American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel

The exact origins of the American Water Spaniel was never officially recorded. But most experts agree that a combination of the Irish Water Spaniel, Tweed Water Spaniel, English Water Spaniel, and the Curly Coated Retriever all had a part to play in the equation. This theory is based largely on the breed’s appearance.

Another theory is that the American Water Spaniel was created by American Indians who had tribes located in the Great Lakes regions. Whatever the origins of this dog are, it is irrefutable that the breed became hugely popular and established as a reliable hunting companion in the Midwestern section of the United States.

The American Water Spaniel is a small dog that has a waterproof coat and an amazingly keen nose, allowing it to hunt through rough terrain and retrieve a variety of game from both land and water. It is no wonder that this breed became a sought-after hunting companion in America.

It wasn’t until after the year 1940, at which time it was officially recognized by the AKC, that the American Water Spaniel started to become the target of breeding enthusiasts. Before then, no one really had considered breeding American Water Spaniels for any other reason besides hunting.


As you can tell by its name, American Water Spaniels absolutely love water and have a natural ability to swim and hunt. This dog is a highly skilled retriever and is able to hunt a variety of animals.

At the same time, these Spaniels make great family companions. They are lovable and always willing to please. Some of them can be quite timid, yet other American Water Spaniels may be aggressive towards strange dogs. They are also known to bark loudly.

Taking Care of Your American Water Spaniel

Like all dogs whose prime desire is to hunt and retrieve, American Water Spaniels must have a vigorous amount of exercise on a daily basis. Two or three long walks on the leash each day will suffice, but running outside in a safe area is best.

As far as living arrangements are concerned, American Water Spaniels should have access to the outside but remain indoors at night with the rest of the family. Grooming requirements tend to be a bit more work than other breeds, largely due to its long oily coat. Weekly brushing is a must and the hair may need to be clipped around the feet, ears, and the topknot.

Health Information

The average lifespan of a healthy American Water Spaniel is between 10 and 13 years.  The only major health concern that may come up is mitral valve disease. Minor issues include CHD, PDA, and pulmonic stenosis. A few of these Spaniels may show signs of PRA and patellar luxation, but these occurrences are rare.

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