Updated 21-06-2023

American Water Spaniel Characteristics, Facts & Traits

One of the best watchdogs in the United States is the American Water Spaniel. He has a short-haired, curly brown coat. Although the AWS's rarity, appearance, and size make him enticing, potential health issues and his outspoken behaviour should be taken into account before owning one.

The AWS appears to be a two-faced creature. This dog is quite stubborn, but is also a very intelligent and obedient pet that responds well to gentle, consistent training methods. He is willing to go the extra mile for the right person. Play, praise, and food rewards are all positive reinforcement methods that can be used to get the best results. To avoid issues like food-guarding, timidity, and hostility toward unfamiliar dogs, start training and socialisation as early as possible.

All-purpose hunting dog American Water Spaniel was bred to do it all. With their water-resistant double coats, these expert swimmers specialise in retrieving waterfowl from small vessels. Even though they were bred to chase and recover game, these dogs may also make wonderful family pets if given the proper amount of exercise.

Below, you can find all the information you need on American Water Spaniels.


  • Water from the American Water Company Spaniels are lively dogs and need to be exercised frequently. One to two hours of walks, runs, or fetch games a day is all that's needed for him. You can spread out your workouts over the course of the day, doing an hour here and a half there. To avoid excessive barking and chewing, it's important for dogs to have access to mental stimulation.
  • There are several ways in which the AWS expresses his boredom and loneliness, and if left alone for more than a few hours, he may resort to violence. The AWS works best in houses with an occupant present during the day.
  • American Water Spaniels have a reputation for being stubborn and cunning. Establishing standards and being consistent in enforcing them is the best way to show them that you mean what you say.
  • Water from the American Water Company If you don't have a fence or a leash to keep them in your yard or at your side, they may depart to go hunting on their own.
  • For the most part, AWS can be a one-person dog that is nevertheless nice to other members of the household. Visitors and strangers shouldn't expect them to fawn over them.
  • This can cause your AWS to become fearful or stubborn. For this breed, soft touch and reward-based teaching are the most effective methods of achieving their desired results.
  • However, some American Water Spaniels can be territorial and violent toward strangers, even if they get along with other household dogs and cats.
  • You may train your dog to overcome his or her natural tendencies to chew, dig, and jump.
  • Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, negligent breeder, or pet retailer if you want a healthy dog. If you want to be certain that your puppy will be free of hereditary illnesses and have a healthy temperament, look for a reputable breeder who conducts genetic testing on her breeding dogs.


Social Appearance 


Contrary to popular belief, only tiny dogs qualify as apartment pets. Tiny dogs can be too rambunctious for high-rise apartments. Apartment dogs are quiet, low-energy, tranquil indoors, and courteous of their other residents. You may acquire a wonderful kennel for your dog right here if you want extra privacy in your apartment.

Sensitivity Level

Some dogs ignore harsh criticism, while others take even the slightest sneer seriously. Stressful environments, aggressive or loud owners, and inconsistent routines are better tolerated by dogs who are easy-going, resilient, and thick-skinned. Got kids, a busy schedule, or a lot of parties? Preferably not extremely sensitive.

Protective Nature

Alerting you to the presence of strangers. There is a greater likelihood that these dogs will respond to any perceived threat, whether it is the mailman or a squirrel outside the window. Strangers that come into their home and are accepted by their family will be welcomed with open arms by these breeds.

Potential for Playfulness

There are two kinds of dogs: those who love to play and those who prefer to be left alone. It's important to consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have children or other canines to entertain the dog.

Personality Appearance


Just like a dog's muscles, a dog's mind needs exercise if its work includes decision-making, intelligence, and focus. Due to boredom, a youngster may create their own task, usually with actions you dislike, such digging or biting on a stick. Dog sports and jobs like agility and search and rescue can help exercise a dog's brain.

Energy Level

Dogs with lots of energy are always looking for something to do. They may work hard all day since they were developed to fulfill a specific job, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding animals. They'll spend more time jumping, playing, and discovering new sights and smells if they're getting enough physical and mental stimulation.

A low-energy dog is content to lay around all day. When choosing a breed, consider your own level of activity and whether or not you'd appreciate owning a boisterous, energetic dog.

Easy To Train

Easy-to-train dogs can quickly connect a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and an outcome (like sitting) (such as receiving a treat.). Training different breeds of dogs takes more care and practice.

If your dog approaches training with a "What's in it for me?" mentality, you'll need to use treats and games to motivate him.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Some breeds remain distant and independent, while others form close bonds with one individual and are indifferent to others. Not only does a dog's breed influence their amount of connection, but so does their upbringing.


A kid-friendly dog is kind with children, strong enough to bear heavy-handed pets and hugs, and tolerant of running, shouting children. Who's on that list may surprise you: Fierce-looking Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are good with kids (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas are small, fragile, and possibly sharp canines.

Dog Friendly

Canine friendship is one thing, but human friendship is another. Even if they are friendly to people, some dogs will attack or dominate their opponents in a fight. Some dogs like to fight, while others will flee. Other factors come into play. Puppy socialisation is more likely among puppies raised with their littermates and mother during the first six to eight weeks of life.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means dog hair all over your clothes and home. The amount of shedding varies greatly amongst dog breeds. Some dogs "blow" seasonally, others both ways, and yet others shed very little. Choose a low-shedding breed or decrease your expectations. A de-shedding tool can help keep your home cleaner.

Drooling Potential

Wet spots may be left on your clothing by dogs that are known for dribbling when they meet you for the first time. In the event that drool isn't a concern for you, then go ahead and get a dog that doesn't drool excessively.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs may simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, cutting, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance.. Grooming a dog that requires a lot of time and patience may not be in your best interest if you do not have the time or the money to do so.

Exercise Needs

Some breeds can tolerate evening walks around the neighbourhood. Those bred for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting need to exercise often to stay fit.

If they don't receive enough exercise, several of these breeds may acquire weight and act out. Looking to train your dog for an active sport like agility? Consider adopting a dog who demands lots of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


25 to 45 pounds


12 to 15 years


1 foot, 3 inches to 1 foot, 6 inches tall at the shoulder


The American Water Spaniel is believed to be descended from smaller Irish or English Water Spaniels and Curly-coated Retrievers introduced to America in the 18th century. Until the mid-1800s, accurate breed records were not kept. AWS originated as a hunting and companion dog in the Midwest of America. She was ideal at detecting and rescuing birds and other animals that had fallen into marshes and rivers.

As larger retriever breeds gained popularity, the little American Water Spaniel lost its place in hunting. Dr. F.J. Pfeifer of New London, Wisconsin, saved the American Water Spaniel from extinction. By breeding and selling their puppies to the club, breeders like Pfeifer helped set the standard for an American Water Spaniel.

Thanks to Pfeifer's efforts, the United Kennel Club recognised American Water Spaniels in 1920, the Field Stud Book in 1938, and the AKC in 1940. "Curly Pfeifer" was the first registered American Water Spaniel for over a quarter-century.

Only 3,000 American Water Spaniels remain in the world. Due to the breed's rarity, it is unlikely that it will ever be split into two classes: show dogs and hunting companions.

Personality and Temperament

American water spaniels are well-known for their intelligence, obedience, and love of children and other animals. Watch Dogs are also a fantastic idea for them. With these features, they are wonderful family pets.

American Water Spaniels were originally bred for hunting. Thus, they are an active breed that enjoys playing, hunting, and other activities. This breed has a range of characteristics that make them ideal as a family companion when their exercise requirements are adequately addressed. Affectionate and fun, they enjoy spending time with children and other members of their immediate family alike.

It is common for this breed to form a close relationship with one or more members of its immediate family. However, breeders have been working hard to produce dogs that are more even-tempered and ideal for families in recent years.


Water spaniels in the United States are known for their love of the great outdoors. It has an easy-to-care-for coat. It's also regarded to be a very trainable breed.


It's not unusual for American Water Spaniels to be able to swim in water as cold as 0°F without getting chilled. In terms of health, they're not the toughest of tough. You'll want to be on the lookout for indicators of common ailments in this breed, and you'll want to do it as soon as possible.

Hip Dysplasia

Abnormal growth and development weakens the hip joint, leading to a degenerative condition. The American Water Spaniel is not the only dog to be affected by this condition.

Pattern Baldness (Saddle Alopecia)

In children, alopecia aerate often develops between 6 and 9 months of age and progresses to full baldness in affected areas. Saddle alopecia causes hair loss on the tail, the back of the thighs, and the underside of the neck of the horse. Inheritance has not been discovered. There is no cure for hair thinning.

Growth Hormone-Responsive Dermatosis

Skin changes due to GH shortage (somatropin). The pituitary gland provides this crucial hormone for hair growth. This disorder causes hair loss in animals that otherwise appear healthy. It's unclear how genetic makeup is passed down. It affects male canines aged one to five, with hair loss occurring at puberty. The dog's skin turns darker brown and hair loss is symmetrical over his body due to increased pigmentation. If left untreated, the illness will eventually extend to the head and feet. There is a growth hormone drug, but it is pricey and difficult to get. Male dogs may benefit from neutering to solve the issue.

Retinal Dysplasia

Folds are formed in the retina when the retina develops abnormally. This can cause a dog to go from having a little blind spot to being completely blind. The most frequent theory is that it is an inherited condition, but it can also be brought on by a variety of other events, such as childhood trauma. Even though there is no known cure for Retinal Dysplasia, many dogs who suffer from it lead full and happy lives because of their other senses, which help them make up for their loss of vision.


When the lens of the eye becomes clouded, it makes it harder to see. The dog's eye(s) will appear to be clouded. Remove the cataract surgically, and you'll be able to see again.


Dog allergies are a common issue. To treat a dog's food allergy, remove the offending item from the dog's diet for a period. Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to something that touches the dog, such as bedding, flea powder, or dog shampoo.

Contact allergies can be treated by eliminating the source of the allergy. Inhalant allergies are caused by airborne allergens such pollen, dust, and mildew. The severity of an inhalant allergy determines the optimal treatment. Allergies to inhalants often induce ear infections

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Many breeds are affected by this degenerative eye disease. The gradual loss of photoreceptors at the rear of the eye results in blindness caused by PRA. PRA can be detected years before any symptoms of blindness appear in a dog. The eyes of reputable breeders are examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist every year.


Seizures are caused by this condition in dogs. Although medication can be used to treat epilepsy, it cannot be cured. With proper treatment, a dog can enjoy a long and healthy life despite the presence of this genetic condition.


The thyroid gland, located in the neck, is responsible for producing thyroid hormones that are deficient in people with hypothyroidism. Infertility may be one of the milder signs of the condition. Its most obvious symptoms are obesity, mental dullness, lethargy, drooping eyes and poor energy levels.

The dog's skin gets harsh and black, and the fur becomes coarse and brittle, eventually falling off. If you have hypothyroidism, you'll need to take a daily thyroid supplement for the rest of your life. With regular treatment, dogs can have a long, healthy lifespan.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Cardiac Exam
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation


Consume 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food twice daily.

Weight, age, build, metabolism, and exercise level all affect your dog's adult appetite. There is no such thing as a universal dog food. Naturally, a dog who is constantly on the move will require more care and attention than one that prefers to lounge around. Also, the food you buy for your dog matters. The more nutritious the dog food, the less you'll need to put to your dog's plate.

Feed your AWS twice a day rather than leaving food out all day. Examine him visually and physically to ensure he looks and feels good.

Fix your focus on him. A waist is required. Place your hands on his back, fingers extended out and thumbs aligned with his spine. If you press hard enough on his ribs, you should feel them but not see them. If you can't, a low-calorie, high-activity diet will help.


As a result, they are able to survive in chilly waters because of their double layer. There will be oily stains throughout your house where your dog has rubbed itself since the coat produces natural oils that allow it to repel water. Surprisingly, however, this coat requires very little maintenance.

As they shed the most in the spring, your American Water Spaniel will need to be brushed frequently. The remainder of the year, you just need to wash your teeth once every week. Because bathing eliminates the essential natural oils your dog's coat needs, only give your dog a bath when he or she is exceptionally smelly or dirty.


Your American water spaniel needs at least one hour of daily activity. Walking, jogging, hiking, and swimming are all excellent options, as are intense play sessions. Dog activities like dock diving and agility, for example, can test your dog's physical and mental limits.

It is possible for an American water spaniel to become destructive and/or bark excessively when they do not have adequate physical and mental stimulation. Toys like puzzles can help keep your dog active, but it's important that you take time to exercise it every day.


When you get your new puppy, be prepared to begin training and socialising it immediately. The earlier you begin these training methods, the better prepared your dog will be to socialise with other dogs, people, and a variety of circumstances.

The majority of American Water Spaniels are eager to please, despite the fact that some are resistant. Because of this quality, training your dog will be a breeze. In addition, they have the potential to be gifted athletes who excel in a variety of sports, field competitions, and tracking agility competitions.

Children and Other Pets

Children like the company of the American Water Spaniel. In any case, children should be taught how to approach and touch dogs and should always be supervised during interactions between dogs and small children to avoid any biting or ear or tail pulling. You should teach your youngster the importance of respecting dogs' privacy and not to disturb them while they are having a meal or napping. A dog should never be left alone with a child, no matter how friendly the dog is.

There are some American Water Spaniels that are territorial and aggressive toward other dogs, but they normally get along well with family pets and cats.


If you wish to acquire or adopt an American Water Spaniel puppy, you should first prepare your home. Puppies are prone to mischief and gnawing on objects, so remove any potential hazards. Put away any personal belongings you don't want a puppy to destroy.

Keeping your new puppy busy is essential. American Water Spaniel puppies need lots of exercise and playtime. Older dogs demand more movement than 6-18 month old puppies.

Remember that puppies have considerably smaller stomachs than adults when deciding what to feed them. Smaller meals throughout the day are required. Puppies aged 8 to 12 months should be fed four times daily, while puppies aged 3 to 6 months should be fed three times daily.

Dog breeds related to American Water Spaniels

Curly Coated Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, and Field Spaniels are three breeds that are closely related to the American Water Spaniel.

Curly Coated Retriever

Like American Water Spaniels, Curly Coated Retrievers are gun dogs. Both dog breeds have a similar level of intelligence and can be trained easily. There is a significant size difference between Curly Coated Retrievers and American Water Spaniels. A Curly Coated Retriever weighs 72.5 pounds on average, compared to 35 pounds for an American Water Spaniel.

English springer spaniel

Another type of hunting dog is the English springer spaniel, also known as a springer. American Water Spaniels, on the other hand, have a curly coat. Maintaining the coat of an American Water Spaniel is a lot easier than keeping an English springer spaniel’s coat in good condition. As a group, they're a pretty loving lot. They also thrive when there is someone at home to play with them, and may become anxious if they are left alone for long periods of time.

Field Spaniel

Another gun dog breed is the Field Spaniel. Field Spaniels are slightly larger than American Water Spaniels, but they are very similar in size. American Water Spaniels weigh 35 pounds on average, while Field Spaniels weigh 42.5 pounds on average. Compared to Field Spaniels, the American Water Spaniel is more protective of its territory.