Spaniel American water dog

Spaniel American water dog
Spaniel American water dog pictures
Spaniel American water dog suitability

In my own words

An attention seeker, me? I wouldn’t go that far – I just like to make sure that my owner’s eyes are on me at all times, that I get petted whenever their hands are free and that they play with me at every opportunity. Sure, I might bark a lot when I feel like I’m not getting enough attention, but I just need to remind everyone that I’m in the room sometimes.

Moving swiftly along – if you want to be friends with me, then you’ve got to share my interests. I’m talking about running, swimming, leaping, exploring and generally going on adventures. If you can’t keep up with me, then we’ve got a problem but if you love the great outdoors as much as I do, you can go ahead and call me your Best Friend Forever. So, is it time for walkies?

My ideal owner(s)

Experience dog owners

Families with older children

Outdoorsy types

Country dwellers

Active people

What they say about me

Great swimmer

Attention seeker

Active and lively


Please read on to find out more about me, and whether I’ll be someone you’ll be happy to live with for the next 15 years!

Is this spaniel american water for you?

Test your knowledge about the spaniel american water

Information essential about the Spaniel American water dog

Kennel Club Group:



Medium: Weight Male 30 – 45 lbs (13.5 – 20.5 kg) Female 25 – 40 lbs (11 – 18 kgs)

Height Male 15 – 18” (38 – 46 cm) Female 15 – 18” (38 – 46 cm)


The American Water Spaniel is a very rare breed and is therefore not popular. The breed is more popular among farmers who use the American Water Spaniel as a hunting and working dog that it is with families who only want a companion dog. 

Breed History:

The exact origin of the American Water Spaniel is not known, however it is thought that the breed comes from the Great Lakes area, including Wisconsin and Minnesota. Most experts agree that the American Water Spaniel was developed from the Irish Water Spaniel and Curly Coated Retriever.

During the 18th Century the American Water Spaniel was used as a working dog on farms and in hunts. It is the first American breed to be developed to retrieve and hunt, and was treasured by American Water Spaniel enthusiasts as an excellent hunting dog. These American Water Spaniel fans were very protective over the breed and keen to retain its qualities as a hunting dog, going as far as to try to prevent the breed becoming recognised by the American Kennel Club as they believed it would ruin the American Water Spaniel reputation. However, the American Water Spaniel was finally recognised by the AKC in 1940.

The American Water Spaniel was bred to be able to catch the scent of game as well as flush them out, and is also a strong swimmer. The breed’s qualities make him a multipurpose hunter who can work in marshes, lakes, open ground and woodland.

In the early 1900s the breed’s numbers began to decrease, due to a reduction in the number of ducks in the Great Lakes area and the movement of hunting from a way of gathering food for the home to a hobby. After World War II the number of American Water Spaniels was further diminished as setters, pointers and other spaniels gained popularity.

The American Water Spaniel was announced as the state dog of Wisconsin in 1985, however the American Water Spaniel still continues to be a rare breed.


The American Water Spaniel is a more relaxed character than most spaniels, being less excitable and more balanced, but retains retrieval skills which could rival a Labrador or retriever. His breeding a multipurpose hunting dog means that he is not only an excellent hunter in woodland and open fields, but equally strong in marshes and in the water. While your American Water Spaniel may not be a fast swimmer he is a strong swimmer who can endure rough waters, and he loves a chance to get wet. Bred to be a working dog, your American Water Spaniel loves to have a task to do and therefore does well with competitive agility. However, your American Water Spaniel is more independent than other spaniels and has a mind of his own, so training is not always easy. An American Water Spaniel owner needs to provide training which the dog will find entertaining and interesting in order to get the most out of the breed. While your American Water Spaniel has a lot of affection for all of his close family, he will probably only form a very close bond with one member of the group.


Your American Water Spaniel loves to be the centre of attention and can bark excessively if he feel as though he isn’t getting enough of your time, energy and praise. He’s an intelligent breed which loves to learn, providing he finds the tasks at hand interesting, and is enthusiastic. While breeders have worked hard to create a balanced dog which would be equally suitable to family life as a pet as well as a hunting or working dog, there are still some American Water Spaniels which show aggressive temperaments. The American Water Spaniel is a naturally dominant dog and therefore needs an owner who will not allow it to be the alpha in the family. American Water Spaniel owners should have an air of authority and be fair, firm and consistent in training. Your American Water Spaniel is also very protective, making him a good guard dog. Your American Water Spaniel loves to go for runs, walks and swims and will become restless and destructive if he doesn’t get enough exercise outside.


The American Water Spaniel has a muscular, athletic frame of a medium size. The body is slightly longer than tall, and has a well built, strong look without appearing too compact. The head is in proportion to the body and is long with a smooth, square muzzle. The medium sized eyes can range in colour from a pale golden brown to dark brown, harmonising with the coat colour, and are slightly rounded and set well apart. The ears are long and wide and hang downwards, covered in curls. The tail is a medium size and is curved, covered with feathering. The American Water Spaniel’s coat is a double coat with a soft dense undercoat and coarse outer coat which features a waterproof coating which has an oily feel and can give off a ‘doggy odour’.


The American Water Spaniel’s coat comes in liver, brown or chocolate colours.


Your American Water Spaniel is very intelligent, so he doesn’t like a lot of repetitive training which he will find boring and uninteresting. Instead, they need a lot of variety and training which involves problem solving which challenges them. Obedience classes are recommended for you to get the most out of your American Water Spaniel, and a strong, confident owner will be best suited to this dominant breed.


The American Water Spaniel’s coat is low maintenance. The wavy coat should be brushed every two weeks and bathing should take place only when absolutely necessary as it can damage the coat’s oily weather resistant coating. The American Water Spaniel is a light shedder.


The average lifespan if the American Water Spaniel is 12 to 15 years. The breed is known to suffer from a number of conditions including cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidisim, epilepsy, diabetes and glandular disorders. Hip dysplasia is also seen in the American Water Spaniel, however it is less common than it is in other sporting breeds.

You may also like:

If you like Spaniel American water dogs, you may like other breeds with similar characteristics »

Polish Lowland Sheepdog Estrela Mountain Dog German Pinscher Shetland Sheepdog Bichon Frise

Advice on choosing your breed »

Find an animal shelter or rescue home where a Spaniel American water dog is waiting for a new home »

The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if an American Water Spaniel is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1 = strongly disagree, and 5 = strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that is suitable for an experienced owner, look down the list under ‘training and obedience’ and you will see that American Water Spaniels are perfect for experience dog handlers, scoring 5. If you are looking for a dog that loves water, look under ‘activities’ and you’ll see an American Water Spaniel would be an excellent choice, also scoring 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your choice.

Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming5/5
Likes learning new tricks4/5
Likes to hunt5/5
Likes to fetch5/5
Good gundog/retriever5/5
Barks a lot4/5
Gets easily jealous2/5
Friendly with strangers4/5
Expensive to insure3/5
Expensive to feed3/5
Happy to sleep outside2/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment2/5
Prefers temperate climate5/5
Prefers hot climate2/5
Prefers cold climate3/5
Moults a lot2/5
Requires lots of grooming2/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly2/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children3/5
Good watch dog4/5
Good guard dog4/5
Good with other pets2/5
Good with other dogs3/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs3/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs4/5
Requires lots of exercise5/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners2/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall4/5
Easy to train4/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

Take our breed compatibility test

Spaniel American water dog Pictures & Videos



barnaby noahs dogs