American Water Spaniel
Would you like to own a real heraldic dog? Then you should take a closer look at the American Water Spaniel. Even though this dog breed is rather unknown outside its homeland, there are a few breeders who are committed to preserving these exceptional hunting dogs.
The American Water Spaniel is a medium-sized, muscular dog that is made for hunting in water and on land.
It has a compact build and reaches a shoulder height of up to 46 cm. Its weight is around 20 kg. The coat is usually dark or leathery brown and may have white markings on the paws or chest. It is always wavy or curly and has a dense undercoat and feathering on the paws and ears. The dense coat provides good protection against extreme weather conditions.
As the breed has hardly been changed by breeding over the course of time, its original robustness has been preserved. Diseases typical of the breed are not known.
The American Water Spaniel is a very friendly four-legged friend. It is very affectionate towards its owner or family and always wants to please. As a hunting dog, it is very eager and has a pronounced urge to move.
If you provide him with the right environment, he is a very docile companion who learns quickly. To do this, he must also be given enough "mental work". If his human does not do justice to his nature, the American Water Spaniel quickly becomes bored and keeps himself busy. He then breaks out without any problems and goes "hunting" on his own.
Despite his good-natured nature, this cheerful four-legged friend is also well suited to being a guard dog that loudly defends "his" property. However, he is generally friendly towards strangers and other dogs.
The right food
Like all spaniels, the American Water Spaniel tends to be overweight. Its appetite knows no bounds and its pleading look does the rest.
It has no special requirements when it comes to food. However, its diet should be as species-appropriate and balanced as possible.
Health & Care
The American Water Spaniel's long, curly coat and dense undercoat require a relatively high level of grooming. It should be brushed daily to loosen the undercoat and prevent matting. The nose should also be trimmed regularly. Otherwise, the wild growth on the paws, legs and mane will quickly make it look unkempt.
The drooping ears must be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent inflammation.
The four-legged friend loves to swim and is not afraid of ice-cold water, even in winter. As regular visits to the river or lake should be part of the American Water Spaniel's activity program, shampooing is not usually necessary.
A canoe, a large lake or river and a gun for bird hunting - this or something similar is the ideal equipment for keeping an American Water Spaniel. Of course, only very few can offer this. But that doesn't matter if you can satisfy the four-legged friend's hunting instinct in other ways. He needs meaningful activity for his head and body. Various dummies for chasing and retrieving are a good alternative to ducks and geese.
For more elaborate grooming, we recommend a sturdy brush and a special comb for thinning out the undercoat. If you don't want to take your pet to the groomer, invest in a high-quality clipper from a specialist retailer. Ask an experienced dog owner to show you how to trim your furry friend's hair properly.
You will also need a water bowl and a food bowl. A suitable collar or harness that can withstand use in water is also part of the basic equipment.
Origin & History
The ancestors of the American Water Spaniel probably originated in Great Britain. In addition to the Irish Water Spaniel and the Field Spaniel, the Old English Water Spaniel is also a possible ancestor.
As early as 1850, dogs resembling the American Water Spaniel were known in America under the name American Brown Water Spaniel.
From 1920, the breed was specifically bred by Dr. F. J. Pfeifer. The passionate hunter from the American state of Wisconsin was looking for a dog that could devote itself entirely to hunting. In forests, rivers and lakes, the always ready four-legged friend retrieved waterfowl from impassable reeds and small game in the forest. He was always eager to get down to work and fulfilled his task even in the freezing cold of winter. Whether he had to jump into the ice-cold water from a boat or track down his prey in the dense undergrowth, the robust hunting dog was always at his master's disposal.
These characteristics quickly made him known beyond the borders, and hunters in Michigan and Minnesota also counted on the strengths of the intelligent dog.
Over the years, hunting has changed from a livelihood to a leisure activity. Although the American Water Spaniel is also a good family dog, its passion is hunting. It was increasingly pushed into the background by the import of other breeds. In 1928, the first American Water Spaniel was recognized by the United Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club followed in 1940. In 1985, the state of Wisconsin named the four-legged friend its "State Dog".
Although the spaniel was also recognized as a breed by the FCI in 1995, it is almost unknown outside America and it takes a long time to find a reputable breeder.