Featured Breed : American Water Spaniel
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American Water Spaniel

Life Span: 10-12 years

Litter Size: 4 to 6

Country of Origin: United States

Size: American Water Spaniels range from 15 to 18 inches at the shoulder. Their weight ranges between 25 to 45 pounds, with females averaging in at 32 pounds and males averaging 40 pounds.

Coat: The coat of the American Water Spaniel is double with a harsher, oily feeling outer coat that is waved to very curly and a dense, thick inner coat that is softer and finer. The hair on the ears, chest, legs, and tail is slightly longer and more fringed but still curly or wavy. The coat may not be uniformly wavy or curly with the hair across the back straighter than the hair on the chest or rump area.

Character: The American Water Spaniel is a medium-sized dog. This American original excels at flushing out game and retrieving. As is typical of the Spaniel breed, they hunt both feather and fur with excitement and enthusiasm. The American Water Spaniel is friendly, willing to please, and intelligent. They are avid hunters, farm workers, and amiable companions.

Appearance: The American Water Spaniel has a solid and robust build, with large and drooping ears framing a face that sports an eager and intelligent expression. It has a curly or wavy coat that is oiled to provide a good degree of water resistance, and it also wears an undercoat. The hair on the head and face tends to be smooth, and the coloring includes liver, brown and dark chocolate.

History: No one knows for sure how the American Water Spaniel came to be, but most dog enthusiasts believe it originated as a cross between the Irish Water Spaniel and the Curly-Coated Retriever. Bred specifically to hunt in the swamps, bogs, river and lakes of the American Midwest, these canines continue to help people and provide companionship all across the country.

Health Issues: Health problems that can affect the American Water Spaniel are eye problems, such as cataracts and entropion (the eyelids roll inward), as well as adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis, which can result in hair loss.

Temperament: The American Water Spaniel is good with other dogs in the family, but can be aggressive toward strange dogs. It is generally gentle with other animals and children. However, the animal is known for a few undesirable habits including drooling, roaming, excessive whining, and excessive barking. Proper training can eliminate many of these behaviors. Also, the animal does need to be socialized from an early age to avoid shyness. Aggression is not common in the breed.

Care: Bi-weekly brushing of the American Water Spaniel is needed to remove dead hair and to prevent matting. Minimal bathing is required. Vigorous exercise is essential and they should be allowed to swim often, as they enjoy this.

Training: The American Water Spaniel is slow to maturation and may be two years of age before they are able to settle into a training program. However, they do require extensive socialization at an early age. They may be difficult to housetrain and the crate method is highly recommended. This breed has a highly sensitive nature and does not respond to harsh or heavy-handed training methods. If they are harshly disciplined they may exhibit "fear-biting". It is important that training be done with patience, love, respect, consistency, and fairness.

Activity: American Water Spaniels need a considerable amount of physical activity. Long and daily walks are an absolute must and they will still be active when indoors. They normally live indoors but need access to a secure yard or garden. They love to spend time with their family and enjoy exercise, such as swimming, and playing games, such as fetch.

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