The Eager and Charming American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel was initially bred to be a hunting dog. This dog breed specializes in hunting ducks. Aside from that, it is a great swimmer that can retrieve from small boats, and it has a waterproof double coat. The American Water Spaniel are energetic dogs, and they are born to chase and retrieve. If you want to own one yourself, one thing that you should remember is to give them enough exercise because they have a lot of energy to spare. This dog breed is also a perfect family companion.

History of American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel was first bred during the mid-1800s in Fox and Wolf River valleys in Wisconsin. The American Water Spaniel’s ancestors are not actually apparent, but expert says that they probably include the Curly-Coated Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Field Spaniel, as well as the now-extinct Old English Water Spaniel. The American Water Spaniel was initially bred to become a adaptable hunting buddy. This is because it has dense and curly coat which protects them from briars in the woods and cold water. Because they are also small in size, they can be taken in a little boat or canoe while hunting; And they will tenderly retrieve pheasant, grouse, quail, as well as ducks while they’re at it. The American Water Spaniel always stays close to his human hunting companion, and it does not range far afield.

Back in the day, hunters in the Mississippi flyway, as well as its northern tributaries used versatile American Water Spaniels in hunting and takes advantage of their ability to work in different terrains, their endurance, as well as their ability to retrieve several birds in just one day. However, when larger retriever breeds from England came and started to become popular, these dog breeds began to fall out of favor. Luckily for them, a doctor named F. J. Pfeifer, who’s from New London, Wisconsin, saved this breed from extinction. Doctor F.J Pfeifer bred and sold American Water Spaniels and formed a breed club, which helped develop a breed standard, which is a written description of how American Water Spaniels should look like. All his efforts paid off when the United Kennel Club’s recognized the breed in 1920. Forty years later, the American Kennel Club also recognized the breed. In fact, one of Doctor F.J Pfeifer’s own dogs, who he calls Curly Pfeifer, was the first American Water Spaniel to be registered. However, the American Water Spaniel breed remains rare today. They only have fewer than 3,000 American Water Spaniel dogs that exist today.

Characteristics of an American Water Spaniel

Height: 15-18 inches

Weight: 30-45 pounds in male, 25-40 pounds in female

Life Expectancy: 10-14 years


Both males and female American Water Spaniel can grow up to 15 to 18 inches tall. But females tend to a little bit smaller than males, and they can weigh up to 25 to 40 pounds while males weigh about 35 to 45 pounds. The American Water Spaniel is an alert, friendly, lively, and obedient dog breed as long as you give them consistent and fair training. Because without it, this breed can become manipulative and stubborn. You have to make sure that you use a reward training method rather than punishment. Because when you treat American Water Spaniels harshly, they can become timid. This breed likes human companionship, and they can become a barker, especially if they are always left home alone and if they get bored. The American Water Spaniel is not a dog that you can leave alone for hours in the backyard because they love being around with people. Even if they make a good family dog, this breed likes to bond most strongly with whoever gives them the most attention and time. This is why do not deprive your American Water Spaniel of socialization because it helps them to be a well-rounded dog.

Taking Care of an American Water Spaniel

If an American Water Spaniel gets plenty of exercise and playtime, they will do well in smaller living situations like an apartment or condominium. However, keep in mind that they are genuinely a country dog at heart, and they are the happiest when they have a lot of open space to run off their natural energy. This breed is highly smart and trainable. They also respond best to short but motivational training sessions. However, you should avoid giving them heavy-handed techniques or using punishments for getting it wrong. Instead, it would be best if you gave them rewards for getting it right in order to prevent them being sulky or withdrawn. We suggest that you train your American Water Spaniel yourself rather than having it tutored by a stranger. This is because they work much better for someone he knows. This breed might have the tendency to chew when his people aren’t home; that is why crate training is essential to keep your belongings safe.