Spanish Water Dog
Other names: Perro de agua espanol
The Spanish Water Dog is used as a hunting, fishing or sheepdog. Docile, happy, hard-working and very well-rounded, they have a strong aptitude for learning thanks to their great capacity for understanding. This dog can adapt to all situations and conditions. They make excellent utility dogs that can also be considered as pleasant pet dogs.
Key facts about the Spanish Water Dog
Origins and history
The existence of this dog in the Iberian Peninsula dates back to a very long time ago. It’s even said that the Spanish Water Dog could be the oldest out of their category. The largest number of them is found in Andalusia, where they have been known for centuries as a “Turkish dog” and are used as sheepdogs. Their genetic characteristics haven’t really changed through selection until today thanks to their numerous and versatile working qualities.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 3 : Water Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Spanish Water Dog
Female : Between 16 and 18 in
Male : Between 17 and 20 in
Female : Between 31 and 40 lb
Male : Between 62 and 49 lb
Dogs can be single-coloured (solid black, brown, white), white with various shades or two-tone (white and black or white and brown), but never tricoloured.
Type of coat
The coat length can be from 1 inch to 6 inches when you stretch out the curls.
The hair is a curly, fuzzy texture. When the hair is long, cords are subsequently formed.
The iris is hazel and must match the colour of the coat.
A rustic, well-proportioned, average-weight, dolichocephalic, rather elongated dog with a balanced form and appealing profile, the Spanish Water Dog has an athletic nature and a well-developed muscle structure. Slightly slanted, their eyes are very expressive. Their ears set moderately high on their head, are triangular and hang down. The tail sits at an average height.
Good to know
In their country of origin, they are used as search dogs along firefighters (searching for lost persons) and the police (searching for drugs and other illegitimate items at airports)
In the United States, they are used for the search of bodies and in Holland, they are used especially for the search of dead bodies in marshy grounds.
Finally, in Spain, an educational project managed by the Ministry of National Education and led by the president of the Spanish breed club has made these water dogs a therapist dog for the elderly and disabled children.
Of a very happy and balanced nature, these dogs are devoted to their friends but never to the point of being absolutely inseparable. A very endearing breed, they delight everyone they meet through their warmth and sympathy.
Very happy and lively, this water dog is willing to play any game initiated by their owner. It’s important that they’re involved in activities that are both educational and entertaining in order to maintain their early-learning, work them hard both physically and mentally, strengthen the dog-owner relationship and fortify their training.
This dog can be calm and quiet when all of their needs have been satisfied. Otherwise, boredom can make them unruly.
This water dog is intelligent and above all, very versatile: they adapt very quickly to the various tasks they are given. Whether being a sheepdog (cattle management), a hunting dog (retriever dog, game dog in the marshes, etc.), a fisherman’s assistance dog or simply as a companion, they’re a breed with many facets.
This breed makes excellent helpers for hunters; they can aid hunting on all types of terrain, whether marshy or dry thanks to their incredible ability to adapt.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Perro de agua espanol, as called in their country of origin, is very friendly towards humans and their guardian instinct allows them to quickly detect the motives of anyone approaching them.
Tremendously balanced, this dog does not depend on their master, despite their undeniable attachment to them. They are easily able to be alone in the garden or inside without the constant need to be beside their owner.
Behaviour of the Spanish Water Dog
If, from the moment the puppy arrives home, they learn to be alone, they can therefore live easily without their owners being there. However, prolonged time away from home should not be a routine as this utility dog may eventually get bored.
Easy to train / obedience
Particularly docile, this dog’s learning abilities are almost endless. It’s often said that the Spanish Water Dog alone possesses the qualities of three or four other dogs, so their capabilities are very diverse.
Very easy to train, this dog understands what is expected of them extraordinarily quickly, as long as teaching methods are respectful and kind toward them.
With this breed, the basic principles quickly sink in but beware, regular and consistent hard work is necessary in order to have a Spanish Water Dog as perfect as they seem on paper.
This dog will bark at the slightest suspicious sound, making them the ideal alert dog. Good training will be needed so as to not make this behaviour too excessive.