American Water Spaniel Dog: Characteristic, Health & Fun Facts!

The American Water Spaniel is a dog known for its high energy agility, and drive. These dogs are apt members of the sporting breed as their quick energy is what makes them who they are.

The temperament of these dogs is so that it complements owners who enjoy a day filled with activities that are essential to keep your Water Spaniel brisk. As their name also dictates, if you are somewhere where there is water, these dogs tend to be content.

They love to engage in sports and agility and play fetch as well. These dogs do not even pose any behavioral issues! You could find a great companion in them, but before that, read all about them here!

American Water Spaniel

About The Breed

The American Water Spaniel is an energetic dog that doesn’t shy away from showing affection. They aren’t very popular outside the Great Lakes in the United States; like the water in their name, they are huge fans of water bodies.

These dogs love being outdoors and getting a good amount of physical exercise to spend their energy. These dogs do not cause any behavioral issues as, well. They are well-mannered and make great family dogs as well. 

American Water Spaniel Dog Breed History

The American Water Spaniel’s origins are in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin. The ancestors of this curly-haired breed are possibly the Irish Water Spaniel and Field Spaniel. They were initially developed to be companions while hunting, and their physicality supplements this as well. A lot of times, these dogs, if taken on boat rides, tend to retrieve prey, and thus their hunting and prey instinct is very good. 

This breed is very rare, and there are less than 3,000 of these in existence today. However, these dogs remain extremely popular and continue winning dog competitions by portraying their skillful side. 

American Water Spaniel Dog Breed Profile

Breed Name American Water Spaniel
Other NameAmerican Brown Spaniel
Dog Breed TypeSporting Doga
OriginUnited States
Parent BreedsIrish Water Spaniel
Height1 foot 3 inches to 1 foot 6 inches
Weight 25-45 pounds
Life Expectancy12-15 years
Coat TypeDense coat that is waterproof and wavy or curly
Common ColorsUsually shades of dark brown, brown and black
Grooming NeedsRegular brushing and maintenance 
HypoallergenicModerate shedding 
TemperamentEnergetic, Agile, Affectionate
Apartment LivingIdeal for apartments
Health ConcernsPattern Baldness, Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts, Retinal Dysplasia
Overall HealthGood
Intelligence LevelHighly Intelligent
TrainabilityUsually shades of dark brown, brown, and black
Energy LevelHigh energy and stamina
ActivityRigorous exercise 
Highly trainable4-6 puppies
What To Know
• American Water Spaniels are energetic dogs requiring regular exercise. Plan for daily walks, playtime, or activities to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

• These dogs are intelligent and trainable. Start basic commands early, using positive reinforcement. Consistency is key in their development, ensuring a well-behaved companion.

• With a water-resistant double coat, regular brushing helps keep their fur healthy. Be prepared for seasonal shedding, requiring more attention during those times.

• Early socialization helps AWS dogs become well-adjusted. Introduce them to various people, environments, and other animals to foster positive behavior.

• Known for their loyalty, American Water Spaniels make great family pets. Consider their sociable nature and ensure they receive ample attention and interaction within the household.
American Water Spaniel



The American Water Spaniel boasts impressive adaptability, making it a great choice for various living situations. This dog effortlessly adjusts to urban or rural environments, showcasing its versatile nature.

Whether you’re in a small apartment or a spacious home, the American Water Spaniel’s adaptability shines through. This quality, paired with its sociable disposition, makes it an excellent companion for families and individuals alike.


Adaptive to Apartment Living

Suitable for New Owners

Sensitivity Scale

Comfortable Being Alone

Comfortable with Cold Weather

Comfortable with Hot Weather


The American Water Spaniel is known for its friendly nature. This breed typically gets along well with family members, children, and other pets. Their sociable demeanor makes them a pleasant addition to households seeking a friendly and affectionate companion.

This friendliness extends to interactions with strangers, making the American Water Spaniel a welcoming presence in various social settings.

All About Friendliness

Lovable with Family



Frank with strangers


American Water Spaniels are alert and energetic. This breed is obedient and needs to be trained with positive reinforcement and consistent training. Reinforcement that is discouraging or puts them down can cause these dogs to get shy and start acting out.

To avoid these behavioral issues, provide regular training that also enhances the quality of their lives. They do tend to vocalize what they feel and are barkers. These dogs form quick bonds with their owners and families and, with proper training, socialize very well as well.

This breed is said to perform the best if enrolled in a puppy kindergarten class. These classes are usually to train young pups and expose them to good behavior habits.


The American Water Spaniel is recognized for its friendly and adaptable temperament. Known to be affectionate and loyal, these dogs are easygoing and thrive on companionship.

Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them trainable and good family companions. With a generally gentle nature, they are well-suited for households with children and can get along with other pets when properly introduced.

Friendly with kids

American Water Spaniels are known for being kid-friendly, displaying a gentle and patient demeanor that makes them great companions for families. With proper supervision and early socialization, AWS dogs can form strong bonds with children, providing a positive and safe environment for play.

Amicable to other pets

American Water Spaniel generally gets along well with other animals. Early introductions and positive reinforcement contribute to fostering harmonious relationships between AWS and other pets in the household.

Barking tendencies

American Water Spaniel dogs are not particularly prone to excessive barking, but like any breed, they may vocalize to alert their owners. Training and positive reinforcement help manage their barking tendencies, ensuring they respond appropriately to different situations without unnecessary noise.

Possibilities of Staying Alone

American Water Spaniel dogs may experience separation anxiety. Gradual acclimation to alone time, coupled with engaging toys and comfortable space, can help alleviate anxiety and contribute to their well-being when left alone.

Pros and Cons of the American Water Spaniel Dog Breed


  • Friendly and patient with children, making them great family pets.
  • Adaptability to various living environments, suitable for both urban and rural settings.
  • Intelligent and trainable, responding well to positive reinforcement.


  • Requires regular exercise to manage their high energy levels.
  • May experience separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.
  • Regular grooming is needed due to their double coat.

Male vs Female Attitude

The male and female American Water Spaniels are not different in many ways. Both of them only differ in size, but otherwise, their temperament is the same. 


The American Water Spaniel is a lively and affectionate dog, particularly fond of water. While not widely known beyond the Great Lakes region, they thrive outdoors and enjoy plenty of physical activity.

With good manners and a well-behaved nature, they make excellent family pets, showing no behavioral concerns.

Coat Color And Grooming

The American Water Spaniel has a shiny and short coat. Their coat is known to be dense and waterproof since they love to be in water bodies.

The fur on their coat is either curly or wavy, and they have an undercoat that protects them from harsh weather and waters. Their coats come in different shades of brown, from dark brown to bear brown to black. 

Grooming needs are not very vigorous for these dogs. Brushing their coats once a week is suggested. Since they have curly, fine fur, debris, and dirt, as well as ticks can settle in their coats. Using a pin brush or a brush with slickness helps keep their coat clean.

They have water-resistant coats, which tend to be oily and look glossy, thus brushing between these layers. Nail maintenance is also important. Trim your dog’s nails regularly to keep them hygienic. 


American Water Spaniels do not shed very often, their shedding is not as bad as other breeds, and they are not heavily hypoallergenic; however, you must brush their coats at least once a week to keep any extra shedding at bay. 


The American Water Spaniel is not too large. Females are about 15-18 inches tall, and males are slightly taller than them. Males are 35-45 pounds, and females are 25-40 pounds. This could be subject to change with every breed.


The American Water Spaniel is usually not a breed that causes a lot of hues and cries when it comes to health issues or diseases; however, some conditions can be looked out for, for example, Pattern Baldness, Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts, Retinal Dysplasia. They can also be sensitive to allergies, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism.

An important step to take toward the healthy nature of your dog is to ensure you get health clearances from a responsible breeder. Regular visits to your veterinarian and a diet that keeps your dog healthy are also important. 

Health and Grooming Requirements

Shedding Quantity

Drooling Capability

Effortless to Groom

Overall Health

Capable of Gaining Weight


Maintenance and Care

The American Water Spaniel is an energetic dog and needs rigorous exercise as a part of its care routine, primarily.

Because of their small size and loving temperament, these dogs are ideal for apartment living; however, their lifestyle and heritage ancestry make them dogs that enjoy open spaces like yards where they can explore and spend their energy. They are more easily trainable when they are around people they love and could be standoffish towards professional trainers. 

These dogs are sometimes chewers, thus training them not to bite and chew off things at home!

Food and Nutrition

This breed needs exercise as one of its requirements. Thus the diet of your American Water Spaniel should supplement its energy needs.

A cup or a cup and a half of high-quality dry food is recommended for this breed. Consult your veterinarian for a personalized diet plan for your dog, as the metabolism, lifestyle, and activity types of every dog are different from others. 

Feed your dog twice a day and consistently to avoid any obesity issues. 

Exercise and Activity Level

The American Water Spaniel’s strength is its love for exercise and staunch leadership. These dogs are natural leaders and love to explore all their energy levels. They are perfect for owners who also love to exercise and spend their stamina.

Give your American Water Spaniel at least an hour of exercise and include games that stimulate them mentally, like Catch, Chase, etc., to keep them happy.

They love water exercises as well, so if you have access to your water body, let your dog explore! If they do not meet their exercise requirements, the American Water Spaniel tends to get burnt out and stubborn. Thus make sure you let them engage. 

Physical Requirements

Energy range


Exercise Requirements

Capable for Playfulness


The American Water Spaniel dog is highly trainable, making it an ideal choice for owners seeking an obedient and responsive pet. These dogs, known for their intelligence, quickly grasp basic commands.

Positive reinforcement methods, like treats and praise, work effectively during training. Consistent and patient guidance fosters a well-behaved companion.


Effortless to Train


Capable for Mouthiness

Tendency to Attack Prey

Urge to Howl or Bark

Wanderlust Ability


The American Water Spaniel is a dog that is known to be very gentle with children. They make great family dogs and bond very quickly with the family member who showers them with the most love and attention. 

Explore More Dog Breeds…

FAQs On The American Water Spaniel Dog Breed

Where do the American Water Spaniel breeds come from?

The American Water Spaniel comes from the United States.

What is the best diet routine for an American Water Spaniel dog?

A diet that supports the exercise requirements of the dog and at the same time maintains its healthy weight is the best diet routine for the American Water Spaniel. A cup to a cup and half of the dry food. 

How much exercise is required for an American Water Spaniel?

At least an hour of walking with games that stimulate their mental agility is important for this dog!

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment