American Water Spaniels have athletic, medium-sized frames covered in either wavy or curly coats that are usually brown, liver or chocolate. Their heads have rectangular muzzles, rounded eyes and wide noses. Their ears are wide, long and feathered. They have strong necks, level backs and tapered tails that curve slightly.
American Water Spaniels are perfectly wonderful household companions. They get along well with people, play gently with children and guard their families with a watchful eye. However, American Water Spaniels belong outdoors, stomping through woods and streams. This is not to say they have to live outdoors—American Water Spaniels will do fine in apartments as long as they get daily walks outdoors. Eager to learn and easy to train, American Water Spaniels don’t need heavy-handed treatment while being taught.
American Water Spaniels can live as long as 16 years. Common health issues include eye problems, cardiac issues and hip dysplasia. Their curly coats need a good brushing several times per week. Bathe only when necessary, since soap can remove the coat’s natural oils.
No one knows for sure how the American Water Spaniel came to be, but most dog enthusiasts believe it originated as a cross between the Irish Water Spaniel and the Curly-Coated Retriever. Bred specifically to hunt in the swamps, bogs, river and lakes of the American Midwest, these canines continue to help people and provide companionship all across the country.