American Water Spaniel


The history of the American Water Spaniel is something of a mystery, but the breed is likely a product of ancestors that include the Irish Water Spaniel and the CurlyCoated Retriever. Developed in the mid-1800s in the Great Lakes region of the U.S., the American Water Spaniel was, and is, a remarkable hunting companion, the first American breed that could retrieve from boats. Although the AKC recognized the breed in 1940, it is still uncommon in the show ring or the home. It’s the state dog of Wisconsin.


Medium, 15 to 18 inches; females 25 to 40 pounds; males 30 to 45 pounds.


Solid liver, brown, or dark chocolate.


Intelligent, friendly, and fun loving; a good family dog if given enough exercise (if not, prepare for barking and digging). Whining and drooling can be a problem.

Energy level:

High, calmer when mature.

Best owner:

Hunter of upland birds or waterfowl, active family in suburbs or country.


Daily exercise (swims are appreciated), fenced yard, human attention, short obedience sessions, weekly brushing, attention to ears (clean regularly).

Life expectancy:

10 to 15 years.