The American Water Spaniel, not surprisingly, is an excellent swimmer, capable of swimming in even choppy water. They use their well-feathered tail as a rudder.
They are a fairly small, muscular and hardy dog with quite a long, broad head, square muzzle and long hanging ears with thick curls. Their shiny double coat is wavy or curly and comes in mainly solid colours of liver, brown and chocolate but they can have a little white on their chest and toes.
They were bred in the Great Lakes area of America, round about the 18th century as a hunt, point and retrieve dog for water birds, actually working off small boats and retrieving from the water.
They are very enthusiastic and intelligent which makes them very trainable. They make a loving, loyal and happy companion. They are normally sociable and friendly towards other animals, strangers and children. They need a lot of exercise and, ideally, opportunities to swim.
They need regular brushing but should not be bathed too often as it robs their coat of it's natural oils which they need to protect them in water. The oils also give the coat a distinctive smell. They can be prone to skin problems and are inclined to snore and drool.
Watch our videos about some of the dog breeds in the Gundog group