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The American Water Spaniel is a breed of spaniel originating in the United States. It is one of only three spaniels that are native to the United States, along with the Boykin Spaniel and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

This breed has been around since the 1880s, when it was developed by hunters in Wisconsin and Minnesota as an all-around hunting dog.

American Water Spaniels have a long history of being used for retrieving waterfowl and other game birds, but they can also be trained for agility courses or even as therapy dogs.

In this article, we will discuss the physical characteristics, temperament, health concerns and care requirements of the American Water Spaniel.

American Water Spaniel resting.

History Of The American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel (AWS) is a breed of spaniel that has been around since the 19th century. Its origins are unknown, but it is believed to be descended from both Irish and English water dogs.

The AWS was used as a working dog by many farmers in the Midwest due to its strong swimming abilities and retrieving skills. In 1940, breeding standards were established for the first time, making it one of the few recognized sporting breeds in America at the time.

Throughout history, this hardy breed has served various roles on farms, mainly related to hunting and fishing purposes. It can hunt birds, small game animals like squirrels or rabbits, and retrieve items from shallow water with ease.

While they may not make good guard dogs due to their generally friendly nature towards people and other animals, they do possess an alertness that makes them great watchdogs within their environment.

Physical Characteristics

The American Water Spaniel is a breed of dog with distinct physical characteristics.

They have a medium-sized, muscular body that ranges from 15 to 18 inches in height and 25 to 45 pounds in weight.

The coat colors range from dark brown to liver, often with flecks or patches of white fur.

Their ears are long and hang down close to the head.

In addition, the American Water Spaniel has a tightly curled tail with thick fur as well as webbed feet for swimming.

Its eyes tend to be large and oval shaped and its muzzle is short and broad.

As far as grooming needs go, this breed requires regular brushing since their coats can become matted easily due to their wavy texture.

With proper care, these dogs will stay healthy throughout their lives which generally average around 12 years.


The American Water Spaniel is an intelligent, friendly dog that has a temperament hard to match. A loyal and loving companion, these dogs form strong bonds with their owners quickly and enjoy spending time together in the outdoors or at home.

With proper socialization from puppyhood and regular exercise to help regulate their energy levels, this breed can make an excellent addition to any family. Their positive outlook on life makes them great companions for children and other pets alike. They are eager to please, which results in quick training sessions as they pick up new commands easily.

Though they may appear quite timid when first meeting someone, you can expect your spaniel to be just as warm-hearted within minutes of getting acquainted. American Water Spaniels have plenty of energy and need daily walks or playtime outside – if given the opportunity, they will happily join you on all sorts of adventures!

Their intelligence also leads to many activities that can keep both owner and pup entertained: agility courses, hide-and-seek games, puzzle toys, herding sports – the possibilities are endless! Additionally, grooming needs like brushing should be kept up regularly so their coats remain healthy and tangle free throughout the year.

Health Concerns

The American Water Spaniel is a breed that can be prone to genetic health problems, and potential owners should consider these risks before purchasing an animal.

One of the most common problems with this breed is obesity, which can lead to other health issues such as joint disease or diabetes. Obesity in American Water Spaniels must be managed carefully by providing proper diet and exercise for the dog.

Additionally, due to limited breeding stock, there may also be certain genetic diseases more prevalent in purebred American Water Spaniels than mixed breeds.

Potential owners should research both their breeder’s reputation and any known hereditary conditions associated with the specific line they intend to purchase from when selecting an American Water Spaniel puppy. Researching hereditary conditions ahead of time will help ensure that the pet has been bred responsibly and reduce the likelihood of future medical complications.

Care Requirements

The American Water Spaniel is an active breed with moderate exercise needs. Daily walks and playtime are recommended to keep it healthy and happy. It also enjoys activities such as swimming, retrieving games, and agility courses.

Additionally, the American Water Spaniel requires regular grooming to maintain its signature curly coat free of mats or tangles. Weekly brushing sessions should be done and occasional baths may be necessary depending on how often the dog goes outdoors for play time or other activities. In order to look its best, trimming around the eyes and feet is also suggested by most owners. The American Water Spaniel’s coat can range from a medium-length wavy texture to a long tight curl, so some experimentation in terms of styling may be required when finding what works best for your pet’s individual fur type.

Uses And Training

The American Water Spaniel is a breed of dog that has been used for hunting and other outdoor activities since the 19th century. It is an excellent swimmer, making it well-suited for waterfowl retrieval. In addition to its uses as a sporting dog, this breed also makes an ideal companion due to its intelligence and loyalty.

This breed does require obedience training in order to become a loyal companion or family pet. When trained properly, they can learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, heel, down, and more. Training should begin early so the puppy learns good behaviors from the start.

The following are some common methods used when training:

  • Positive reinforcement – This involves rewarding good behavior with treats or praise while ignoring bad behavior.
  • Clicker training – Utilizing clickers allows owners to mark desired behaviors quickly and easily during training sessions.
  • Crate training – Crates provide puppies with their own safe area where they can feel secure while learning proper house etiquette without any distractions around them.

In addition to teaching basic commands and helping with socialization, these methods will help build trust between owner and canine as well as create a lasting bond between them both. With patience and consistency, your pup will be well on their way to becoming the perfect companion!


The American Water Spaniel is a small spaniel breed that has been used for hunting and retrieving game in the United States since the mid-19th century. Its physical characteristics, such as its curly coat and webbed feet, make it an excellent swimmer.

The breed also exhibits a friendly temperament and is easy to train, making them suitable companions as well as hunters. While this breed does not suffer from many health issues, they still require regular care and grooming to keep their coats healthy.

Overall, the American Water Spaniel offers something for everyone: whether you are looking for a hunting companion or simply want a family pet with an outgoing personality, this dog can fit the bill. With its unique features and endearing nature, no wonder the American Water Spaniel has become “the keeper of hearts” among dog owners everywhere.