american water spaniel
The American Water Spaniel is a very energetic and intelligent dog that has been used for hunting and retrieving throughout the midwestern areas of the United States. It is an excellent swimmer that loves being in the water, even in rough water conditions or in colder temperatures. The males and females should look slightly different with females lighter, finer boned and more feminine than their masculine counterparts. Both males and females should be very balanced and proportionate in appearance, and for breeders this is considered more important than the actual sizes of the dogs.
They have a curly to uniformly wavy coat that is dense and well-suited to resist cold water and inclement weather. The coat's color is liver (tan), brown, or chocolate. (A small amount of white on the chest or toes is permissible, and spots become smaller in size as pup grows to adulthood.) The AWS should have a rocker-shaped tail and be somewhat compact in size with well-proportioned features that give the dog an air of balance. Its head should be broad and spaniel-like with no topknot. Eyes are yellowish brown to brown, hazel or of dark tone and should harmonize with coat; yellow eyes are a disqualification in the show ring.
American Water Spaniel Temperament
The American Water Spaniel is a very gentle, kind and affectionate dog as well as an energetic hunting dog and an incredibly intelligent worker. They are typically very good with children and other pets in the family, although they are known to be dog aggressive with strange dogs. The American Water Spaniel can be socialized while they are young and this will help prevent any aggression in both males and females. Intact males are most prone to being aggressive towards other dogs, especially in the presence of females in heat.
The American Water Spaniel is a good companion dog and is well behaved in the house provided they have been properly trained. While not prone to chewing, they are known to be a barking breed and a good watchdog, although they are not typically good guard dogs due to their small size and spaniel temperament. Occasionally an American Water Spaniel can be timid, especially females. Socialization from an early age will help this behavior as well as the aggression in males. The American Water Spaniel can be a drooling breed, especially after eating or drinking.
The American Water Spaniel is an excellent all round companion dog and loves to be around people. Despite their independent nature while hunting they do make ideal obedience dogs and are also fun loving and enjoy a good romp and run with the kids. The American Water Spaniel is usually good with children and is sturdy enough to handle a fair amount of rough play. They are great fetchers and will happily play for hours chasing a ball or stick.
A roaming breed the American Water Spaniel will need a fenced yard or to be kept on a lead until well trained to return when called. They can become focused on a scent or trail and will often track almost absentmindedly, roaming much farther than they intended. These dogs make excellent pets for moderate to extremely active families.
The oily coat of the American Water Spaniel needs a through brushing twice a week. Bathe only when necessary as bathing removes the natural oils in the coat and can dry out the skin. The coat may have a strong smell due to the oil. This breed is a light shedder.
There is little actual information on the development of the American Water Spaniel, although it has been a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club since 1940 and many other kennel clubs also recognize the breed. There are also many areas of the United States that claim the development of the breed, although it is most closely identified with the Midwest area of the US and is the state dog of Wisconsin. The breed was developed exclusively as a hunting dog and excels at both flushing birds as well as retrieval on both land and in the water.
Many dog lovers believe it is a variety of Irish Water Spaniel whereas others believe it is a crossing of several breeds including the Tweed Spaniel, Curly coated retriever breeds and the English Water Spaniel may all have contributed to the genetic make-up of today's American Water Spaniel. The American Water Spaniel remains an excellent hunting dog today, although it is not as popular as many of the other hunting breeds. It is not typically seen at shows although it is often seen in championship hunting trials. As a sporting type of dog there is no need for registry to compete, so while the official AKC numbers are relatively low for this breed it is estimated that there are many more American Water Spaniels that are actually recorded.
The American Water Spaniel just wants to make the owner happy, making them a very pleasant and easy to work with breed of dog. Even as a puppy the breed goes out of its way to understand what the owner is asking. They are considered to be a very easy dog to train although socialization is very important and can cause problems in the future if not included in the training process.
The breed is easy to house train and is very clean, making them an ideal candidate for crate training techniques. With consistency and effort on the part of the owner this breed typically will be house trained in two to three weeks. The American Water Spaniel will tolerate fairly repetitious types of training although like any breed they enjoy variety. Since they are a very active and energetic dog it is advised that exercise periods start the training routine and also end the training routine. This will allow the dog to always associate training with something fun.
Training as hunting dogs requires additional time by the owner. Many hunters take their dogs to private trainers to help with the basics. Usually the dog is a hunter by nature, the training actually teaches the hunter and the dog how to work together while hunting. Many hunters choose to enter their American Water Spaniels in hunting trails and events, in which this breed will excel.
It is very important when working with the American Water Spaniel that the handler never uses harsh punishment or a rough or mean tone of voice. These dogs can easily become cowed and nervous when negative type training methods are used. Work on the dog's strengths and use positive praise and ignoring rather than punishment based training for the best possible results.
There are no health problems which are very common, but some concerns that show up occasionally are hip dysplasia, and eye problems. Some lines are prone to skin problems. Best to purchase from a reputable breeder who can provide health certificates for the parents.