Breed Group: Sporting
Weight: Mle: 30-45; Female: 25-40 lbs
Height: 15-18 inches
Color(s): solid liver, brown, or dark chocolate
The American Water Spaniel is most commonly referred to as AWS. Since the 18th century this breed has been used on the farm and for hunting, particularly in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They are one of only a few breeds developed in America, and are considered a rare breed. The American Water Spaniel is virtually unknown outside of the United States. They were designated as Wisconsin's official state dog in 1986.
The American Water Spaniel is a medium sized dog. This American original excels at flushing out game and retrieving. As is typical of the Spaniel breed they hunt both feather and fur with excitement and enthusiasm. The American Water Spaniel is friendly, willing to please, and intelligent. They are avid hunters, farm workers, and amiable companions.
This breed is loyal, energetic, obedient, and persistent. They are generally gentle with children and other pets. They may become aggressive with dogs they do not know. The American Water Spaniel is an ideal family pet. If they are properly introduced they are friendly with strangers. They may become attached to one particular person within the family unit. They are an excellent watchdog, and have a tendency to bark excessively. Many American Water Spaniel' will "yodel" when excited. They love attention, but are fully capable of creating their own entertainment.
American Water Spaniels require a thorough brushing at least twice a week. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary using a mild shampoo. It is essential that the coat not be stripped of the natural oils. Occasional professional clipping of the coat is recommended to keep this breed from looking "ratty". The lack of popularity of the American Water Spaniel has enabled them to remain free of genetic health issues. They may, however, have skin problems.
The American Water Spaniel has a double coat, which is distinctive and weather resistant. The outer coat ranges from tightly curled to wavy, while the under coat is dense and protects this breed from weather and water. The coat is neither coarse nor soft, but somewhat oily. The color may be dark chocolate, brown, or solid liver. This breed is a light shedder.
The American Water Spaniel is slow to maturation and may be two years of age before they are able to settle into a training program. However, they do require extensive socialization at an early age. They may be difficult to housetrain and the crate method is highly recommended. This breed has a highly sensitive nature and does not respond to harsh or heavy-handed training methods. If they are harshly disciplined they may exhibit "fear-biting". It is important that training be done with patience, love, respect, consistency, and fairness.
American Water Spaniels require an inordinate amount of physical exercise, and enjoys swimming and hunting. They have a tendency to roam, so daily jogging or walking must be done with the American Water Spaniel securely leashed. They benefit from play sessions such as Frisbee or a game of "fetch". The American Water Spaniel will do okay in an apartment provided they are given sufficient exercise and a securely fenced yard is available. They prefer a home in the country setting with room to run.
Help reduce the number of dogs in shelters by doing your due diligence. Many puppies are often purchased with little or no knowledge of what goes into parenting one. Uneducated decisions often leave the puppy in need of adoption and in the care of rescue groups. Bringing home a puppy into your family has many benefits but we first implore you to educate yourself. An informed decision will take into account the characteristics of the breed, your lifestyle, expected veterinary care, the demands and limitations of owning one, their activity requirements and levels of companionship required.
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