American Water Spaniel Dog: Characteristics, Origin & Lifespan

The American Water Spaniel dog is a breed of spaniel which is beautiful and is of medium-size. It is also known as American Brown Spaniel, American Brown Water Spaniel and simply called by it’s nickname AWS.

As the name suggests, the American Water Spaniel dog breed was originated from the United States. It was developed during the 19th century in the state of Wisconsin from a number of other breeds, including the Irish and English Water Spaniels.

Hunters needed a dog that could work on both land and water, a versatile hunter skilled at bringing in a variety of game. Hunters also wanted a hunting dog compact enough to be transported in a small skiff, one that was able to withstand Wisconsin’s cold water temperatures.

Breeds involved in the creation of the American Water Spaniel are thought to have included the English Water Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, Curly Coated Retriever, native Indian Dogs, the Poodle, and either the Sussex Spaniel or another type of field spaniel.

The American Water Spaniel breed was saved by Dr. Fred J. Pfeifer, who set up the breed club and standard, and whose work led to recognition for the breed by the United Kennel Club, and later, the American Kennel Club. Although, the American Water Spaniel dogs are the state dot of Wisconsin, they remain a rare breed.[1]

American Water Spaniel Dog Characteristics

The American Water Spaniel dogs are very beautiful, medium-sized dogs. They have a curly liver, brown or chocolate colored coat. The coat of these dogs can fall in two different patterns, either tightly curled or in the “marcel pattern” where the fur falls in waves.

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The coat has a coarse outside layer which keeps water away and protects the dog from foliage such as briers. The inside layer provides insulation to keep the dog warm. The coat has an oily feel to it, which gives off a “doggy smell”.

The breed standard specifies color of the eyes should harmonize with the color of the coat, and should never be yellow. The skull is broad, and carries long, wide ears. The tail is not typically docked.

Average body height of the American Water Spaniel dog is between 15 and 18 inches at the withers. And the mature dogs on average weight between 11 and 20 kg.

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Temperament

The American Water Spaniel dogs enjoy being the center of attention, and can be quite vocal at times. It is a one family dog, and will often bond with one particular individual. For many years the breed was “pack bred”, where they were allowed to live in a group. Since these times, breeders have been working to breed even tempered dogs that are suitable for both hunting and family life.

The American Water Spaniel dog has a mind of it’s own at times and reaches peak performance with the owner who is dedicated to teaching the dog just what is expected of it. They take well to training, and especially excels at training that offers some variety rather than routine training drills.

However, some dogs can may have issues with food possessiveness. They can be stubborn, and mentally are slow to mature from puppyhood. Some lines of the breed still retain dominant and aggressive temperaments, other than these lines, the American Water Spaniel dog gets on well with children and enjoys playing with them.

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Even though they were originally bred to hunt, due to their size, they are suitable for apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise.

The American Water Spaniel dog is versatile regardless of the type of terrain, and in the water it is not the fastest swimmer but has a high level of endurance. The breed is also good at agility and flyball, with the first of the breed receiving a flyball championship title in 1993.

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the American Water Spaniel dog breed is between 10 and 12 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food will be enough for a mature dog. Although, you can consult with your vet for better recommendation.

Caring

Taking good care of your animals is very important for raising American Water Spaniel dogs. They require lots of exercise and playtime . They are happiest when they get plenty of open space to run off their natural energy.

The American Water Spaniel dogs are very smart and trainable. They generally respond best to short and motivational training sessions. Avoid heavy-handed techniques that use punishments for getting it wrong instead of rewards for getting it right. It will be better if you can train the dogs yourself. Your dogs will work much better for someone they know and love.

The American Water Spaniel dogs may chew when their people are not home. So, crate training is a must to keep your possessions safe and your American Water Spaniel out of the doghouse.

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Health

The American Water Spaniel dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions. Their common health problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease. Always keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameAmerican Water Spaniel
Other NamesAmerican Brown Spaniel, American Brown Water Spaniel and simply called by it’s nickname AWS
Breed SizeMedium
Height15 to 18 inches tall at the withers
Weight11 to 20 kg
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorShades of brown
LifespanBetween 10 and 12 years
Good for childrenYes
RarityCommon
Country of OriginUnited States