Breed of the Week – American Water Spaniel

Published by VCA Inc. in Breed of the Week, Dog Breed, Dogs, Lifestyle, Pets January 22, 2017

The American Water Spaniel is a rare breed found mostly in the United States and spends its time as a hunting dog. This breed has a long history even though its recognition did not come until the early to mid 1900’s. Like the name suggests, this dog is great in water and specializes in hunting game such as water fowl. However, this breed is not all work and no play.  The AWS loves just as hard as he works and makes a great companion!

With less than 3000 of these dogs in existence, the rare breed can be found mainly in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Fun fact, the breed is the State Dog of Wisconsin, named in 1986. Let’s take a look at some of the other facts that make this canine a favorite of many.


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The Doggy Details

  • Breed Group:  Sporting
  • Origin:  United States, Wisconsin
  • Dates of Origin: 1800’s
  • Colors / Patterns:  Brown, Chocolate, Liver
  • Grooming: Moderate
  • Life Expectancy:  12-15 years

That moment when you realize that your dog is more beautiful than you😜 #AKC #AmericanWaterSpaniel

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The Look of the American Water Spaniel

As one of the medium-size breeds in the sporting category, the AWS has a double coat which is waterproof and wavy to closely curled. These coats help the breed do well in the water and come in 3 different colors. They can stand at 15″ – 18″ at the shoulder and are usually between 25-45 lbs. Careful though, these dogs can become overweight if not properly exercised!

Overall the AWS is easy to groom with weekly brushings of the coat, especially in spring. Don’t forget to trim the nails regularly and brush your dog’s teeth.  These simple steps will keep your Spaniel looking great!

#americanwaterspaniel #petphotography #petportrait #snow

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Canine Curiosity

The American Water Spaniel is very active as a member of the Sporting Group. This requires daily exercise, working, and basic obedience training. Not only will this help with the energy level of your AWS, but will also help bond you together. This dog loves to please his owner and will also make a good watch dog. They can be goofy, adventurous and occasionally destructive (if not exercised properly). Overall, they love their humans and their loyalty will also shine through.

Health & Care

Although a fairly healthy breed overall, the AWS does have some health conditions that pure breds are more prone to get. Each dog is different and proper care helps to reduce many health issues. Some of the potential health problems for this breed include hip dysplacia, eye disorders and some cardiac issues. With regular checkups and screenings for potential issues, the AWS is likely to be a healthy dog.

Where Do I Get One?

Think that the American Water Spaniel sounds like the perfect addition to your home? It’s always important to do your homework before adding any pet to your family. For more information on the breed, recommended breeders, or education you can visit the Breed Registries of the AKC, AWSC. Also, you can always find mixed breeds at your local shelter or rescue.

Share Your Breed Pictures

Want to share pictures or videos of your American Water Spaniel? Send your submissions to or post on your social media channel of choice and tag #vcapets


The American Water Spaniel Club

American Kennel Club