American Spaniel Water Dog Breed Information

Among the rarest of dog breeds, the American Water Spaniel is a charming member of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Sporting Group. These canines are known for their enthusiasm for outdoor activities such as hunting and swimming. If you’re thinking of adopting an American Water Spaniel, here’s what you need to know.

A Little History
First recognized by the AKC in 1940, American Water Spaniels are most prevalent in the mid-western United States. And, while they are the official state dog of Wisconsin, they remain one of the least common breeds across the country.

Very little is known about the precise origins of this breed. Most experts speculate that they descended from variations of the Irish Water Spaniel, such as the Tweed Spaniel and Norther Water Spaniel. Many also suspect they may be related to the Curly-Coated Retriever and the now-extinct English Water Spaniel. This is because European immigrants in the upper mid-west relied heavily on the region’s waterfowl for sustenance, but faced a unique set of challenges posed by the Great Lakes. The solution was to borrow the necessary qualities from a host of European breeds to create a new one fit for the task at hand.

What are American Water Spaniels Like?
This Spaniel is medium-sized and is distinguished by its one-of-a-kind coat. Usually liver, chocolate, or brown in color, their fur is wavy and full of curls. The hair on their ears is also long and curly, and relative to their size, their noses are quite long. They weigh between 30 to 45 pounds, and stand between 15 to 18 inches high. Longer than most Spaniels, their muscular build and balanced pace allow them to navigate waters with ease.

Described as eager and happy, the American Water Spaniel is said to crave companionship. They are known to do well around other dogs and children with proper training. Moreover, they have a high aptitude for learning and tend to be people-pleasers.

Caring for American Water Spaniels
Beautiful coats come with a cost, and that’s no different for the American Water Spaniel. Be prepared to bathe, brush, and come this breed at least once a week. You’ll also need to check their ears and trim their nails regularly to reinforce good health and proper comfort. They do not shed as much as other breeds, but they require at least as much mental and physical exercise as any other member of the Sporting Group.

Most healthy American Water Spaniels live between 10 and 14 years, but they are prone to certain conditions such as Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), and Patellar Luxation1. Visit your veterinarian regularly to monitor for health concerns and detect any symptoms early.

The Cost
Many breeders charge between $1,000 to $1,200 to adopt an American Water Spaniel Puppy. New pet parents should be prepared to allocate another $1,200.00 to first year expenses, included supplies, food, and initial veterinary expenses. After that, expect to spend around $500 each year on veterinary care.

Treatment for CHD and Patellar Luxation can cost anywhere from $1,500 to several thousand dollars, while surgery to correct PDA can cost up to around $5,000. Pet parents with a policy from 4Paws Insurance can focus more on veterinary decisions and worry less about the costs.

Sandy Says
Comments from our Chief Pet Officer
There are not very many American Water Spaniels here in the United States. In fact, the AKC estimates that there are fewer than 3,000 American Water Spaniels alive today. If you want one of these happy-go-lucky dogs be prepared to get on a waiting list. This breed needs weekly grooming, and ample exercise. If you love a medium size dog with gorgeous curly hair, this dog is for you.