Water Spaniel

his breed developed in the American midwest as a working gun dog. He may have some Irish Water Spaniel in his background or some Curly-Coated Retriever. Today, although seen occasionally in dog shows, he is still a prized working gun dog, retrieving small game of any kind.

The AWS is a medium-sized dog, standing 15 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 25 to 45 pounds. The dog should be in proportion and well-balanced. The eyes are slightly rounded and may be yellow brown to brown, hazel, or dark to harmonize with the coat. The ears are dropped and long. The coat is wavy to curly with a weatherproof undercoat. The coat should be solid liver, brown, or dark chocolate.

The coat should be brushed two or three times per week, and the dog should be bathed every other week. Professional grooming is recommended every six to eight weeks.

These dogs need daily exercise and playtimes. Paul Morrison of Little Brownies Kennel says, "The breed loves to play. They will bring toys to the owner and set them in the lap to initiate play. They will then dance around in front to encourage the owner to throw the toy."

Although the breed standard calls for a friendly dog, some timid dogs are seen. Early socialization is very important for these dogs. These are quick, intelligent dogs who like to work; they need those traits channeled productively, so early training is imperative. Linda Ford, an AWS breeder, says, "The AWS is easy to train but will shut down if he feels you are being unnecessarily harsh. If trained with encouragement, he is a joy to train." The AWS can become protective of toys or food.

The AWS can be a wonderful family companion, although some bond more strongly with one family member. He is good with children when the kids treat him with respect. When raised with other pets he is fine with them, although he should never be trusted with birds. Some health concerns include baldness and heart and eye problems.

Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Gun dog Size: 15 to 18 in tall; 25 to 45 lbs

Longevity: 11 to 13 years Exercise: Moderate Training: Easy; keep training fun

Grooming: Moderate

American Water Spaniel 131

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