American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel is an all-American dog breed that was carefully bred and created to be a versatile hunting dog. These dogs absolutely love water and if you live near any body of water, this might just be the breed for you.

The American Water Spaniel is commonly abbreviated to AWS and it is a dog breed that specialized in chasing and retrieving various types of waterfowl and other small prey. They can make pretty good family pets and companions that will love the active lifestyle and will enjoy everything you and your family would like to do outdoors.

American Water Spaniel Height


15–18 in (38–46 cm)

American Water Spaniel Weight


25–45 lb (11–21 kg)

American Water Spaniel Origin



American Water Spaniel Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

10–14 years

Breed History

American Water Spaniel was been from the beginning hunting dog breed. His coat protects them from cold water and his small size allowed the hunter to take these dogs in a little boat. These dogs are still rare and there are less than 3000 dogs in the world today.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

The American Water Spaniel is a fairly muscular dog that has a moderately curly coat. It is a medium-sized breed that is very active and has decent substance. The AWS’s head should always be in proportion to their bodies, not too big and not too small.

The American Water Spaniel’s nose should be either brown or black and their eyes should be slightly rounded and never appear bulging. The eyes can range from light brown to dark brown and yellow eyes should always be disqualified. Their ears are above the eye line and should be lobular and long.

These dogs have well-developed bodies and are mostly judged by their overall balance and proportion rather than the size restrictions. Their tails are moderately long and curved in a “rocker” fashion. Their legs are also moderately long, straight, and muscular. The AWS has a great overall bone structure.

American Water Spaniel standard


  • Group 8 Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs. Section 3 Water Dogs. With working trial.
  • height - 15-18 in (38-46 cm)
  • weight - males 30-45 lbs (13,5-21 kg), females 25-40 lbs (11-18 kg)
  • date of acceptance - 11/2/1979


  • Hound Group
  • height - 15-18 in (38-46 cm)
  • weight- male 30-45 lbs (13,5-21 kg), females 25-40 lbs (11-18 kg)
  • year of acceptance - 1940


American Water Spaniel has a double coat that serves as a protection for the dog from various weather, water, and bushes. Weekly brushing is required to keep the coat looking good. These dogs shed during shedding seasons and at that period daily brushing is required to keep the amount of hair under control.

American Water Spaniel  coat colors:

  • liver
  • brown
  • dark chocolate

The rest is basic care; trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.

American Water Spaniel temperament

The American Water Spaniel is a lively and active family companion if their physical needs are met and if they are allowed to live an active lifestyle. They are generally very friendly and affectionate, especially towards their family. The AWS is people-oriented and loves spending time with their family. They hate to be left alone and if that scenario happens, they will most likely start excessively barking and can even become destructive.

The working American Water Spaniel is enthusiastic but not as enthusiastic as some of the most famous working spaniels. They are also very talented and skilled in retrieving, their skill is almost equal to the skill of a Golden or Labrador Retriever. They do need firm and fair leadership because they can become a bit stubborn and then they might not perform at their highest. If their training is done properly, you will have a tireless hunting dog that can go toe-to-toe with the best of them.

American Water Spaniel training and socialization

Every dog breed in the world needs proper training and socialization to fulfill their potential and the American Water Spaniel is no different. They have a natural instinct for hunting and retrieving and those instincts can be polished and trained to become a great hunting ability.

Make sure that you start socializing your American Water Spaniel puppy as soon as possible. Introduce your AWS puppy to different situations and environments so that they can learn how to properly handle themselves. To help your puppy develop in a stable and well-behaved dog, expose them to different sights, sounds, people, and other dogs so they can learn proper behavior and social rules.

When you start training an American Water Spaniel, make sure that your training method involves a lot of praises, treats, and food, and pretty soon you will start noticing great results. These dogs do not respond well to harsh training methods, punishment, and fear. They can become overly shy or even aggressive. They are fairly intelligent and even if you are no the most experienced dog-owner, you can still handle and train the American Water Spaniel pretty well.

Health problems

Like any other dog breed, the American Water Spaniel can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are: 

  • Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by the hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
  • Epilepsy - Brain problem causing mild to severe seizures.
  • Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy - Group of diseases that affect the retina and cause it to deteriorate over time.
  • Cataracts - Cloudy spots on the lens of the eye
  • Allergies - these dogs are prone to have allergic reactions to specific foods, products, or medications.

The American Water Spaniel is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 10-14 years.


When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable American Water Spaniel breeder. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good American Water Spaniel breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics. 

American Water Spaniel is still a rare dog breed and if you are interested in getting one of these dogs you must be prepared that you will be put on the waiting list.

When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so, you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust. Provide him with enough daily exercise for him to be happy.

World Dog Finder team


Updated at12.05.2021.