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American Water Spaniel

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Is the American Water Spaniel right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): AWS

The basics:
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.

wonderful

smart dog, good watchdogs, great little dogs, water play

challenging

young children

interesting

undercoat

Member photos

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