American Water Spaniel Dog Breed: Facts, Traits, Character and Look

American Water Spaniel Dog Breed_ Facts, Traits, Character and Look

The American Water Spaniel (AWS) originated from the United States, specifically the Great Lakes region. The American Water Spaniels are known for their strong water retrieval skills. AWS dogs have high energy levels and, as long as they get enough exercise, they make excellent family companions. Their cheerfulness, enthusiasm and intelligence boost strong mutual bonds between owners and their furry friends.

American Water Spaniels are classified as part of the Sporting Dogs group. Although the breed falls in the medium-sized dog category, weighing up to 45 pounds and standing about 18 inches high, they are also known as the “little brown dog.” Their average life expectancy is 10 to 14 years, and the American Water Spaniel’s name is often abbreviated to AWS.

View Table of Contents

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of American Water Spaniels?

American Water Spaniels appear small, weighing between 25 to 45 pounds and only about 18 inches high. These curly-coated American Water Spaniels are the classic “big dogs in small packages.” They are tough hunting dogs, known for often displaying a stubborn streak. Although they are called spaniels, the AWS dogs are exceptional water retrievers and have a fine reputation as hunting dogs among those in the know.

American Water Spaniel Dog


Relationship with family

Calm and loving

Relationship with children


Relationship with other dogs


Shedding Level


Drooling Level


Coat Type

Double coat – water-resistant, dense, curly

Coat Color

dark chocolate, brown or liver

Grooming Frequency

High, brushing at least three times per week


Average chance of bad smell.

Barking frequency


Relationship with Strangers


Playfulness Level




Adaptability Level


Intelligence Level


Trainability Level


Energy and Activity Levels


Exercise needs

High – 1 to 2 hours per day

Mental stimulation requirements


Protective of territory and family



10 to 14 years

Although American Water Spaniels are loveable, affectionate, and playful, socialization should start at an early age.

What are the Physical Traits of the American Water Spaniel?

The American Water Spaniels originated in the United States, bred as all-around hunting dogs, bred to retrieve from skiff or canoes and work the ground with relative ease. The American Water Spaniels are active muscular dogs, medium in size with a uniform waved to curly coat. Below are more physical traits of the Water Spaniel Breed.

Physical Trait




Weight Range

Male between 30 and 45 pounds

Females Between 25 and 40  pounds

Height at the withers

Males between 15 and 18 inches

Females between 15 and 18 inches


Well-developed, sturdily constructed, well-sprung ribs


Proportional to the size of the body.


Square, not too long


Lobular, long and wide with leather extending to nose 


Slightly rounded. Color ranging from light yellowish-brown to brown, hazel or of dark tone to harmonize with the coat.


Front legs and hind legs, moderate length, straight and strong.


Moderate in length, curved in a rocker fashion, carried either slightly below or above the level of the back 

Exercise Need

High – 1 to 2 hours per day


Weather-resistant double coat.


Outercoat is curly or uniformly waved                        Undercoat is dense and thick.

Litter size and frequency

Average 4 to 6 puppies once per year

Life Expectancy

10 to 14 years

How is the Temperament of American Water Spaniels?

Though American Water Spaniels were bred to be powerful hunting partners, they also make great snuggle buddies. AWS pups are cheerful, upbeat, affectionate, loyal, and eager to please. American Water Spaniels will not miss an opportunity to cuddle up next to or in the lap of a beloved family member. They are loyal and protective but not aggressive.

The AWS craves companionship, and leaving them alone for two or more hours typically causes loneliness. The Spaniel will become bored and express its unhappiness by destructive behavior. If this happens frequently, the furry companion dog might become depressed and develop separation anxiety. 

Even if only one person remains at home, the dog will not feel rejected. American Water Spaniels are more sensitive than most owners might expect. Even gentle scolding can cause them to withdraw.

  • What are the Social Behaviors and Nature of American Water Spaniels? 

American Water Spaniels are intelligent, playful, and energetic dogs. They are excellent with children and typically friendly towards other pets, which makes them a welcome addition to many families—provided you can keep them well-exercised. More Social traits of American Water Spaniels are listed below.

American Water Spaniel Social Traits

Breed Information

Relationship with family

American Water Spaniels are loyal, affectionate and protective of their human families. Water Spaniels tend to choose a favorite human, often the person it regards as its pack leader.

They would suit an energetic family that enjoys being in the great outdoors. They also adore being in the water. If you live near a lake or the sea – all the better.

Relationship with strangers

If not socialized early enough or often enough, the American Water Spaniel can become aloof with strangers

Relationship with other dogs

American Water Spaniels get on well with other dogs in the household, but they might see other dogs as potential challenges to their status within the family. Socialization is essential to avoid incidents of aggression.

Relationship with older people

Water Spaniels interact well with older people, but only if they have enough backyard space and can take the Water Spaniel for walks.

Relationship with children

American Water Spaniels can undoubtedly be good when interacting with children, but Water Spaniel parents should note the potential issues. American Water Spaniels who grew up with children should not cause problems. If they join a household with kids already present, problems may arise. American Water Spaniel puppies tend to play-bite, and over-excitement might knock small children over. American Water Spaniel owners should have their AWS socialized early and teach their children to respect dogs.

Adaptability level

American Water Spaniels adapt easily to different circumstances, as long as they always have enough space to play and exercise with their human playmates and other house pets.

Energy level

American Water Spaniels are very energetic, and to help them healthily spend the energy, rapid walking or jogging of one to two hours per day is essential. Part of that time can be used as playtime in a large backyard. Secure fences are crucial because an AWS’s hunting traits and prey drive can trigger them to escape and follow.

American Water Spaniels love the outdoors, and if one of their humans has tendencies to go duck hunting, the AWS will be the first to join. That is one way to exercise your spaniel and have fun at the same time. After all, that is what your furry friend was bred to do. These sporty dogs need plenty of activity and enjoy staying active with their human companions. Their keen sense of smell combined with expert retrieving and swimming skills make them excellent hunters.

Playfulness Level

Because American Water Spaniels are so high-energy, they tend to be playful, enthusiastic, and thrive as the center of attention. Generally, they play well with children, though young kids always need to be supervised when playing with any dog, American water spaniels included. 

Protectiveness Level

The American Water Spaniel can develop a close bond with members of its family and is very protective of them. This trait also helps this breed be an excellent watchdog.


These spirited dogs have a rollicking good time, and so does anyone who spends time with them. American Water Spaniels are playful and energetic, alert and curious. They can be aloof with strangers, but it is not likely to be dangerous.


Some American Water Spaniels are territorial, sometimes triggering aggressive behavior toward strange dogs. However, they do not feel threatened by other family dogs. There are no records to indicate that American Water Spaniels tend to attack humans.

Compassion Level

American Water Spaniels are sensitive, and they don’t like irregular daily routines, noisy households and frequent interaction with guest visits. They are also sensitive to their owners’ emotions and tend to stay close to a family member if they sense that person has emotional hardships. Harsh treatment can make your AWS timid or stubborn. The breed responds best to a gentle touch and training techniques that use rewards for getting it right, rather than punishment for getting it wrong.

Intelligence Level

The American Water Spaniel is an intelligent, upbeat, athletic breed that excels at hunting and retrieving. AWS are highly intelligent with an easy-going demeanor that makes them seem generally friendly.


American Water Spaniel barks with reason, most often to alert the owner of potential danger. The American Water Spaniel will be friendly toward people if they have been properly introduced. However, he makes an excellent watchdog and will alert you with a warning bark if he hears any strange noises.

What is the General Information about American Water Spaniels?

When hunters needed a dog for hunting in water and on land, breeders created the American Water Spaniel. The dog had to be able to work in cold temperatures, and they had to fit into small boats. The breeders were successful, and the American Water Spaniel breed was the result.

The medium-sized Water Spaniels did the hunting and retrieving they were bred to do for some time. However, the demand for these hard-working hunters waned because bigger retriever dogs like Labradors arrived in the US from England and replaced the smaller Water Spaniels.

The AWS breed was on the brink of extinction when Dr. F.J. Pfeifer, an AWS enthusiast in Wisconsin, decided to prevent the loss of the American Water Spaniel. Dr. Pfeifer established a breeders club, and when the breeders were ready to present the dogs to the American Kennel Club. The AKC registered the breed as the American Water Spaniel. The AWS was further honored when the American Water Spaniel was officially named the State Dog of Wisconsin in 1985

They are still a rare breed, and reportedly, there are currently no more than 3,000 American Water Spaniels worldwide. It makes them a special and unique little dog that still holds an important place in the state’s history and the entire Great Lakes region

How to Feed an American Water Spaniel?

American Water Spaniels do best on high-quality dog food, whether homemade with veterinarian guidance or commercial dog food. Any diet should be life-stage appropriate, like Water Spaniel puppies, adults, or seniors. American Water Spaniels should be fed food specifically formulated for medium-breed puppies. This will help their bones grow and develop at a proper rate and help prevent a condition known as panosteitis, or ‘growing pains.’

As adults, water Spaniels will do well on most high-quality commercial dog food brands. Due to their high energy requirements, the correct amount of food should be accurately measured in a day. However, they are reasonably small, and if its favorite dog food is not available for medium breeds, it might be good to go for food developed for large-breed puppies.

Dog parents should note that Water Spaniels love food, and if their feedings are not measured or controlled, or their food is not suitable for the AMT, obesity might be on the horizon. American Water Spaniels tend to gain weight, become bloated, and grow too quickly when young, leading to health problems like hip dysplasia later on. It is crucial to divide your AWS’s food for the day into two meals to prevent bloat.

According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult American Water Spaniel weighing 40 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 1109 kcal. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered or older may need slightly fewer calories, and some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism.

For example, if you hunt with your American Water Spaniel doing light fieldwork, you might need to feed him somewhere around 1233 kcal per day. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young American Water Spaniel puppy (4-12 months) weighing 20 pounds needs an estimated 733 kcal per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors. Below is a list of  high quality food for American Water Spaniel puppies, adults and senior dogs..

  • Food options for American Water Spaniel Puppies can be seen below.

Wet Food Option: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Wet Dog Food, is perfect for your American Water Spaniel puppy. This irresistibly tasty wet food is made using only the finest natural grain and gluten-free ingredients. It starts with high-quality protein from grilled pieces of turkey and chicken, packed with fruits and veggies, then enhanced with vitamins and minerals. Formulated with DHA to support brain, eye, and cognitive development, this high-protein puppy food is made with wholesome ingredients that do not contain any by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Dry Kibble Option: Taste of the Wild is made with premium meats like wild boar, buffalo, smoked salmon and turkey, and roasted bison, lamb, quail, venison, and duck. Every formula is grain-free and provides lasting energy with complex carbs from sweet potatoes and legumes. These highly digestible proteins and fiber-rich carbohydrates will keep your American Water Spaniel puppy feeling full and energized throughout the day.

  • Food Options for Adult American Water Spaniels can be seen below.

Wet Food Option: An Alaskan adventure for your Adult American Water Spaniel with Blue Buffalo Wilderness Denali Dinner High Protein Grain Free, Natural Wet Dog Food. Perfect for your furry friend, this irresistibly tasty wet food is made using only the finest natural grain and gluten-free ingredients. It starts with high-quality protein from an exotic blend of wild salmon, venison, and halibut, packed with fruits and veggies, then enhanced with vitamins and minerals. Formulated to promote an active lifestyle and healthy muscle growth, this high-protein dog food is made with wholesome ingredients that do not contain any grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. 

Dry Kibble Option: Feed your Adult American Water Spaniel a balanced diet with ingredients straight from nature with Taste of the Wild Ancient Wetlands Dry Dog Food. It features a tasty trio of real roasted quail, roasted duck and smoked turkey, which not only offers your pup a source of highly digestible protein, but also the wag-worthy flavor he loves. This recipe is crafted with a combination of whole grains like millet, quinoa, chia seed and sorghum to support your sidekick’s overall health and is completely free of corn, wheat, filler, and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.

  • Food options for American Water Spaniel Seniors can be seen below.

Wet Food Option: Make sure your mature American Water Spaniel feels great with Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Senior Wet Dog Food. Perfect for your senior sidekick, this irresistibly tasty wet food is made using only the finest natural grain and gluten-free ingredients. It starts with high-quality protein from grilled turkey and chicken, packed with fruits and veggies, then enhanced with vitamins and minerals. This food for mature dogs is made with wholesome ingredients that do not contain any grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Dried Kibble Option: Support your Senior American Water Spaniel’s ongoing health with Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble. This dry dog food is made with tasty chicken as the very first ingredient, providing a high-quality source of protein. It’s made with the special dietary needs of senior dogs in mind, including essential antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system. Plus, calcium helps support strong bones and joints, and natural fiber supports healthy digestion. You can feel good about this recipe made with non-GMO ingredients, and there’s no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy here.

What are the nutritional needs of the American Water Spaniel?

The nutritional needs of an American Water Spaniel include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for American Water Spaniels are listed below:

  • Protein: American Water Spaniels need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids they contain that are essential for Water Spaniel’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein also provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the American Water Spaniel’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adult and senior American Water Spaniels need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the American Water Spaniel sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in American Water Spaniel puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of American Water Spaniels.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting solid joints in American Water Spaniel are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for an American Water Spaniel’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of American Water Spaniels.

How Much Should an American Water Spaniel Puppy Eat?

A young American Water Spaniel puppy (4-12 months) weighing 20 pounds needs an estimated 733 kcal per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors.

Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • American Water Spaniel puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • American Water Spaniel puppies should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times over three or four meals per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • American Water Spaniel puppies with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar are the exceptions because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

American Water Spaniel puppies should eat a healthy, balanced diet because of the intense exercise they need every day. Water Spaniels tend to become overweight as they get older, so it’s important to monitor how much food they’re consuming from the time they are puppies. In addition, they have a risk for hip dysplasia, and joint supplements can keep them feeling healthy.

What are the Common Health Problems of American Water Spaniels?

The American Water Spaniel Breed is reasonably healthy, but 6-monthly veterinarian checkups remain essential. American Water Spaniels are predisposed to several health problems, but that does not mean they will contract these diseases.

Even if your Water Spaniel escapes all the genetic threats, there are more significant risks. There is a long list of other health conditions threatening all dog breeds, and timely health tests for potential diseases might prevent them or allow early treatment to limit the consequences. 

Some diseases are genetic, and others are degenerative. The list below shows conditions that could but might not affect your American Water Spaniel. 

  • Hip dysplasia: American Water Spaniels are prone to femur bone abnormalities that cause lameness and pain because the bones do not fit into the hip socket.
  • Elbow dysplasia: The most common cause of lameness in the forelimbs of dogs like American Water Spaniels.
  • Growth hormone-responsive Dermatitis: Causes skin changes due to a lack of growth hormone (somatropin). This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and is necessary for hair growth. Affected American Water Spaniels have varying degrees of hair loss but are otherwise healthy. The mode of inheritance is unknown, but it affects more males than female dogs.
  • Pattern Baldness (Saddle Alopecia): This condition causes a gradual, symmetric thinning and loss of hair (alopecia) that usually begins by 6 to 9 months of age and progresses until affected areas are completely bald. Saddle alopecia causes hair loss underneath the neck, on the back of the thighs, and on the tail of American Water Spaniels. The method of inheritance is not known. There is no treatment to cover the hair loss.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: (PRA) is an inherited disease in which the eyes of AWS and other breeds are genetically programmed to go blind.
  • Retinal Dysplasia: Retinal dysplasia is an abnormal development of the retina resulting in retinal folds. This can lead to a variety of vision problems for an American Water Spinal ranging from a small blind spot to total blindness.
  • Allergies: Three types of allergies may affect your AWS, including food allergies to certain ingredients in dog food. Contact allergies are caused by a reaction to something your dog touches, such as bedding, flea powders, and dog shampoos, and inhalant allergies, caused by airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and mildew.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is an opacity on the lens of the eye, which causes difficulty in seeing. Your American Water Spaniel’s eye, one or both, will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and can be treated by surgically removing the cataract.
  • Epilepsy: A disorder that causes seizures in the dog. Epilepsy can be treated with medication, but it cannot be cured. Your AWS can live a full and healthy life with the proper management of this hereditary disorder.
  • Hypothyroidism: Caused by deficiencies of hormones produced by the thyroid gland.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion: Also known as ‘bloat.’ Most importantly, the dog owner can prevent it by providing correct nutrition and splitting meals into two or three per day. This life-threatening disorder happens when an American Water Spaniel’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted. It is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. 

American Water Spaniel owners are recommended to have the following health tests done:

  1. 1. Hip and heart evaluations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
  2. PRA Optigen DNA Test
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  4. Thyroid Test 

What is the Exercise Need of an American Water Spaniel?

The American Water Spaniel craves interaction with its human family. Nothing is as much fun as jogging with its owner. Water Spaniels are also great companions for skateboarders and cyclists. American Water Spaniels need at least two hours of exercise throughout the day.

It might even be a good idea to teach your Water Spaniel how to run on a treadmill, an ideal source of activity on bad weather days. Water Spaniel owners must keep in mind that they should not feed the pup immediately before or after exercise to avoid the risks of bloat. 

Playing with the children and other household pets in the back yard provides further benefits, not only physically but also emotionally because those are all times to improve the bond between the American Water Spaniel and the respective family members.

Give him one to two hours a day of walks, runs, or games of fetch, and don’t forget their love to swim. You can break up exercise periods throughout the day. Your American Water Spaniel may express its pent-up energy with excessive chewing and recreational barking without enough exercise.

What is the Shedding Level of American Water Spaniel?

The American Water Spaniel’s coat does not require too much maintenance. Except for the two shedding seasons, they are minimal shedders, but their thick coats can become matted and tangled if not given a regular brush out.

How to Train an American Water Spaniel?

Start training your American Water Spaniel puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. AWS dogs can even learn from children because they are so intelligent.

Please don’t wait until he is six months old to begin training, or you will have a tough time. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and don’t forget to socialize your Water Spaniel pup all the time. 

American Water Spaniels are excellent guard dogs, and if the Water Spaniel barks, it will likely be to warn the owner of danger or trespassers.

Is the American Water Spaniel Good at Hunting?

The American Water Spaniel was bred to be an all-around hunting dog. These skilled swimmers will happily retrieve from small boats, protected by their water-resistant double coats, specializing in waterfowl. American Water Spaniels have the high energy of dogs born to chase and retrieve waterfowl.

In the words of a South Carolina American Water Spaniel owner: “They are master hunters in AKC retriever, AKC spaniel, and NAHRA tests. They have hunting retriever titles in HRC and working dog superior titles in the AWS Club.”

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of American Water Spaniels?

Physical exercise is not enough for highly intelligent dogs like American Water Spaniels, and they need mental stimulation. However, the only way the American Water Spaniel can maintain high intelligence levels is by frequent mental stimulation to exercise their brains.

Like doing physical exercises to keep their bodies in optimal condition, mental stimulation is necessary to maintain optimal mental health. If American Water Spaniels do not get the necessary mental stimulation, they’ll find their own entertainment, usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing.

Where to Buy or Adopt an American Water Spaniel?

Taking the first step of adding a furry canine companion to your family is not something to rush into. It is a big decision that will affect all the family members in various ways. One of the most important decisions involves the breed that will suit your family and where to find it. 

One of the most lovable, loyal, intelligent, and energetic dogs that are safe to have around all ages, from toddlers to grandparents, is the American Water Spaniel. Like most significant decisions in one’s life, it pays to do your research. This includes understanding why it is essential to seek a responsible breeder and knowing what key factors to look for when choosing a breeder. 

Start by reaching out to the American Water Spaniel Club (AWCS), which will put you in touch with reputable breeders to choose from. However, continue to do your due diligence. The breeder has several responsibilities, and you are free to check whether everything is in place. Below is a list of what to look for.

The American Water Spaniel breeder must:

  1. Pledge to follow the Code of Ethics established by the AWSC to the best of their ability
  2. Perform and pass the recommended Health Clearances listed for our breed
  3. Research pedigrees of both sire and dam to limit health issues
  4. Provide AKC registration and health records for the puppy to the new owner
  5. Be willing to provide recommendations from previous puppy buyers
  6. Provide current health clearance information on both the sire and dam
  7. Provide pictures of both the sire and dam
  8. Screen prospective puppy buyers and be willing to answer and explain questions posed
  9. Provide and honor their contracts
  10. Provide support and mentorship to puppy buyers throughout the dog’s lifetime

Once you are satisfied and choose the breeder of your would-be furry friend, you might want to be prepared to be put on a waiting list. Responsible breeders typically allow their AWS females to have only one litter of puppies per year, which is only 4 to 6 puppies per litter for the American Water Spaniel. Breeders also have customers lined up for each litter in advance.

If you speak to a breeder who offers you a puppy right away and even a choice of pups, note that it is a massive red flag that indicates a puppy mill. You may end up with an unhealthy puppy, vet expenses, and heartache. Other red flags are discounts or cut prices offered. Be aware of the going costs for the American Water Spaniel. 

Realistic average prices for an average quality American Water Spaniel puppy are between $1,200 and $1,800. However, purebred, papered puppies and those whose parents were show dog champions will be significantly more expensive.

What are the Rescue Clubs for American Water Spaniels?

Anyone who considers bringing an American Water Spaniel puppy home would be wise to avoid puppy mills and pet shops. Finding a reputable rescue center is the key to finding the right puppy. A good rescue club would have done all the necessary health checks and possibly taken care of microchips and other extras. The best way to find a reputable rescue facility is to reach out to registered rescue centers or clubs. 

  • American Water Spaniel Rescue Me! Online
  • American Water Spaniel Rescue, Inc., Chicago, Illinois
  • Dogwood Rescue Society, Vancouver BC, Canada
  • Friends For Pets Foundation, Sun Valley CA 91352 United States
  • Spaniel Haven Rescue at Angels Saving Those In Need Scottsdale AZ 

What is the American Water Spaniel Dog Breed’s History?

The American water spaniel has existed since the early 18th Century. The breed was developed in the American Midwest, notably Wisconsin and Minnesota, as working gun dogs and was renowned for catching game birds on land and in water. 

The breed is used primarily for hunting pheasant, quail, grouse, duck, and rabbit. Although no one knows for sure, the dog’s coat and gun skills suggest it is the result of crossing the curly-coated retriever with the Irish water spaniel.

The American water spaniel is a rare breed even though these dogs have many characteristics that make them excellent family pets. In 1990, fewer than 300 were registered with the American Kennel Club, and it is believed fewer than 3,000 exist worldwide.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost of American Water Spaniels?

The cost to adopt an American Water Spaniel is around $200 to cover caring for the dog before adoption. In contrast, buying an American Water Spaniel from a breeder can be significantly more expensive. Depending on the breeder, the average price of an American Water Spaniel puppy is between $1.200 and $1,800. Factors that impact the cost of an American Water Spaniel puppy include the bloodline, gender, show quality, and achievements of the puppy’s parents.

The average annual cost to keep an American Water Spaniel healthy and happy is between $2,200 and $4,500. However, the first year after buying an American Water Spaniel puppy, expenses are significantly higher. During the first twelve months, the American Water Spaniel’s vet costs will include vaccinations, tests for congenital diseases, microchipping, neutering, or spaying.

Some of the estimates of essential costs are listed below; however, none of the food and water bowl, bedding, toys, etc., are included here.

  • Premium Food & Treats $400 – $900
  • Vet Bills & Preventative Care $700 – $1500
  • Training $20 – $300
  • Registration & Tags $10 – $20
  • Insurance $720 – $1320

Potential American Water Spaniel parents need to be aware of the financial responsibilities a furry friend brings.

How to Name an American Water Spaniel?

Naming your American Water Spaniel Dog might require different criteria than new AWS parents might expect. Finding inspiration and taking time to choose a name for your precious little ball of brown fluff is essential, but keep in mind that your puppy will respond to the sound of your call and not the name. Choosing a name with two syllables is the secret to putting together a unique sound by which your Furry Spaniel fried will recognize your call from a distance. 

Another issue to consider is that you will undoubtedly do some obedience training, teaching your American Water Spaniel to “sit,” “stay,” “down,” “come,” and more. If you choose a one-syllable name, it might confuse your Water Spaniel Pup if its name sounds like a command. 

When considering names, keep in mind that they will only be tiny puppies for a few months, and before you know it, your AWS will need a big-dog name instead of a puppy name. Even though your AWS pup will not understand the meaning of the name or the inspiration, nothing stops you from choosing a name with a particular connotation. 

Inspirations can include the names of the Great Lakes of their origins, Spaniel dogs connected to movies or animations, and even the names of family dogs when you were a child. Here is an example of choosing a name to honor somebody or something.

The American Water Spaniel was saved from extinction by Dr. J.F. Pfiefer of Wisconsin. When the numbers waned, Dr. Pfeifer established a breeders club to develop standards and then encouraged others to help build up the American Water Spaniel breed numbers.

So, why not pay homage to Dr. Pfiefer? Be creative and compose sounds for the words doctor, Pfeifer, or even use the name of the first AWS puppy born and registered in the breeders club, Curly. In the same way, you can find inspiration anywhere and create a sound that your pup will recognize anywhere. 

What are the Different Types of Water Spaniels?

There is only one American Water Spaniel, but many Spaniel breeds worldwide, some of which are water dogs. Water dogs are hunting dogs used to flush and retrieve birds and other game from water Below is a list of water dog breeds.

  • Irish Water Spaniel: This breed is native to Ireland. The tallest spaniel around, it is also the oldest and most unique of the water dogs.
  •  Wetterhoun: Originating in the Netherlands, Wetterhoun used to retrieve waterfowl and small mammals in the Friesland province. Its name in Dutch literally translates to “water dog.”
  • Spanish Water Dog: This breed is a retriever of waterfowl as well as a sheepdog herder and home guard dog.
  • Cantabrian Water Dog: Hailing from Cantabria in the north of Spain. It was used as a helper of fishermen by retrieving fallen fish, acting as a lifeguard, taking the rope between ships, or watching ships.
  • Portuguese Water Dog: This breed originates from the Algarve region of Portugal. It was used as a fishermen’s helper to act as a courier from ship to shore or ship to ship, herd fish into fishing nets, and retrieve broken nets and lost tackles.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the American Water Spaniel Dog Breed?

Apart from the three breeds of Water Spaniels, there are at least 16 other Water Spaniel breeds similar to the American Water Spaniel, some of which are listed below.

  • Boykin Spaniel: The Boykin Spaniel and the American Water Spaniel are similar in size and weight. They both also have about the same tolerance for cold, which makes them excellent hunting dogs for colder climates.
  • Curly Coated Retriever: Like American Water Spaniels, Curly Coated Retrievers are gun dogs. Both breeds have high intelligence and are easy to train. Curly Coated Retrievers are much larger than American Water Spaniels, though. 
  • English Springer Spaniel: English Springer Spaniels are another gun dog breed. Both of these breeds are very affectionate, and they also do best when someone is home with them and may develop separation anxiety if left alone. more about English Springer Spaniel Breed facts, life & diet information.
  • Field Spaniel: Field Spaniels are yet another gun dog breed. While they are slightly larger, a Field Spaniel is pretty close to the same size as an American Water Spaniel. Field Spaniels have an average weight of 42.5 pounds, and American Water Spaniels weigh about 35 pounds. 

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.