Thursday, June 30, 2011

American Water Spaniel

Click to see all my American Water Spaniel items for sale.

Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the American Water Spaniel, all in one convenient place right here on my blog. I will be featuring other dogs, so continue following my blog to read all about your favorite breeds.   

Other Names/Nicknames: AWS

Country of Origin: United States of America

Sporting Group           (Gun Dog Group, Water Dog)

Purpose of Breed:      Gundog; a competent retriever also doubles as a flushing spaniel. Like many of the spaniel breeds, it hunts both feather and fur (and even fish) with equal enthusiasm. Hunts on land but excels in water.

Recognized By:          American Kennel Club in 1940
Canadian Kennel Club in NOT AVAILABLE
Fédération Cynologique Internationale in NOT AVAILABLE
Kennel Club in NOT AVAILABLE
United Kennel Club in 1920

Population Scarcity:   Rare but not vulnerable

AKC Ranking in 2010: 143rd

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Weight:           Male 30-45 lb (13-20 kg)                    Female 25-40 lb (11-18 kg)
Bulk/Substance: middle
A solidly built and well-muscled dog full of strength and quality. The breed has as much substance and bone as necessary to carry the muscular structure but not so much as to appear clumsy.

Height: 15-18 inches (38-46 cm)
Size:    small - medium

Proportion: is slightly longer than tall, not too square or compact.

Color:  either solid liver, brown or dark chocolate. A little white on toes and chest permissible.

Coat:   can range from marcel (uniform waves) to closely curled. The amount of waves or curls can vary from one area to another on the dog. It is important to have undercoat to provide sufficient density to be of protection against weather, water or punishing cover, yet not too coarse or too soft. The throat, neck and rear of the dog well-covered with hair. The ear well-covered with hair on both sides with ear canal evident upon inspection. Forehead covered with short smooth hair and without topknot. Tail covered with hair to tip with moderate feathering. Legs have moderate feathering with waves or curls to harmonize with coat of dog. Can be shown in natural coat or coat may be trimmed to present a well-groomed appearance; the ears may be shaved; but neither is required.

Trimming/Clipping Required: some
Grooming: Brush weekly; clip excess hair from feet, topknot and top of ears; clean ears
Time Spent Grooming: once a week for about 30 minutes.

Shedding: light, but constant (ordinary).

Basic Grooming Tools Needed:        Slicker brush
Pin brush
Nail clippers & Styptic powder

Temperament:            Their demeanor indicates intelligence, eagerness to please and friendliness. They are an excellent sporting dog that also fits suitably into the family circle, as they do not have to hunt to be happy. AWS loves their daily exercise, but equally enjoys just hanging out with his family. The American Water Spaniel is an efficient watchdog and protective of its owner. They can become more attached to the alpha person in the house. AWS will think of young children as kennel mates until they grow up. In old age, some AWS may become temperamental.

Breed Characteristics:           As a breed that is intelligent and likes to please, they respond well to non-heavy handed consistent and fair training. Although AWS train quickly they may not do as well with rote training drills, having variety in the training process will help keep them from becoming bored.

An AWS needs to be housed with the rest of the family as this breed excels when given proper attention and made to be a part of the family. Therefore, they should not be housed outside in a pen or yard except by an experienced trainer or breeder that knows how to properly raise a dog in such an environment.

As a hunting dog they are a busy and tireless worker with an affinity for water. They have a great energy and eagerness for the hunt yet controllable in the field. The American Water Spaniel is an all-around hunting dog capable of spending a day in the field or sitting patiently in a duck blind. As a retriever, the American Water Spaniel is more suited to working marshes, and bodies of water for waterfowl. They mark fallen game well and retrieve with great enthusiasm. The AWS has a great nose that makes the breed especially adept at tracking a wounded bird or chasing down a running pheasant. While the breed's manner of flushing is somewhat soft compared to other spaniels, it will get the job done.

Best for: upland birds or waterfowl hunters, active families, lots of attention.

Not for: inactive people, first-time dog owners, the yard-proud, those lacking time.

Sociability with Other Dogs: some can get scrappy with strange dogs.

Sociability with Strangers:     most are mildly friendly ("reserved", "takes time to warm up to", "shy") with strangers.

Sociability with Children: good with older, considerate children.

Watchdog Ability: alert (efficient)
Protection Ability: natural - accepting
natural- (usually holds intruders at bay by barking and growling, but has to be trained to attack.)
average- (gets confused with intruders, barking and growling indiscriminately at anyone. Without training it would be an undependable guard dog.)
accepting- (usually greets most strangers as friends. Occasionally encounters a stranger whom it fears.)

Sociability within Family: small-family or one-person dog.

Indoor Activity: active - moderate
Outdoor Activity: very active
Exercise Required: medium (up to 30 minutes per day)

Ease of Training: high

Possible Health Problems:    Allergies, Cancer, Cardiac Abnormalities, Cataracts, Detached Retina, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Follicular Dystrophy, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Patellar Luxation, and PRA.
No one health issue plagues this breed but neither is it free of health concerns.

Possible Behavior Problems:            barking, irritable snapping. roaming, and whining. Certain specimens may drool, snore, and have a strong coat odor.

Extra Information:     thorough, eagerness may render him overanxious, they mature slowly, good swimmer, great hunter, desire to please, a litter size of 4-6 puppies. The AWS is likely one of the contributing breeds to the Boykin Spaniel.

History:          Sometime in the 1800's in the Fox and Wolf River Valley region of East-Central Wisconsin of the United States, market hunters set about making a sturdy smaller retriever. They needed a dog that was smaller in both size and weight to fit in the small skiffs and canoes that the hunters used. The new breed had to have a coat that had some waterproofing quality that would allow the dog to work tirelessly in the icy rivers, lakes, and cold marsh. The dog needed to be built to swim for long periods of time but also need to be functional on land

The origin of the American Water Spaniel is something of a mystery as there is no documentation as to the specific breeds that were used to develop it. AWS scholars do agree that the Curly-Coated Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, English Water Spaniel (extinct), Flat-Coated Retriever, Field Spaniel, Tweed Water Spaniel (extinct), and possibly the Chesapeake Bay Retriever were used. What doesn't seem to be agreed upon is if all or only some of these breeds were used to create the American Water Spaniel.

In 1920, the United Kennel Club formally recognized the American Water Spaniel as a purebred dog, thanks to the help of a Wisconsinite by the name of Doc Pfeifer. Unfortunately, this tenacious little hunting dog never really gained the popularity as some of the other hunting breeds have over the years. Today it remains mostly as a bit of a "forgotten" breed except by its staunched supporters and by the people of its birthplace. In 1985, Wisconsin declared the American Water Spaniel its state dog.

Collar Length: NOT AVAILABLE
A collar should ride high on your dog's neck without fitting too loosely as to slip over his head, nor to tightly as to restrict breathing or cause coughing. It should be snug with enough room to fit two fingers between dog's neck and collar. Check collar size frequently on growing puppies. Use a tape measure to measure dog's neck and then add on 2-3 inches (5-7 cm).
Collar Width:              1/2-5/8 inches (1-1.6 cm) width is best for puppies and small dogs.
5/8-3/4 inches (1.6-1.9 cm) width is best for small to medium dogs.

Leash Length:            that depends on use of the leash. A good all around and obedience leash is 6 feet (2 meters).
Recommended Leash Width: 5/8-3/4 inches (1.6-1.9 cm) width

Crate Size: about a 30 inches (76 cm) tall crate.
The best way to determine the correct size kennel for your dog is to measure your pet. Measure from the floor to the top of your dog's shoulder, and add 3-6 inches (8-15 cm); this is the minimum cage height. Then measure from the dog's head to the base of his tail, and add 3-6 inches (8-15 cm); this is the minimum cage length. If the kennel is going to have a 'permanent' place in your home, you will want to make sure that your dog can comfortably stand, sit, turn around, and lie down in it.

Dog Bed Size:            Rectangular - 24 x 42 inches (61 x 107 cm)
Oval - 24 x 42 inches (61 x 107 cm)
Round - 42 inches (107 cm)
The best way to measure your dog for a bed is when dog is laying down. Measure from base of tail to tip of nose, and add a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm). For bolster or snuggle style beds, add a minimum of 5-7 inches (13-18 cm).

Useful Breed Links:  American Kennel Club (AKC)
                                   American Water Spaniel Club (Parent club)
                                   The American Water Spaniel Field Association, Inc.
                                   Breed Rescue
                                   Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)
                                   Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
                                   Kennel Club (KC)
                                   Untied Kennel Club (UKC)
                                   Breed information on Wikipedia
                                   More breed information  

Stop by my store on Etsy to see my Handcrafted American Water Spaniel art or check out the many other dog breeds I carry and more. Remember if you don't find what you are looking for just ask, I am always very happy to answer questions.

CAN YOU HELP? - In the sections that say 'NOT AVAILABLE,' I need help finding the correct information to fill in those blanks. If you know the answer please leave your response in the comments section below, thank you.

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