Species group: Herding Group dogs
Other name(s): Perro de Agua Español; SWD; Perro de Turco Andaluz; Perro de Lanas
The Spanish Water Dog may be a new breed to the United States, recognized by the AKC only in 2015, but it has 800 years of history as a hard-working dog of the Iberian peninsula. While the woolly coat with the hair in the eyes may scream "sheepdog," this intelligent herding group dog was extremely versatile. In addition to herding livestock of many kinds, it helped hunt game and assist on fishing vessels. In modern times, it has been repurposed to work in search and rescue as well as drug and bomb detection. Clearly, like other herding group dogs, it has a high intelligence and a willingness to assist with human tasks. This athletic and loyal dog does best with owners who can give it something worthwhile to do with its brain and its energy.
Appearance / health:
The Spanish Water Dog has a curly non-shedding coat that may naturally form cords. While the Spanish Water Dog is a low dander hypo-allergenic dog, there is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog. People with severe allergies should spend time with a Spanish Water Dog before making one part of their family to see if they have an allergic reaction. Some allergy sufferers are also allergic to the saliva.
The Spanish Water Dog should be longer than it is tall. The following body ratios are a good rule of thumb for Spanish Water Dog proportions: Length of body/size (height at withers): 9/8; Depth of chest/size (height at withers): 4/8; and Length of muzzle/length of skull: 2/3. withers.
Male Spanish Water Dogs should be approximately: 44 to 50 cm (17.32 to 19.68 inches) tall at the withers, and between 18 to 22 kg (39.69 to 48.5 lbs) in weight.
Female Spanish Water Dogs should be approximately: 40 to 46 cm (15.75 to 18.11 inches) tall at the withers, and between 14 to 18 kg (30.86 to 39.69 lbs) in weight.
The Spanish Water Dog generally requires little grooming. The coat should never be brushed or combed. At least once a year, the coat must be evenly sheared from the entire body, very similar to shearing a sheep – twice per year is not uncommon. During the phase in which the Spanish Water Dog’s coat begins to cord, more work is required to assist proper cording and to prevent the cords from matting near the skin. When bathing, a light, non-astringent shampoo should be used. The coat should not be towel dried after bathing, but rather should be “blotted” and permitted to drip or air dry so coat properly cords. No aesthetic haircuts are permitted – the dog should remain rustic in appearance.
Exercise is crucial for this breed so it becomes occupied with tasks and activities.
In the past, very little information has been gathered concerning inherited health issues among Spanish Water Dogs. The United States and some European and Scandinavian Countries have recently been conducting health tests and keeping records. At this time, it appears that the biggest health issues in the breed are hip dysplasia and allergies. There have also been cases of glaucoma, prcd-PRA, Hypothyroid, Congenital Hypothyroid with Goiter and other potentially inherited defects among Spanish Water Dogs. Shyness has been a concern among the breed and there have been many reports of difficult temperaments in the breed. While the breed is known to be wary of strangers and protective of his family and property, shyness is not acceptable. Socialization can significantly improve a dog’s temperament, but it is not a substitute for proper breeding.
Behavior / temperament:
The Spanish Water Dog is faithful, obedient, lively, hard working, and watchful. He is highly intelligent with an outstanding learning ability. His loyalty and protective instincts make him a self-appointed guardian to his owner, his family, and his property. He should be neither timid nor shy, but is naturally suspicious of strangers. Properly introduced, and given time, the Spanish Water Dog will accept strangers. He is very affectionate with his own people.
Spanish Water Dogs must be socialized beginning very early in their life. The Spanish Water Dog puppy should be exposed to many different people, animals and situations.
Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. The Spanish Water Dog should be provided tasks and new learning experiences to prevent it from becoming bored. The Spanish Water Dog thrives on human contact and are known to be "velcro" dogs. Although the Spanish Water Dog will make a good family dog, it will often attach itself to one member of the family.
SWDs can bark noisily, especially when strangers approach their homes and/or territory.
Breed description courtesy of the Spanish Water Dog Club.
intelligent dog, water sports, natural guarding instinct, great family dog
Congenital Hypothyroid, inexperienced dog owners, professional clippers
diligent training, herding, dock jumping, high energy dog
Spanish Water Dogs - Two different personalities
I have two Spanish Water dogs - a white boy called Jason and a brown girl called Inca. They are both rescue dogs and have completely different temperaments.
The girl likes to bark at everything - cats, dogs, people whatever is unlucky enough to be walking around. She barks when she's excited too - normally at the beginning of our walk. She isn't great on the lead, she pulls a lot and is a complete hoover! Anything that falls on the floor ends up in her tummy..
The boy on the other hand is very laid back and a breeze. He only barks when necessary - when someone is attempting to get through the gate. When he's excited he wags his tail like mad and shows his appreciation. He's mostly good on the lead too - unless something smells really really good.
Both the dogs love cuddles and often fight to be on my lap. They are both very loving dogs..
From LHMCODY Sep 2 2014 3:18AM
Del Sol Y La Luna Kennels, Spanish Water Dog Texas.com
Whereas I believe this is a tremendously excellent breed, I will be the first to say this breed is not for everyone. The SWD needs a confident leader who will set boundaries and give the dog a job whether that job is chasing thrown balls several times a day, swimming with you in the lake, river, or pond, keeping you company on your daily rounds, carrying a pack while hiking with you through the woods or around the block, or as they were bred to do many years ago - herding.
Being an active and an intelligent breed, a job is of the utmost importance. The SWD was bred to take care of things (such as a herd - guarding as well as moving them from place to place) which is why they need a job, if you will. There are SWD’s who are specially trained and have real jobs, but even pets need to be kept active and have a sense of purpose.
An intelligent dog is a beautiful creature, but that beauty can have repercussions if you aren’t careful. Take house training for example; SWD’s are easily house-trained when you are consistent. The argument can be said that any dog can be house-trained if you are consistent, but I’ve had pups go to the door the first day of training and wait for me to let them outside to potty. Now what if I wasn’t paying attention and ignored them. They’ve got to go. Their little bladders aren’t very big and puppies proportionately eat and drink a lot. What happens? The little bugger waddles to a corner and squats. Now once isn’t a bad thing, but every subsequent time the pup potties in the house, it reinforces to him that it’s okay, and an SWD puppy will take it upon themselves very quickly to forgo the waiting by the door and relieve themselves at handy spots throughout your house.
“I though this breed was smart,” you might say. “This dog can’t be house-trained.” Oh but you did house-train him. You quickly trained him to potty in the house because you weren’t paying attention to his attempts at communication. He learned very quickly that it’s okay to potty in the house. Intelligence can backfire if you are not aware of dog/puppy communication and/or are not setting boundaries for your SWD.
Coat care is relatively easy but then again everything is relative. I’m not one to sit and brush a dog’s coat everyday. I’m lucky to get my own hair brushed daily. I’m good with pulling apart a few cords here and there and shearing down once or twice a year. Since I have more than one or two dogs, I invested in my own shears. Honestly, I’d have done it that way regardless but that’s the way I roll.
I’m a little concerned that the wording of some of the questions will misinform or at least allow the misrepresentation of the Spanish Water Dog and their interactions with strangers, strange dogs, and cats. It is imperative that you socialize every dog regardless of the breed. Any dog can become unfriendly toward strangers, strange dogs, or cats if they are not allowed to interact or at the very least be exposed.
It’s no secret that the SWD is wary of strangers, but that doesn’t mean the SWD growls or is generally unfriendly. It merely means the SWD is not one to arbitrarily trust. One must earn that trust. Unknown dogs are approached in the same manner. Why is this? Think about what the SWD was bred to do. Wow. Now there is a novel concept. Learn how any dog will tend to act based on what its breed was bred to do.
The Spanish Water Dog was bred to guard and shepherd his herd. Would you want the dog watching your herd to greet every wild dog, coyote, or wolf that walked up? Or would you want them to wag their tail and submit to any person walking up when that person could be a potential thief? Probably not. You’d welcome a dog that was a bit stand-offish and would give a warning bark, take the herd to a safe distance, or at the very least, stand between the intruder and the herd. This is the basis for the reserved behavior of the SWD regarding strangers be it of the human or canine or feline variety.
In most parts of the world, excluding Spain, the Spanish Water Dog is a rare breed. Therefore it commands a steeper price than most pure-bred dogs. Once that initial cost is forgone, the upkeep on the SWD is minimal. What you gain is an active, intelligent dog that doesn’t shed any more than the average human sheds.
A good dog is a combination of matching a dog’s intelligence and drive to a human with similar drive and confidence. If the Spanish Water Dog fits your criteria, AND you are active and confident with dogs, the SWD might be the perfect dog for you..
From DelSolYLaLuna Nov 5 2012 10:18PM
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