The American Water Spaniel is full of energy and very smart. It is commonly and historically used as a hunting dog. It also is an excellent swimmer. This breed has a propionate appearance and is a smaller sized dog. It generally is about 18 inches and less than 45 pounds. They have a curly coat that is most often a chocolate brown in color and fringed, long ears for which they are known. Their head is round and broad. The muzzle is full and squared. They have a tight sealed mouth with no dropping of the bottom lip. They eyes coordinate with the coat color. They have muscular shoulder and front legs. They also have webbed feet which enable them to be a good swimmer.
The American Water Spaniel’s coat is a double coat. The outer coat is oily and wavy. Their inner coat is dense and soft. They have longer hair on their ears, chest and legs which is fringed and wavy. The hair on their back is usually straighter than the rest of their hair.
The American Water Spaniel has been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1940. They are found widely in the United States, but predominately in the Midwestern states. They were bred was created as a hunting dog for both land and water. The actual origin of the breed is not known.
The American Water Spaniel is a friendly and kind dog. It is full of energy and an excellent hunter. They are good with children and as pets. They can become aggressive with other dogs that they do not know. However, early socialization with other digs can prevent this behavior. They make a great companion and are well behaved with good training. They do not have a chewing problem, but can be barkers. They are thought to be good watchdogs, too. Females may be prone to being timid, but socialization from an early age can prevent this.
The American Water Spaniel is also known as a breed that drools. Overall they are independent and very obedient. They love to play and enjoy the company of their family. They especially love a good game of fetch and will often not tire of it.
The biggest concern is that the American Water Spaniel is known for running away. They must be kept secured and taught to come when called. They often get distracted by a scent due to their hunting nature and can also be very absent minded at times. Both of these traits can lead to problems if they are not watched and kept secure.
The American Water Spaniel is usually quite healthy, however, they do experience common canine problems. With regular vet care, though, it is a hardy breed with little to no problems.
Some conditions that the American Water Spaniel may be prone to include hip dysplasia dislocate kneecaps, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts and skin allergies. They should also be watched for ticks if they are used for hunting.
This breed does not require a lot of grooming. They should be brushed regularly to ensure their coat stays clean. They should not be bathed too often as this can cause skin irritations. They may often have a dog smell, but this is due to the oily coat and should not be a reason to over bath. The coat should be brushed one to two times per week. Brush in the direction of coat growth and be aware of the sensitive areas like the ears and face. Fringed hair can be combed with a wide tooth comb.
The ears should be kept dry and clean. It is important to watch for signs of irritation or infection.
The American Water Spaniel is an active breed that needs daily exercise on a regular basis. They have a lot of energy and love to play. Exercise can include just letting them run outside or playing a nice game of catch. They do not care what exercise they get as long as they get some. Since they are a water dog they especially enjoy being able to swim from time to time. With good exercise they will be calm and obedient, but a lack of exercise could lead to rambunctious behavior.
Training the American Water Spaniel should be quit easy. They are eager to please and easy to work with. As pups they will even listen well. Socialization is going to be the trickiest part of training since they can be timid, but is an essential part of training.
They are excellent at house training and are a generally clean dog, so they are perfect for crate training. Consistency is the best training method. They do well with repetition and do best if exercise is incorporated into training. By doing this it will help them remain focused on the training.
Hunting training is going to take a little more time than other training. They are natural hunters but will need to be taught the ropes.
Training should never include any harshness or roughness. They will become nervous and not respond well. Instead positive reinforcement works best.