American Water Spaniel: All You Need to Know before Bringing One Home!


The American Water Spaniel is a breed of dog that originated in the United States, particularly in the Great Lakes region. It is a small to medium-sized breed and has a distinctive curly coat that can range from dark chocolate to liver in color. The breed was originally developed for hunting purposes, particularly for retrieving waterfowl from the water. American Water Spaniels are known for their high energy, loyalty, and intelligence, making them great companions for active families or individuals.

In this article, we will discuss the physical characteristics, temperament, health, grooming and maintenance, as well as buying and owning an American Water Spaniel. We will also provide alternatives for those who may be considering a different breed of dog.

Physical Characteristics

The American Water Spaniel is a small to medium-sized breed, typically weighing between 25 to 45 pounds and standing at a height of 15 to 18 inches at the shoulder. The breed has a muscular build, with a broad and deep chest and strong legs that allow for agility and speed.

One of the most distinguishable physical characteristics of the American Water Spaniel is its curly coat. The coat can range from wavy to tightly curled and is water-resistant, making it ideal for hunting in wet conditions. The color of the coat can vary, but the most common colors are dark chocolate, liver, and brown.

The eyes of the American Water Spaniel are medium-sized and oval-shaped, with an intelligent and friendly expression. The ears are long, wide, and covered with curly hair that helps protect them from water and debris.


The American Water Spaniel is known for its friendly and enthusiastic personality. They are intelligent, loyal, and eager to please their owners, which makes them easy to train. However, they can be stubborn at times, which can require patience and persistence on the part of the owner.

This breed is known to be great with children and other pets, making them ideal for families. However, they can be wary of strangers and can be protective of their family and territory if they feel threatened.

Due to their hunting background, American Water Spaniels have a high energy level and require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They enjoy activities such as swimming, hiking, and retrieving, and are great companions for those who enjoy outdoor activities.


As with all breeds of dogs, American Water Spaniels are prone to certain health conditions. Some of the most common health issues in this breed are hip dysplasia, allergies, and ear infections.

To prevent hip dysplasia, it is important to ensure that the breeding stock has been screened for this condition. Regular vet check-ups can also help to catch any potential health issues early on.

Due to their curly coat, American Water Spaniels can be prone to skin allergies. Regular grooming and bathing can help to prevent skin irritation and infections. It is also important to regularly clean their ears to prevent ear infections.

Overall, American Water Spaniels are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 10-12 years. By maintaining a regular exercise routine and providing proper veterinary care, owners can help to ensure the long-term health and well-being of their pet.

Grooming and Maintenance

The curly coat of the American Water Spaniel requires regular grooming and maintenance to keep it looking and feeling healthy. Owners should brush their dog's coat at least once a week to prevent matting and tangling. It is also recommended to bathe American Water Spaniels every two to three months, or as needed to keep their coat clean.

The ears of American Water Spaniels should be cleaned weekly to prevent ear infections. Owners should also trim their dog's nails regularly and brush their teeth with a dog-specific toothpaste to prevent dental issues.

Regular vet check-ups are also important for maintaining the overall health and well-being of the American Water Spaniel.

Buying and Owning

When considering purchasing an American Water Spaniel, it is important to find a reputable breeder who can provide health clearances for both the parents and the puppies. This can help to ensure that the puppy you bring home is healthy and free of genetic diseases.

It is also important to keep in mind that American Water Spaniels are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise and stimulation. Owners should be prepared to provide plenty of physical and mental activity for their dog.

The cost of an American Water Spaniel can vary depending on the breeder and location, but generally ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. In addition to the initial cost of purchasing the dog, owners should also consider ongoing expenses such as food, veterinary care, and grooming.

Overall, American Water Spaniels can make wonderful companions for those looking for an active, friendly, and intelligent breed of dog.


If the American Water Spaniel is not the right breed for you, there are several alternative breeds that may be a better fit:

  • English Springer Spaniel: Similar in appearance and temperament to the American Water Spaniel, the English Springer Spaniel is also a hunting breed that is known for its high energy and friendly personality.
  • Golden Retriever: A popular family-friendly breed, Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and friendly personality. They also have a similar build to American Water Spaniels, with a broad chest and strong legs.
  • Labrador Retriever: Another popular breed, Labrador Retrievers are friendly, loyal, and easy to train. They are also a hunting breed and require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Portuguese Water Dog: Like the American Water Spaniel, Portuguese Water Dogs are a curly-haired breed that are great swimmers and enjoy outdoor activities. They are also intelligent and loyal, and make great companions for active families.

When considering an alternative breed, it is important to research and understand the unique characteristics and needs of each breed to ensure that you are choosing the right dog for your lifestyle and family.

Related: Maltese Shih Tzu: The Adorable Hybrid Dog Breed Taking Over the Canine World


What is the lifespan of an American Water Spaniel?

American Water Spaniels typically live between 12 to 15 years.

Do American Water Spaniels shed a lot?

Yes, they shed moderately but require regular grooming to keep their coats healthy and shiny.

Are American Water Spaniels good with children?

Yes, when trained and socialized, they can be excellent family pets.

Do American Water Spaniels have any common health issues?

Yes, hip dysplasia, ear infections, and allergies are common issues.

What type of exercise do American Water Spaniels need?

American Water Spaniels are active dogs and require daily exercise such as walks and playtime.

Can American Water Spaniels be kept in apartments?

It is not recommended due to their high energy levels and exercise needs.

Do American Water Spaniels get along with other dogs?

With proper socialization, they can get along with other dogs and pets.

How much does an American Water Spaniel cost?

The price can range between $1,200 to $2,500 depending on the breeder and location.

Do American Water Spaniels make good hunting dogs?

Yes, they were originally bred to hunt and retrieve waterfowl.

Are American Water Spaniels hypoallergenic?

No, they are not hypoallergenic and can trigger allergies in some people.

Real experience

Mary had always dreamed of owning a dog. She had grown up with cats, but something about dogs just spoke to her. When she was finally able to get one, she did her research and settled on a breed that was perfect for her - the American Water Spaniel.

Mary and her new puppy, Sunny, were inseparable from the very beginning. They went on long walks together and spent afternoons playing in the park. Sunny was lively and full of energy, always ready for the next adventure.

As Sunny grew, Mary realized that he had a talent for retrieving things. She decided to take him hunting, just for fun, and Sunny was a natural. He loved the thrill of the chase and never lost his focus, even in the midst of distractions.

Mary beamed with pride as Sunny became more and more skilled at hunting. He seemed to enjoy it as much as she did, and it became their favorite pastime. They went on long trips together to hunt for ducks, geese and other fowl, and always came back with a great catch.

But it wasn't just Sunny's hunting skills that made him special. He had a personality all his own, with a playful streak that endeared him to everyone he met. Mary loved how he would sometimes sneak up on her and give her a slobbery kiss on the cheek, or how he would wag his tail so hard that his entire body would shake.

Sunny was more than just a pet to Mary - he was a companion, a friend and a source of endless joy. She knew that she had made the right choice when she picked the American Water Spaniel, and would always be grateful for the time she spent with her beloved Sunny.

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American Water Spaniels are a friendly, intelligent, and active breed that make great companions for families and individuals who enjoy outdoor activities. With proper grooming and veterinary care, these dogs can live long and healthy lives.

When considering owning an American Water Spaniel, it is important to research and understand their unique characteristics and needs. It is also important to find a reputable breeder and be prepared for the ongoing expenses associated with owning a dog.

If the American Water Spaniel is not the right breed for you, there are several alternative breeds that may be a better fit. By doing your research and understanding the unique characteristics and needs of each breed, you can find the perfect canine companion for your lifestyle and family.