Water Spaniel

Like all spaniel species, the American Water Spaniel is prone to obesity. His appetite knows no bounds and his pleading gaze does the rest. He gets by with 250 grams of meat a day. The feed can be spiced up with vegetables or pasta, potatoes and rice. If you don’t want to cook for your four-legged friend, you can use high-quality ready-made food.

He has no special dietary requirements. However, you should still pay attention to balanced and sugar-free food.


The American Water Spaniel’s long, curly coat and thick undercoat require a relatively high level of grooming. He should be brushed daily to thin out the undercoat and prevent tangles. In addition, the furry nose should be trimmed regularly. Otherwise, the “wild growth” on paws, legs and hair will quickly make him look unkempt.
Its drooping ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections.

The four-legged friend likes to swim and does not stop at ice-cold water even in winter. Since regular visits to the river or lake should be part of the American Water Spaniel’s activity program, bathing with shampoo is usually not necessary.


The ancestors of the American Water Spaniel are likely from Great Britain. In addition to the Irish Water Spaniel and the Field Spaniel, the Old English Water Spaniel is also one of the possible ancestors. As early as 1850, dogs were known in America under the name American Brown Water Spaniel, which looked similar to the American Water Spaniel.
Since 1920 the breed has been controlled by Dr. FJ Pfeifer specifically bred.

The avid hunter from the American state of Wisconsin wanted a dog that was fully focused on the hunt. In the forests and along the rivers and lakes, the four-legged friend, always ready for action, fetched waterfowl from the impassable reeds and small game in the forest. He was always committed and did his job even in the freezing winter. Regardless of whether he had to jump from the boat into the icy water or hunt down prey in the dense undergrowth – the robust hunting dog was always at his master’s service. These qualities quickly made him known beyond the borders and hunters in Michigan and Minnesota also counted on the strengths of the clever dog.

Over the years, hunting has evolved from subsistence to leisure pursuits. The American Water Spaniel is also a good family dog, but its passion is hunting. The import of other breeds pushed him further into the background. In 1928 the first American Water Spaniel was recognized by the United Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club followed in 1940.

In 1985, the state of Wisconsin named the four-legged friend its “state dog”.
Although the Spaniel was also recognized as a breed by the FCI in 1995, it is almost unknown outside of America and it takes a long time to find a reputable breeder.

American Water Spaniel Accessories

A canoe, a large lake or river and a gun for hunting birds – these are the ideal accessories for keeping an American Water Spaniel. Of course, only very few can offer that. That’s not a bad thing either, if you cater to your four-legged friend’s hunting instinct in other ways. He needs meaningful activity for head and body. Different dummies for chasing and retrieving are a good alternative to ducks and geese.

A stable brush and a special comb for thinning out the undercoat are recommended for the quite complex grooming. If you don’t want to take your darling to the dog groomer, then invest in a high-quality clipper from a specialist retailer. Let an experienced dog owner show you how to properly trim your furry friend’s hair.
You will also need a water bowl and a food bowl. A collar or a suitable harness that also survives use in the water undamaged is also part of the basic equipment.

7.3Expert Score
Breed characteristics

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