American Water Spaniel


A small to medium sized American Water Spaniel
American Water Spaniel Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)15-18in (38-46cm)
Weight25-45lbs (11-21kg)
Hair Colour(s)Brown
Lifespan10-15 years
Energy LevelBelow Average
Litter size4-6
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if left

The American Water Spaniel has a solid and robust build, with large and drooping ears framing a face that sports an eager and intelligent expression. It has a curly or wavy coat that is oiled to provide a good degree of water resistance, and it also wears an undercoat. The hair on the head and face tends to be smooth, and the colouring includes liver, brown and dark chocolate.


American Water Spaniels are eager and very intelligent dogs. They are energetic and loyal and make great companions and pets. They are suitable for new and experienced dog owners and are very good around children they have been brought up with, as well as with other animals, although take note they don't like to be teased. They love to have fun and if neglected can become bored and destructive. American Water Spaniels are both alert and protective and can be reserved and on-guard around strangers, which makes them good watchdogs. They can be fairly noisy in terms of barking and whining, occasional drooling can also be a problem, and they can also be possessive when it comes to toys and food. Although they can be stubborn and highly sensitive, they can be very responsive with the correct training and attitude. Proper, early socialization will minimize their tendency to be timid, and will also limit aggression toward unfamiliar dogs.

History & Skills

American Water Spaniels originate from the USA, where they were bred to be water retrievers to retrieve ducks, geese, and rabbits. Although the exact origins are unclear, the breed may descend from sources such as the Curly Coated Retriever, the Old English Water Spaniel, and the Irish Water Spaniel. Great all round hunters, their long and powerful muzzles are suitable for carrying prey, their tough legs are good for swimming, and the tail is often used as a rudder in the water. Their strong sense of smell and weather and water resistant coat enhance their ability to retrieve over water and land. These days these dogs are still quite adept at hunting, and is quite fit for spaniel field trials, but it has little popularity as a show dog or as a family pet.

Breed Specific Ailments

American Water Spaniels tend to live between 10-15 years. This is a pretty healthy breed on the whole, but some dogs may be susceptible to skin diseases and hip dysplasia. Some of the other health conditions associated with this breed include cataracts, thyroid problems, epilepsy, retinal detachment, luxating patella, PRA, hip dysplasia, and seizures.


American Water Spaniels are medium shedders and so may not be suited to those with allergies. The oily coat will require brushing at least once a week to remove dead hairs and prevent matting, but bathing should only be carried out if and when required to prevent the skin from drying out. Stray hairs can be trimmed during grooming and the topknot and feet may require clipping. The ears should be monitored for intrusive hair growth, which must be clipped to avoid infection, and the ear canals should be kept clean and dry, particularly if the dog has been in the water (which they love).

Exercise & Environment

American Water Spaniels need a considerable amount of physical activity. Long and daily walks are an absolute must and they will still be active when indoors. They normally live indoors but need access to a secure yard or garden. They love to spend time with their family and enjoy exercise, such as swimming, and playing games, such as fetch.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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