Spanish Water Dog
Spanish Water Dog is a very active and playful but work-oriented dog breed. This dog breed was developed to herd and protect livestock such as goats, sheep, and cattle. They are very intelligent dogs with a great amount of stamina, and that is the main reason why these dogs are so good at sporting events.
FUN FACT: Other names for the Spanish Water Dog are: Perro de Agua Español, Turco Andaluz, Perro Turco, and Andalucian Turk.
15-19 in (40-50 cm)
31-48,5 lb (14-22 kg)
Dog Breed Characteristics
These dogs should be well-proportioned with a weight that is in accordance with their size. The Spanish Water Dogs have an attractive shape that is elongated and give an overall athletic impression. They have a well-developed scent, hearing, and sight.
These dogs are loyal, alert, and very smart. They have a strong herding instinct combined with great working ability and ethic that, most likely comes from their strong desire to please their owner. These dogs should be longer than they are tall.
This is an old breed that has been around for quite some time, and these dogs are registered in most of the major kennel associations.
Photo by: Jussi Kuuskeri
The Spanish Water Dog has a naturally curly and wooly coat. This coat served as protection against various climates on the Iberian Peninsula, where the weather would range from dry to humid. He doesn’t shed heavily. The main guideline for proper grooming is that he should never be brushed.
Some owners chose to let the hair grow for months to form cords. It takes work and supervision from some experts to ensure that the cords form correctly. The cording process is different from the other breeds that form cords so for the first time, it is advised to find and speak to someone who is more experienced with the Spanish Water Dog coats. The Spanish Water Dogs can have various hair colors, including black, brown, white, beige, and particolored.
The rest is basic care. Bath your dog when he gets dirty but be sure to wash him with a mild shampoo. The best option is to use dog products. Make sure that the shampoos and conditioners you use are safe to use on your dog and that they don’t include any chemicals that could potentially harm or irritate your dog. Dog shampoos and conditioners are easy to find in your local pet shops or online.
Trim his nails when needed and brush his teeth to secure good overall health and fresh breath. Again, make sure you use dog toothpaste and toothbrush. Dog toothbrushes are specially shaped so that you can easily reach your dog’s back teeth - they have elongated necks and the brush can be triple-sided.
Dog toothpaste should not include a chemical called Xylitol which is extremely toxic for canines but is harmless for humans and human toothpaste usually includes this chemical.
Ears should be checked on a weakly basis to ensure no sign of infection. When cleaning your dog's ear clean only the outer part of the ear using only soft cotton and never insert anything inside the ear canal.
FUN FACT: Spanish Water Dogs have webbed feet.
Spanish Water Dogs are active dogs who need plenty of exercise to be happy. They need both physical and mental exercise. If you want your dog to be happy and satisfied, you should take him for a good run at least once a day. They make great companions for running and hiking. Most of all, they enjoy swimming.
If you ensure them with enough daily exercise, they will relax afterward and secure you with the time to do other things. They are also the happiest when they are given a task or a job to do. It is a working breed by its nature and they had a job in Spanish farms for centuries.
These dogs can adapt to any kind of living arrangement. They are great for apartment living but are absolutely the happiest if you could provide them with a large fenced area that they could explore and play in. If you provide them with enough exercise on a daily basis, they will be perfect family pets with no behavioral problems.
FUN FACT: Spanish Water Dogs thrive on the challenges and adventures of an active lifestyle.
Training a Spanish Water Dog
Because they are very intelligent and active dog breeds they respond well to training and excel in many dog sports such as agility, fly ball, obedience, rally, and tracking. These dogs are very loyal and will do anything to please the owner, so harsh training methods are not recommended.
Photo by: Jussi Kuuskeri
To get the best possible results with your Spanish Water Dog, use positive reinforcement training methods that include plenty of praise, petting, and treats. These dogs have a strong will to please their owners so they will try really hard to understand and obey any command you give them.
They are also very quick to learn new tricks and commands. Their intelligence and athleticism are the main reasons they do so well in dog sports.
Like any other dog breed, even Spanish Water Dog requires early socialization. It is essential to secure that your dog doesn’t become shy or aggressive. Expose your dog to many different people, dogs, sights, and situations to secure a well-rounded dog.
Because they are herding dogs and have high prey drive, even with the right training and socialization these dogs will not be able to resist going after a rabbit or squirrel. They can adapt to any environment as long as you secure them with plenty of physical and mental activity.
Spanish Water Dog and children
These dogs come from the herding family and can have a strong herding instinct, so they can try and herd even children. Early socialization and proper training can teach them to behave even when children are around. Their temperament makes them more suitable for families with older children.
If you train and socialize your dog well, your children will get a great playing partner that has plenty of energy. These dogs can play for hours upon hours without getting tired or bored. Your children will also get a guard dog that is naturally suspicious of strangers, and you can be sure that they will warn you about any potential dangers approaching your kids.
However, Spanish Water Dogs will not tolerate aggressive behavior towards them or even between other children and may try and stop their quarrel before it escalates.
Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and that they understand how to properly interact and play with them.
SWD and other pets
These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company. Because of their herding instinct, they might try and herd other, smaller dogs. Dogs of this breed can develop dominant behavior, especially towards other dogs of the same sex, so you have to make sure they are properly trained and socialized.
They are not the best fit for other pets. They have a strong prey drive so they will most likely try and catch smaller animals such as gerbils, hamsters, squirrels, or rabbits. They can learn to get along with the pets they are raised with, but our advice would be never to leave them unattended.
The Spanish Water Dogs are generally very healthy dog breeds with a life expectancy of 12-14 years. Like any other breed, even Spanish Water Dogs can develop some health problems.
These problems are
- hip dysplasia,
- progressive retinal atrophy.
The main problem for this breed is hip dysplasia and allergies. Other health issues appear to occur less often. Not all dogs will end up with these health problems but you should be aware of them as you look for your new puppy.
There are two recommended health tests to ensure that your Spanish Water Dog is healthy: hip evaluation and ophthalmologist evaluation.
Spanish Water Dog breeders
If you are interested in getting a Spanish Water Dog puppy first you need to find a reputable breeder. Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill breeder or pet store because there is a high risk that your future dog will end up with many health problems. Instead, take your time and do the research.
Always ask the breeder to show you the health certificate of his breeding dogs, and if possible, always ask to see the parents and the puppies in person. Make sure that breeding dogs and their puppies live in good conditions and are provided with everything they require. Dogs from a good breeder will never be afraid of them or shy.
Ask as many questions as possible and ask the breeder for advice about this breed and a recommendation about choosing a puppy.
World Dog Finder website allows you to find many reputable Spanish Water Dog breeders from the whole world but always take your time and talk to a few breeders so you can find the best dog for you.
World Dog Finder team
The origin of the Spanish Water Dog is uncertain. Some theories say that they descended from African dogs and were brought to Spain by the Moors. Other theories suggest that these dogs were brought to Spain by Turkish trade. These dogs were working on farms in Spain, where they filled many roles, including retrieving, herding, and protection.
With the migration of people to cities, these dogs were less needed. Few people started to selectively breed Spanish Water Dogs to preserve the breed and to maintain their appearance and working ability.