Spanish Water Dog



The Spanish Water Dog is said to originate in the southern region of Spain and was especially bred in the rural areas. It was regarded as a multipurpose dog because of its intelligence and easy trainability; it could be trained to assist in hunting, fishing or any other kind of rural activity. However, its most prominent use was for herding of livestock, like sheep and goats for which it seemed to have a natural instinct. 1.

His characteristics, most particularly the quality of his coat, are adapted to the variation of humidity and drought of the marshy regions, which qualifies him as a shepherd dog and as a helper to the hunters of waterfowl and fishermen in those regions. 2.


Rustic dog, well proportioned (medium weight), dolichocephalic, of rather elongated harmonious shape and attractive appearance, of an athletic nature with well developed muscles owing to his regular exercise; the profile is rectilinear; his sight, hearing and scent are well developed. 2.

The Spanish Water Dog has a strong, robust body, and yet has an elegant air about him. He usually has very expressive eyes whose colour matches with the colour of his coat, and can be hazel, brown or black. The skin is tight fitting and supple and upper thighs are especially well muscled. 1.

The most unique feature about this dog is its coat, which is extremely curly, as opposed to the usually straight or wavy hair that most dogs have. The coat also has a woolly texture. 1.

The dog comes in a variety of colours and patterns in his coat. The coat may be a single solid colour of black, brown, beige or white or it may have two colours i.e. white and brown or white and black. The coat is distinctive in its length and texture. This means that the grooming of this kind of coat requires special attention. 1.

Sizes and Weight – The height of a Spanish Water Dog can be between 44 to 50 cms for males and 40 to 46cm for females, while weight varies from 18 to 22kgs for males and 14 to 18kgs for females, making it a medium sized dog.1.

Temperament & Suitability

The Spanish Water Dog is diligent, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. They have very strong natural herding and guarding instincts, leading them to become the “self-appointed” guardians of their homes. The breed thrives on work and play and their athleticism and extremely hard working nature leads them to excel at any number of tasks. 3.

Being a very intelligent dog he can adapt to many situations and do different kind of tasks, making him quite versatile. The energy level of this dog is very high and he is diligent and hard working in any job he is given to do. 1.

They can be wary with strangers, and early and continuing socialisation with a variety of people and other animals is essential for a well-adjusted, social dog. Good socialisation at an early age greatly helps them cohabit with small children. 3.

Exercise Requirements
As a house pet, he is extremely energetic and playful and has high protective and territorial instincts. The Spanish Water Dog requires a large open space, such as a field, or at least a big yard to run and play in. It requires a lot of daily physical and mental exercise to keep it in good health. However, when they are puppies, they are not very energetic and tend to sleep a lot. At that time, they should not be over-taxed with exercise as it may lead to joint pains at a later stage of life. 1.

These dogs rank quite high on trainability, especially if they are trained as puppies. One thing which must be kept in mind is that the trainer should establish himself as the leader to ensure the puppy will listen to him and not try to take the lead himself. 1.

Behavioural Traits
The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely devoted and loving companion for its adopted family. He is quite confident and dignified at the same time and has all the traits of being a pack leader. 1.

The curly, woolly coat of a Spanish Water Dog requires more attention for grooming than other dogs. It cannot be brushed down like other dog’s hairs and instead needs to be sheared when the hair grows too long as they form cords. The shearing can be done once a year if he is a house pet, or as often as required if he is a working dog, as long hair can hinder him in his work. 1.

This breed of dog is quite prone to eye infections and other eye related diseases like progressive retinal atrophy, cataract and cherry eye. For this reason, it is important to have regular eye check-ups for this dog. It is also prone to hip dysplasia and even Addison’s disease in rare situations. 1.

Life expectancy is 10 -14 years.


In Conclusion

Now you know a little about the Spanish Water Dog, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Spanish Water Dog and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.

Image submitted by Josema Garcia (Spain)


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