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American Water Spaniel

Tags: Sporting, Kid-friendly

Waterfowl hunters in the Great Lakes area in the mid-1800s drew on the Curly-Coated Retriever, the Irish Water Dog, and probably the Field Spaniel to invent the American Water Spaniel. These were the so-called market hunters who could shoot hundreds of ducks for sale to restaurants and they needed hard-working retrieving dogs to help with their harvest. What that cross-breeding produced was a medium-sized dog (up to 18 inches at the shoulders and 30 to 40 pounds) that not only works from close quarters of a boat but also hunts, flushes and retrieves game of all kinds in some pretty miserable weather conditions. We're a fairly rare breed -- maybe around three thousand of us altogether -- and most still live around the Great Lakes. We’re proud to be the official state dog of Wisconsin, which describes us as "full of life, always ready to spring into action."

Rave review

  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Busy is better than boredom
  • Classy canine
  • Coat needs regular care
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Courageous canine
  • Easygoing
  • Energizer doggie
  • Even-tempered, good-natured

Report card

  • Hardy hunter
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Lives to work
  • Loves kids and vice-versa
  • Outdoors enthusiast
  • Pleased to please
  • Caters to the country, tolerates town
  • Ready to romp
  • Takes to training

What to expect

My long, curly coat needs regular maintenance -- brushing and combing -- and daily or at least weekly would be appreciated by us both. If you're not going to take me hunting (quail, ducks, pheasants) please find some other way to help work off my excess energy: swimming, field or obedience training, long runs in the park, romps with family in the backyard. Oh, this is going to be glorious fun!

Watch for

Possible hermaphroditism.

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