When choosing which dog breed to welcome into your home, it is important to consider and compare the different personality traits and physical characteristics of the breeds that most appeal to you. It is also essential to assess your lifestyle to help you decide which breeds are potentially the best fit for the way you live your life so that you can make sure you can meet the dog’s needs. If one of the breeds you are considering is the American Water Spaniel, then finding out as much as you can about this breed can help you to make your decision. Here are 10 things you might not know about the American Water Spaniel.
1. The American Water Spaniel Originates from the Midwest
According to the American Kennel Club, the American Water Spaniel was the first American breed that was bred specifically for hunting. They are gundogs that originate in the lake country of the upper Midwest. They were bred to work in the marshy banks and icy waters of the Great Lakes region. An interesting fact about the breed is that the American Water Spaniel is the Wisconsin state dog.
2. It is a Hunting Dog Breed
Although many people now keep American Water Spaniels as companion dogs due to their loving nature, they were originally bred as working dogs. They were bred to have the features of both Spaniels and Retrievers so that they could fulfill various hunting tasks. Although they are all-around hunters, Dog Time says that the breed specializes in waterfowl which they retrieve from small boats. Due to their inbred need to work and remain active, you must keep this breed occupied with fun and varied activities. If they are underemployed, American Water Spaniels can become destructive.
3. They Are a Medium-Sized Breed
The American Water Spaniel is a medium-sized breed, and they can grow to between 15 and 18-inches. Females can weigh between 25 and 40 pounds, while males are heavier at 30 to 45 pounds. To ensure your American Water Spaniel maintains a healthy weight and prevent health problems, you should feed your dog a balanced and nutritious diet and make sure they have daily exercise.
4. American Water Spaniels Have Curly Coats
One of the most distinctive features of the American Water Spaniel is its coat. They have a double coat that is either curly or wavy. It is waterproof, which is one of the reasons why the breed is ideal for working as water retrievers. Their undercoat is short and dense, while their outer coat is medium-length and smooth. American Water Spaniels shed very little, which is fantastic for those who worry about cleaning up dog hair from around the home. There are three accepted colors in the breed standards: brown, chocolate, and liver.
5. They Need Grooming Weekly
As American Water Spaniels have medium-length wavy or curly coats, they need grooming at least once a week to prevent tangles and to keep their coat in good condition. However, grooming this breed is not an arduous task, and most dogs of this breed enjoy the grooming process. You should also bathe them regularly, which is another activity they enjoy, as this will help keep their coat in good condition and prevent matting.
6. They Have Webbed Toes
One of the most unusual features of the American Water Spaniel is that it has webbed toes. It means that these dogs are excellent swimmers, which helps them retrieve from the water. You may find that your American Water Spaniel has an affinity with water and that they will go for a paddle or swim at every opportunity. Another distinctive physical characteristic of the breed is its long, floppy ears.
7. There Are Some Health Conditions Associated with American Water Spaniels
Like most breeds, there are some health conditions to which American Water Spaniels are prone. Some of these include hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, eye disorders, and cardiac abnormalities. Therefore, some of the recommended health tests for this breed include cardiac exam, ophthalmologist evaluation, and hip evaluation. If you are concerned your American Water Spaniel has any of the listed conditions, then seek the advice of your vet.
8. They Need Exercise Daily
American Water Spaniels are energetic, active, and playful dogs. Due to their nature and their physical needs, this breed needs regular exercise. They will benefit from daily walks and outdoor play with their owner or other dogs. The American Water Spaniel is ideally suited to a family that lives in a house with a large backyard, so there is plenty of room for them to exercise at home, and they are not the best option for apartment living. If you cannot commit to the physical needs of the American Water Spaniel, it is best to choose a less physically demanding dog breed.
9. American Water Spaniels Are Usually Easy to Train
The American Water Spaniel is an intelligent breed, and they want nothing more than to please their owner. For these reasons, this breed is usually relatively easy to train. However, they have a stubborn streak, which may cause some issues, although positive reinforcement is the best method to deal with this potential problem. Also, American Water Spaniels are sometimes aloof with strangers, so it is important to begin socialization early in training to accustom them to meeting new people.
10. They Are Fine with Children and Other Pets
If you have children or pets in your home and are thinking about getting a dog, you must choose your breed carefully. Not every dog breed gets along well with children and pets, so you need to find the right breed to fit into your home conditions. The American Water Spaniel is a good choice for families with children and households with other pets, as they get along well with other animals and with children. However, you should always proceed with caution when introducing a new dog to children and supervise early meetings, regardless of the breed.