Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated April 3, 2009)
One of the four breeds of purely American ancestry is that of the American Water Spaniel. He is quite popular among the sportsmen, sometimes referred to as a "small retriever." There was a day when he was known simply as the Water Spaniel and was very popular in the Midwest or wherever there were upland game and water. He is a hard worker and works well in the water. As a hunting dog he is an excellent worker on quail, grouse, woodcock, snipe, rabbits, and pheasant. He is an excellent retriever and able to withstand the roughest weather and the heaviest current.
The American Water Spaniel's disposition is quite amicable and active. It is his demeanor that shows intelligence, strength, and endurance. It is with his affectionate disposition and beauty, along with his endurance, that helps him to remain one of American's favorite sport dogs.
The coat is one of the physical traits that make this dog look so appealing. The coat is closely curled or it may have a marcel effect. The color is usually a solid liver or a dark chocolate. There may be some that have a little white that appears on the chest or toes. The eyes of the American Water Spaniel are very expressive, alert, and intelligent. The eye color usually matches or harmonizes with the coat.
American Water Spaniels are medium in size and both sturdy and muscular. He stands from fifteen to eighteen inches from the shoulders. The male weighs from 39 to 45 pounds, while the female weighs between twenty and forty pounds.
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