American Water Spaniel - Dog Breed Info, Temperament & Facts

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A little brown breed of Spaniel called the American Water Spaniel was developed in the Midwestern United States in the 18th century. This breed is known for its strength and confidence when hunting, but can be shy and hesitant around people. It is commonly used for hunting ducks, pheasants, and rabbits. The American Water Spaniel has a natural love for the water, thanks to its webbed paws and water-resistant double coat. However, regular brushing is necessary to maintain its healthy and clean appearance. Underneath its thick curly fur, you can see a strong body with impressive agility. The American Water Spaniel is famous for its ability to enter and exit a small canoe or skiff without causing any disturbance to the boat.

Below, we look at American Water Spaniel dog breed, its history, personality, pros and cons of owning an American Water Spaniel, characteristics, and must-see facts. We will also examine how to care for this breed and more. Prepare for a tail-wagging adventure into the world of American Water Spaniels!

Dog Breed American Water Spaniel
Size Medium
Weight 25-35 lbs (average)
Height 15-18″ (average)
Location United States
Ancestry spaniel, retriever
Date of Origin 1800s
Group Bird Flushing, Retrieving
Life Expectancy 9-13 years
Price $800 – $1000
Family Canidae
Scientific Name Canis Lupus Familiaris

📖 Breed History

The American Water Spaniel’s history is not well-documented, but it is believed to have descended from smaller Irish or English Water Spaniels and possibly the Curly-coated Retriever. Its origins can be traced back to the 18th century in the United States. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that records of the breed began to be kept. The American Water Spaniel was developed in the Midwest as a gun dog and hunting companion. Its versatile skills in flushing out birds and retrieving fallen game in various terrains, such as marshes, river lands, and uplands, made it an exceptional companion. However, as larger retriever breeds gained popularity, the smaller American Water Spaniel lost favor among hunters.

Fortunately, the breed was saved from extinction by Dr. F. J. Pfeifer of New London, Wisconsin. Pfeifer played a crucial role in breeding and selling American Water Spaniels for the breed club. He also helped establish the breed standard, defining how the dog should look. Thanks to Pfeifer’s efforts, the American Water Spaniel gained recognition. It was first accepted by the United Kennel Club in 1920, followed by the Field Stud Book in 1938, and finally gained acceptance from the American Kennel Club in 1940. The first registered American Water Spaniel was named “Curly Pfeifer. ” In 1986, the state of Wisconsin designated the American Water Spaniel as its official state dog. Despite its rich history, the breed remains rare today, with fewer than 3,000 individuals in existence. However, this rarity has likely prevented the breed from splitting into separate classes for show competitions and hunting companionship.

🐕 American Water Spaniel Appearance

The American Water Spaniel has a marcel (uniform waves to curly) coat atop a deep undercoat. It is a medium-sized, muscular dog. The American wet Spaniel’s undercoat makes its coat wet and snow resistant and helps protect it from colder conditions. Both sexes of American Water Spaniels are significantly longer than they are tall, with females typically being slightly smaller than males. The American Water Spaniel has a head that is proportionate to the rest of its body and a face that is alert, intelligent, and self-assured. Its long, broad eyes are situated just above the eye line. The American Water Spaniel has exceptionally developed nose-scenting nostrils. The forelegs are just long enough to easily navigate through tall undergrowth since they are medium in length. For the wetter terrain, the front toes are webbed and well-padded. The American Water Spaniel can push through the muddy terrain it was designed to hunt because of its powerfully muscular hips and thighs.

👀 Eye Color Hazel
🐽 Nose Color Black, Brown
🐕 Coat Color Black, Brown, Red, Sable

Fun Fact: American Water Spaniel dogs need a lot of social interaction. They desire to always be with someone or around people. This breed hates being left alone.

🐶 Traits & Temperament of American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel is a smart, teachable dog. The finest teaching and learning techniques for this breed are being rigorous but not harsh. These delicate pets may be badly impacted by harsh language. American Water Spaniels have a tendency to be cautious and reserved, therefore early exposure to other dogs, people, and events is crucial for their growth. The American Water Spaniel is a loving dog that is excellent for homes with young children, but it struggles when left alone. This breed is prone to separation anxiety and can shout excessively while seeking attention. The American Water Spaniel gets along well with people and other animals, but early training is necessary to avoid shyness or dominant behavior toward other dogs. Overall, this adorable and endearing breed is an energetic, happy dog that is eager to please its owners, but it may occasionally be a little aloof.

🤝 Are American Water Spaniels Friendly or Aggressive?

American Water Spaniel dogs generally get along well with other pets and are friendly towards strangers. They are also very kid-friendly and enjoy being around children. However, when it comes to other dogs, the American Water Spaniel may not be the most friendly. If you are looking to have multiple dogs or participate in dog meetups, this breed may not be the best choice. On the other hand, American Water Spaniels are considered one of the top breeds for elderly people, as they can provide companionship and are well-suited to the needs of older individuals.

This breed is known for being:

  • Energetic
  • Protective
  • Intelligent
  • Friendly
  • Obedient
  • Trainable

🐩 American Water Spaniel Care & Maintenance

Weekly grooming is necessary for an American Water Spaniel’s curly coat to avoid matting and to nourish the skin and hair with natural oils. To remove the undercoat, use a slick brush, and to groom the summer coat, use a rubber-tipped pin brush. The large ears of the American Water Spaniel might collect moisture and serve as a breeding ground for germs. To avoid any infections, you should get advice from your veterinarian or a grooming expert on the best ways to clean your American Water Spaniel’s ears. Your American Water Spaniel’s natural oils may cause a “doggy odor,” but washing should be avoided. Regular washing and shampooing can take the oil from the skin, causing it to become itchy and unpleasant. Weekly grooming to help spread oil and remove dead hair and skin is the finest care you can offer to combat canine odor. The American Water Spaniel is a sports breed of dog and needs a lot of exercise. This breed may adapt well enough in an apartment if she gets plenty of exercise outside because she loves to swim and leap in the water as well as run. However, apartments and urban living are not ideal for this species.

American Water Spaniel dogs are known for their minimal shedding or even no shedding at all. This means that if you have a puppy from this breed, you won’t have to worry about finding dog hair all over your furniture or car. They are a great option for those who cannot tolerate dog hair. Additionally, these dogs typically require a bath every 3 to 4 weeks to keep them clean and maintain their hygiene.

🍖 Food: We recommend 2.5 cups daily, costing you about $1.75 – $2.25 daily, or around $52.50 – $67.50 a month.

🐾 Exercise: American Water Spaniel dogs need a lot of exercises. Long walks should be on a daily schedule. If you live an active life, this breed can be a good choice for you.

This dog breed requires to be walked for roughly 8 miles per week, which equates to about 60 minutes of physical activity daily. This consistent moderate exercise regimen will help maintain their physical wellness and significantly contribute to their mental stimulation. Consciously setting aside this time for your furry friend can dramatically enhance their life quality, helping them stay energetic, healthy, and mentally alert.

Did you know: American Water Spaniel dogs are high-energy dogs. An active lifestyle makes them happy.

❤️‍🩹 American Water Spaniel Health & Issues

Some of the major concerns for American Water Spaniel Dog Breed can be:

  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Degenerative Myelopathy

While minor concerns include:

  • Distichiasis
  • Lenticular Opacities
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Heart Disease

🤧 Important: Is American Water Spaniel hypoallergenic? No.

Bonus: Check out cool, creative, and funny names for American Water Spaniel.

⚡ American Water Spaniel Dog Breed Facts

What makes the American Water Spaniel a great choice for families with young children?
The American Water Spaniel is a great choice for families with young children because it is known to be affectionate and gentle with kids. It can be a playful and energetic companion, providing endless entertainment and love for children.

Is the American Water Spaniel breed considered a suitable breed for apartment living?
The American Water Spaniel breed may not be considered suitable for apartment living due to its high energy levels and need for regular exercise. This breed thrives in a spacious environment where it can run and play freely.

How much exercise does a American Water Spaniel require compared to other breeds?
The American Water Spaniel requires a significant amount of exercise compared to some other breeds. Due to its hunting background and high energy levels, this breed needs daily physical activities such as long walks, runs, or playing fetch.

Is the American Water Spaniel breed known for being good with other pets?
The American Water Spaniel breed is generally good with other pets, especially when properly socialized from a young age. They can coexist peacefully with other dogs and pets in the household.

What are other low-maintenance dog breeds similar to the American Water Spaniel?
Some low-maintenance dog breeds similar to the American Water Spaniel include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Brittany Spaniel, and English Springer Spaniel. These breeds have similar characteristics and energy levels while requiring less grooming and maintenance.

What are the common health issues that American Water Spaniels are prone to?
Common health issues that American Water Spaniels are prone to include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and allergies. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper care can help prevent or manage these conditions.

Are American Water Spaniels known to be easy to train compared to other breeds?
American Water Spaniels are known to be intelligent and trainable, making them relatively easy to train compared to some other breeds. They respond well to positive reinforcement and require firm yet calm training methods.

Are American Water Spaniels more prone to separation anxiety compared to other breeds?
American Water Spaniels can be more prone to separation anxiety compared to some other breeds. They are known to form strong bonds with their owners and may become anxious or exhibit excessive vocalization when left alone for long periods. Proper socialization and training can help alleviate separation anxiety.

Are there any dog breeds similar to the American Water Spaniel that are suitable for people with allergies?
Some dog breeds similar to the American Water Spaniel that are suitable for people with allergies include the Poodle, Bichon Frise, and Portuguese Water Dog. These breeds have low-shedding coats and are considered hypoallergenic.

What sizes of dogs similar to the American Water Spaniel are best for individuals or families with limited space?
For individuals or families with limited space, smaller-sized dog breeds similar to the American Water Spaniel, such as the Cocker Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, or English Cocker Spaniel, may be more suitable. These breeds have similar energy levels and characteristics but require less living space.

Is the American Water Spaniel breed known to be good with children with special needs?
The American Water Spaniel breed is known to be good with children, including those with special needs. Their gentle and affectionate nature, combined with their intelligence and adaptability, makes them well-suited for providing companionship and support to children with special needs.

How does the grooming and shedding needs of the American Water Spaniel?
The grooming and shedding needs of the American Water Spaniel are moderate compared to some other breeds. Their double coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and to keep it healthy and clean. They do shed, but not excessively. Regular grooming and maintenance are necessary to keep their coat in good condition.


We use reliable and publicly available data and resources such as AKC and American Canine Registry to ensure that American Water Spaniel dog breed information is accurate and up to date. If you spot an error, please don’t hesitate to bring it to our attention.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our DogsInsights.com team.

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