The American Water Dog is a breed believed to have originated in the Great Lakes region (United States) where it was bred for hunting both in water and on land. They are characterized by being excellent swimmers and show a well-developed sense of smell that allows them to hunt waterfowl with great skill.
The breed has a medium size, robust body and a height that varies between 38 and 46 centimeters. Males can weigh between 13.5 and 20 kg, while females range between 11 and 18 kg. Their life expectancy is 10 to 14 years. The American Water Spaniel belongs to Group 8 of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which includes hunting retrievers and lifters, and water dogs.
Breed history in brief
The origin of the American Water Spaniel is not fully defined. It is believed that the breed originated in the Great Lakes area of the United States in the mid-19th century. The dogs were bred for waterfowl hunting, as this was the main livelihood of the European immigrants living in that area. The ancestry of this breed is still unclear, but it is believed that the Irish Water Spaniel, the Curly-Coated Retriever, the English Water Spaniel and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever participated in its creation.
The dogs of this breed have been noted for their versatility, as they are capable of hunting in water as well as on land. Today, the American Water Spaniel continues to perform hunting functions, but has also gained popularity as a companion animal because of its outgoing personality and loyalty.
The American Water Spaniel is a dog with a robust but not too compact body, and slightly longer than tall. The head is of proportionate size to the rest of the body, with eyes set wide apart and slightly rounded, not prominent. The eye color can vary from a yellowish brown to a darker shade of brown. The ears are long, lobed and broad, and the tail is medium-sized and curved.
The coat is double: the undercoat is dense to protect from cold temperatures or weather, while the outer coat is curly and water resistant. The coat can vary from uniform waves to a very pronounced curl. The color of the coat ranges from different shades of brown such as liver or dark chocolate.
The breed is characterized by its intelligence and desire to please its breeder, and this greatly facilitates its training. It has a strong, but controllable, hunting instinct, and a developed sense of smell. Overall, it is a versatile, hard-working breed and an excellent family companion.
Common health problems
As with other dog breeds, American Water Dogs can be prone to health problems. Some of the most common disorders and diseases are hip dysplasia, alopecia, retinal dysplasia, cataracts and intersex.
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