Species group: Sporting Group dogs
Other name(s): AWS
Wisconsin's official state dog, the American Water Spaniel is a gundog breed thought to have been developed by market hunters in the Fox and Wolf River valleys of Wisconsin to pursue the abundant waterfowl of the Great Lakes region.
According to the American Water Spaniel Club, this is a rare breed with only about 3,000 alive at any given time. They are primarily a hunting breed with a desire to swim and retrieve-- or to swim and play fetch if you prefer to keep them as a companion. While the AWS is a lively choice for the active family or outdoorsperson, they become unhappy or destructive trapped in small apartments.
Despite the joy they take in retrieving, this is not a Labrador or Golden Retriever. The American Water Spaniel is not guaranteed to go to everyone. Indeed, some of them have trained to serve as watchdogs.
Appearance / health:
The American Water Spaniel is a muscular and hardy medium-sized dog. Its skull is broad with a moderate stop and its medium length muzzle is square and smooth. The breed’s ears are long and covered with curls and the medium length head is moderately long. The nose may be dark brown or black. The eye color usually corresponds with the coat color in shades of brown or hazel. Generally, the teeth meet in either a level or scissors bite. The breed features a feathered tail that tapers, hanging with a slight upward curve and helps serve as a rudder while swimming.
The American Water Spaniel is a light shedder. The oily coat of the breed needs a thorough brushing twice a week to remove dead hair and prevent matting. Bathing should be done only when necessary as it removes the natural oils in the coat and can make the skin dry.
The breed should be allowed a lot of physical activity and socializing, else, it may become aggressive. The breed loves roaming around and swimming in the water.
Although the American Water Spaniel is generally free of serious health issues, the breed is found to be prone to skin problems. Some of the minor health issues that may crop up from time to time include, cardiac abnormalities, cancer, hip dysplasia (inherent disease that affects hip joint causing crippling, or lameness), diabetes, allergies, hypothyroidism (deficiency of thyroid hormone affecting the metabolic function of many organs in the dog), follicular dystrophy (a genetic disease causing hair loss), and cataracts. It is advised that all the American Water Spaniels used for breeding should receive health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hips, heart, and hypothyroidism as well as an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation.
Behavior / temperament:
American Water Spaniels are intelligent and very trainable. It loves attention, but can entertain itself. Some snore and some bark and whine quite a bit. It is an enthusiastic swimmer and makes a great hunter in difficult waters, in the woods and over uneven terrain, hunting for quails, ducks, pheasants, grouses, rabbits, and other birds. This breed likes to roam. Friendly, intelligent, and willing to please, this breed has many of the common spaniel characteristics.
American Water Spaniels take well to training that offers some variety rather than routine drills. Harsh training techniques do not work for the majority of this breed. In fact, harsh training often causes the dog to become shy or even bite out of fear. This breed does well under a trainer who is consistent and fair when dealing with the dog. They have a high learning rate.
They tend to be noisy.
smart dog, good watchdogs, great little dogs, water play
"Rusty was a beautiful chocolate brown dog who was brought home by my policeman brother when I was about 15. He had been confiscated in some kind of a raid. My brother took a liking to him so instead of putting him in the pound he brought him home. Well it didn't take that dog long to decide whose dog he was. He was so much fun. He absolutely loved water play and swimming. In the summer he didn't need to be asked more than once to go swimming. He would get so excited and jump around like a puppy. He seemed to be a very smart dog and really understood what you said to him. He was so soft and silky to pet. In the evenings we would sit out on the back porch and my dad would play the mandolin and sometimes Mom would join in on the organ and Rusty would lay his head on my lap and we would sit until bed time.<br>."
From Grama Penny Apr 21 2009 1:46AM
"These are great little dogs for the experienced dog person. The require a firm leader and train easily with firm and fun training. They bore with repetition and wont tolerate punishment when they dont understand the cause. They arent yappy but can make good watchdogs, although I wouldnt go so far as to say they are good guard dogs. They are a hardy breed with the average life span around 12 years. <br>I dont recommend them for young children as they are very food driven and toddlers with cookies in the hand would be too tempting.<br><br>."
From pkeirin Nov 24 2010 7:36AM
"The first concern for dog owners, when it comes to crate training, is whether this is a cruel way to train your dog. My usual answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! The important thing is to start at an early age, following this advice: - Keep the crate in a room where you often spend time when at home, for example your living room. - At the beginning, let your dog go in and out the crate as he pleases. - Leave in the crate a t-shirt of yours, an old one will do; the smell on it will make the dog feel more comfortable. - Water is a must in the crate and I don’t personally recommend to leave food inside, unless you want to give your dog a bone or something to chew on. It is also perfectly fine to use the crate when your dog misbehaves, most people think it is not but try to think of it this way: when you were a kid your mum must have told you, and probably more than once, to go to your room after you did something wrong, and I am pretty sure this didn’t make you hate your room. It works the same with dogs, by putting them in the crate you will make them calm down and give them time to reflect and learn, as long as you follow these few rules: - The crate must be in the same room, or a room close by, as you are; don’t punish your dog by leaving him alone in the basement. - If your dog misbehaves don’t send him to the crate right away, let it to go the first couple of times. - Don’t keep him in the crate for too long and absolutely do not shout at him while is in the crate. - Avoid the use of the crate if the room is full of people or dogs. ."
From Luca Trainer 168 days ago