American Water Spaniel: Dog Breed Guide.

American Water Spaniel is a natural swimmer, hunter, and friendly dog breed. Explore everything you need to know about this versatile dog in this detailed guide.

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American Water Spaniel Dog Breed Overview

For adventure-loving people, welcome to the captivating world of American Water Spaniel dogs. These dogs will be your superb companion during the adventure. This rare breed becomes the best companion for families and individuals alike. With their webbed feet, and water-repellent curly coats these dogs can thrive in icy environments. Originally bred for hunting and retrieving purposes, especially hunting waterfowl. American Water Spaniels are prized for their hunting and retrieving abilities. Related to the United States this medium-sized dog is an expert swimmer among the swimmer dog breeds.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about American Water Spaniels, from their appearance and temperament to their health needs and historical background. This obedient, intelligent, and eager-to-please dog breed can be a beautiful addition to your family.

Characteristics of American Water Spaniel

Generally, American Water Spaniel dogs are happy with their families but they can be different with strangers. However, these dogs can enjoy the whole day’s activities while they do have not an energetic temperament.

Exercise needsMedium
Energy levelsMedium
Tendency to barkMedium
Amount of sheddingLow


American Water Spaniels are medium-sized with a curly or wavy double coat which is water-repellent and comes in various shades of brown. Due to the low shedding coat, weekly two to three-brush is enough. With strong, compact, sturdy build-up, erect, floppy ears, and expressive eyes this breed looks intelligent. This breed has a broad head with rounded eyes and wide nostrils that enhance their sense of smell.

Their long body helps them when hunting and keep them in balance. Their webbed feet and unique tails make them excellent swimmers. These dogs are also designed to jump in and out of small watercraft without shaking the boats. Therefore, this breed is more famous than any other dog breed even with some similarities in adaptability like webbed feet or other swimming qualities.


Before taking a pet home kindly consider various factors other than their size, because some large dog breeds with low energy can easily fit in apartments while others may require large areas with high energy levels. On the other hand, some small dog breeds with excessive energy can easily live with indoor activities. However, select the dog breed with low energy, less barking, and highly social towards other pets or people.

American Water Spaniels are highly adaptable to rural, urban, and in homes due to their friendly nature. Also, train your dog for apartment living because there is a small place and your dog can’t move calmly. Start early proper leash training which can help dogs move obediently and politely, especially in public places. Crate training is also necessary to feel your dog safe even whenever you go outside and prevent the dog from anxiety that leads to barking.

Weather Tolerance

This breed is known for its high adaptability in various climates. Thanks to its double coat that helps them in cold weather. Originating from the United States, where the climate changes throughout the year, American Water Spaniel remarkably developed to tolerate the different weather changes. Their protective coat and muscular build-up make them adaptable from hot or humid climates to cold or snowy climates. The inner dense coat and outer wavy or curly coat insulate them from both hot and cold temperatures.

Coat Working in Hot and Cold Weather

During hot weather when the temperature rises, despite a double coat, the dog is safe from heat as their outer coat insulates them by trapping cool air close to the skin. Their medium-size body helps to dissipate heat efficiently and they tend to seek shades or cool places. While in cold or snowy weather the inner coat insulates them by repelling moisture or rain. Their webbed feet excel them in icy swimming.

Safety Measurements During Extreme Weather Conditions

American Water Spaniel dogs are highly adaptive to hot or cold weather but owners should take safety measurements. During the peak of hot weather, provide them with plenty of fresh water, and shade, and avoid hard exercise. On the other hand, in cold weather keep them safe with hot jackets or booties and also give them food that keeps them safe during outdoor activities.


American Water Spaniel is primarily known because of their unique temperament which makes them most famous in kids as well as in all families. This breed is also famous due to its cuddly nature. Here you will find a detail about their temperament.

  • Intelligence: American Water Spaniels are a highly intelligent dog breed that loves to do work seriously when assigned a job. They are easily trainable as these dogs learn quickly and respond well to training. These dogs are suitable for many tasks and activities such as retrieving and hunting.
  • Loyal: This is remarkably loyal to its families or owners because this breed strongly forms a deep bond with its family members and thrives best in human activities.
  • Energetic: This breed is naturally energetic, regular exercise and mental stimulation are essential for their happy and healthy life. Spend quality time with your dog, otherwise, they feel bored and develop bad habits such as digging, chewing, and excessive barking. These dogs are excellent companions for energetic individuals or families as they enjoy activities such as swimming, running, retrieving, and hunting.
  • Watchdog: While they are generally friendly, sociable, and loyal, American Water Spaniels are naturally alert dogs and can protect their families and territories. They also alert their families to any threat and act as a watchdog. Typically these dogs are not aggressive without any reason.
  • Affectionate: Despite their working background, this breed is affectionate and loves to play with its family. As they strongly bond with their owners, they also love to cuddle in their lap or side whenever a chance is given to them.

Living Needs

Because of highly energetic, these dogs require a large area like a properly fenced backyard, where they can easily move, play, and do exercise. If you train them early in puppyhood at the age of six to eight weeks, American Water Spaniels can live in an apartment. Taking them for long walks or in dog parks can also provide mental stimulation for them. These dogs love to spend time in nature, therefore, hiking, swimming, and retrieving are best to keep them happy as these dogs were originally bred for retrieving and hunting birds.


Mental stimulation is crucial for your American Water Spaniel because they feel bored without any thrilling activity. So, provide them with mental stimulation through interactive toys, puzzles, and brainstorming games. In this way, American Water Spaniels become safe from destructive behavior and enjoy challenges to learn new tricks.


Safety measurements are equally important during training sessions, these dogs have a strong prey drive and chase the small animals if given a chance. Therefore, make your home or yard hazard-free to prevent any accidents.

Love and Attention

Above all, spend quality time with your American Water Spaniel and give it a lot of love, attention, and affection because these dogs become vigorous when they are left alone for a long time. Furthermore, train them at an early age how to manage alone time, otherwise, they bark excessively.

Grooming Needs

First of all, take a look at your dog’s coat to know whether it’s a single-layer or a double-layer coat. Because a double coat requires extra grooming as it sheds more than a single layer. Similarly, American Water Spaniel dogs also need proper care due to their double coat that helps them to survive in all climates. With the help of the following guide, you can maintain their health and functionality.


Weekly brushing is recommended to prevent matting and loose hair, for this purpose use a slicker brush or a pin brush which can remove tangles effectively. During brushing pay attention to the areas that are more prone to matting such as behind the ears, under the legs, and around the neck.


Frequently bathing is not required for American Water Spaniels unless they are particularly dirty or smelly. Always use a shampoo specifically recommended for dogs because another shampoo can destroy the natural oils that are essential for maintaining water resistance and overall coat health.

Ear Cleaning

Due to their floppy ears, it’s very important to clean their ears after bathing or swimming because moisture or debris can cause ear infections. Therefore, check their ears regularly for any sign of redness, odour, and discharge after that clean the ears with vet recommended solution.


While American Water Spaniels generally don’t require too much trimming, some owners want to cut hair from ears, tails, and feet to give them a good appearance. If you are doing this, stop it because this can destroy the coat’s weather resistance ability.

Nail Care

Regularly trim their nail to prevent overgrowth as this can injure you or your dog. Don’t cut their nails in a hurry as you can cut their blood vessels in quicks. If you are not familiar with nail trimming then appoint a professional vet for nail trimming.

Tick and Flea Prevention

Since American Water Spaniels are outdoor dogs when you take them for hunting or retrieving, it’s important to check for fleas and ticks, especially, after spending time in woody or grassy areas. Use vet preventive measurements against these parasites.

Dental Care

The most important step of the dog caring process is dental care. The overall health depends on their mouth cleanliness, therefore, use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste for maintaining oral hygiene. Give them chews or toys to prevent plaque or tartar buildup.

Professional Grooming

Also, visit the vet to get professional grooming services for your beloved pet. The professional services include nail trimming, teeth cleaning, coat maintenance, and bathing. These services effectively meet the grooming needs.


Because of their eagerness, these dogs are easily trainable, moreover, they love to learn new tricks. If you add treats or praise your dog becomes obedient and learns basic commands quickly. Start early training and expose your dog to various environments, in this way, you teach them how to behave in social places. In addition to training, socialization also plays a very important role in the development of good manners.

American Water Spaniels have a knee sense of smell, so that, makes them excellent candidates for scent work activities. Incorporate games that engage their sense of smell such as scent tracking, or search games using hidden treats or toys. As these dogs are bred for hunting waterfowl and retrieving birds, they enhance their abilities by fetching or retrieving birds in fields. Also, train them to swim in the early stage gradually going to the shallow water for swimming.

Teach your dog how to swim safely in water where they leave or stay and how to manage the hazards and prevent going from dangerous areas while swimming or retrieving. If you want to use your American Water Spaniels for hunting purposes, enroll them in specialized training programs that enhance their hunting and retrieving skills in fields.

Above all, approach training consistently and with patience. While American Water Spaniels are intelligent and eager to please, they may require time to become a master in new skills.

Exercise Needs of American Water Spaniel Dog Breed

Due to their active nature and hunting background, American Water Spaniels require daily base exercise. Without mental stimulation, these dogs become destructive and barking. However, hiking, jogging, and swimming are the best activities for this active breed. Aim for 60 minutes of daily exercise to provide mental stimulation and keep these dogs physically fit.

As water-loving dogs, Swimming can also become a highly beneficial activity and help them expand energy while engaging in their instincts so, add swimming to their daily exercise. These dogs particularly enjoy the retrieving or fetching games as these activities keep them fit and active. By changing the exercise tricks and methods American Water Spaniels remain safe from restlessness.

Toys and interactive games such as puzzles, balls, and frisbees keep them engaged and sharp, furthermore, the interactive games strengthen the bond between the owners and dogs, while providing essential exercise. American Water Spaniels also benefit from socialization with other dogs and people and exploring new things or environments. Therefore, take them to dog parks or social places where they play friendly with other dogs and also burn their extra energy while learning the proper social behaviors.

History of American Water Spaniel Dog Breed

Originating from the United States, the American Water Spaniel is one of the few breeds developed in America, especially in the Midwest region during the 19th century. Particularly this dog is bred for hunting and retrieving in marshes, lakes, and rivers of the Midwest. This dog is the state dog of Wisconsin. These dogs were prized for hunting waterfowl from the water and as well as for their versatility in hunting both on land and in water.

This breed is particularly famous among Midwest hunters due to their exceptional swimming abilities. In 1920, the American Water Spaniel was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC), and in 1940, it was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Despite this recognition, this breed’s number remained small and it was at the risk of decline.

During the mid-20th century, American Water Spaniels were saved by many efforts to promote this breed. The breeders made a lot of efforts to maintain the breed’s characteristics and its health. Today, this breed is rare but cherished by those who appreciate its intelligence, affection, and loyal nature. While still primarily used as hunting companions, American Water Spaniels are also gaining popularity as the best family dog and competitor in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and rally.

Facts of American Water Spaniel

  • Origin: United States (especially lake regions
  • Size: Medium
  • Life Span: 10 to 12 years
  • Coat: long, curly, or wavy that is liver color
  • Temperament: Intelligent, active, loyal, affectionate
  • Exercise needs: Moderate to high
  • Grooming: Regular brushing is essential
  • Training: Easy to train as these dogs are eager to please
  • Health: Generally healthy breed but prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, and allergies
  • Fun Fact: American Water Spaniels are the state dog of Wisconsin

American Water Spaniel Dog Breed General Health

American Water Spaniels are generally healthy dogs but like any breed, these dogs are also prone to many health issues including hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypothyroidism. Therefore, they require proper care for a happy and healthy life. Regular vet check-ups are essential to monitor any health problem.

Recommended Tests for General Health

  • Hip Dysplasia Screening: X-rays are very helpful in detecting any signs of hip dysplasia, which is common in all dogs including American Water Spaniels.
  • Eye Exams: Regular eye check-ups including screening for PRA can help to monitor eye health and maintain your dog’s vision.
  • Thyroid Gland Functioning Tests: Hypothyroidism is generally an endocrine disorder in dogs. Properly testing the thyroid glands’ functioning allows you to control this issue before becoming serious.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: It is crucial to maintain your dog’s oral hygiene because your dog’s health depends on their teeth health. Moreover, dental illness can cause kidney, lung, and heart problems, ultimately affecting your dog’s overall health.

Potential for Weight Gain

American Water Spaniels can be prone to weight gain if not provided with proper diet and regular exercise. Many factors such as overeating, lack of exercise, and generic predisposition can cause weight gain.

How to manage weight gain in dogs?

  • Balanced Diet: Always feed your American Water Spaniel a balanced diet that is formulated according to their size, age, and activity level. Avoid excessive use of treats Because treats have too many calories that cause obesity.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage your dog in physical as well as mental activities such as hiking, swimming, and puzzles. Regular exercise not only maintains your dogs’ weight but also provides them with mental stimulation and keeps them active.
  • Monitor the Food Intake: Don’t leave food before your dog all day, Firstly measure the portion of food that meets their dietary needs, then give them food. In this way, you can control your dog’s weight.
  • Use Healthy Treats: It’s recommended to use low-calorie treats beneficial to use alternatives such as vegetables or fruits for rewards during training sessions.
  • Consult with Vet: If you notice weight gain or obesity signs, consult a vet for proper treatment of your American Water Spaniel. They recommended a dietary and weight management plan to adjust your dog’s weight.

Common Health Problems

American Water Spaniels are generally healthy but these dogs are also prone to many health problems, therefore, if you are concerned about this dog breed kindly take these dogs from a certified organization that provides you with a certificate related to their health because American Water Spaniels are prone to some hereditary issues.

Here we have mentioned some basic health problems that are also common in American Water Spaniel.

Diet and Nutrition

Always provide your American Water Spaniels with fresh water and a balanced diet according to their age, size, and energy level. Generally, two food meals are enough in a day but also consult with the vet for both the type and the amount of food and follow the suggestions given by your vet. Use food that is specifically formulated only for dogs because this packed food contains all the essential nutrients that are necessary for your developing dog.

American Water Spaniel Dog Breed Overview

This dog breed is eager to pleaseCan be vocal and destructive when let alone for too long
Usually low shedding coatCan be reserved around strangers
Generally good for the outdoor lifestyleCan have a stubborn streak


In conclusion, the American Water Spaniel dog breed is significantly famous due to its friendly deposition. This breed cherished you both as a family pet or best companion during hunting. Despite their active and energetic background, this dog like any other dog breed requires a proper diet, regular exercise, and mental stimulation to enjoy a happy and healthy life. If you like then subscribe to our website for reading the latest article.

Are American Water Spaniels good with children?

Yes, American Water Spaniels are famous due to their friendly and gentle nature which makes them excellent companions for family and children.

Do American Water Spaniel requires a lot of grooming?

Yes, American Water Spaniel requires regular brushing and occasional grooming due to their dense curly coat. Regular brushing helps to prevent mating and tangles.

Are American Water Spaniels are hypoallergenic?

While no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, American Water Spaniels are considered to be relatively low-shedding and may be suitable for some allergy sufferers.

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