In the market for a hunting dog that is not too large but still has all the features of a loyal companion in the field? Then you might want to consider the American Water Spaniel. It has a distinctive long muzzle and enough strength to carry a large duck or goose in its mouth. It also has strong hind quarters, which propel the dog through water and over almost any terrain. The dog is longer than it is tall and is has a stocky, muscular build. The Water Spaniel has a dense undercoat, with hair ranging from waves to close curls. This makes the dog the ideal hunter, since it has good protection from conditions like snow, rain or heavy woods and brush. The ears are covered with hair as well, further protecting the American Water Spaniel from briars and other outdoor irritants.
The Water Spaniel is all about the water. It needs regular exercise, and its favorite place to be is swimming in the water. In addition to its prowess on the hunt, your Water Spaniel will enjoy family water time as long as he is moving and playing.
The American Water Spaniel is sensitive to people and is good with children. The dog wants to please its masters and is easily trained. The dog does pack quite a bark, so training the Spaniel on using his inside voice is imperative. The Spaniel is known for being charming, eager, happy and loyal to his owners.
The American Water Spaniels origin is a bit of a mystery. The dogs appearance is reminiscent of the Irish Water Spaniel, so in all probability the Irish is a close cousin to the American. There is also a strong influence from the Northern, Southern and Tweed Water Spaniels that preceded the Irish. Some believe that the tight curls of the American Water Spaniel mean that the English Water Spaniel also added some of its DNA. Some believe the Native Americans in the Great Lakes region may have created the breed.
Because of its Midwestern origins, the breed became recognized in that area first and foremost as an avid hunter that was unsurpassed by any other breed. The dogs low stance, waterproof coat and highly-sensitive nose made it an expert at tracking game through thick and rough terrain at land and in the water. It became the state dog of Wisconsin. The dog was recognized by the AKC in 1940. at the time no one had considered whether they could breed the dog as a competitive breed and family pet as well as a hunter. The breed is still rarely shown in the ring, and comparatively few people have brought the dogs as purely family pets. The breed is still one of the least known of AKCs recognized breeds. However, this dog should be more well known since it is one of only two sporting breeds developed in America.
The American Water Spaniel is a well muscled dog of medium size with a marcel to curly coat. Breeders emphasize the dogs proportions and the symmetrical relationship of parts, texture of coat and color.