AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL DOG

A charming sports breed but not very popular, the American Water Spaniel has a unique, curly, liver colored coat, brown or chocolate. 
The American Water Spaniel stands between 38 and 46 cm; the adecquate size is as important as the dog’s symmetry. The dog should be slightly longer than tall, and should not seem square or compact. The coat texture and color should also be considered. The ideal coat can vary from a uniform wavy to closed curls, and not at the entire body equally. The dense undercoat is vital to make water and tough terrain work easy. The color should be solid liver, brown or dark chocolate (some white is admitted at the fingers and chest).  The skull is moderate length, and the ears are long and wide; the eyes can vary from a yellowish brown to brown (yellow eyes disqualify). In general, it is a robust built animal, agile and very athletic.
 
WHO IS IT RIGHT FOR             
A fantastic, small hunting dog with plenty of brains. Despite its expression, it is not as easy as the Cocker, although sweet enough. 
This is a hunting dog with a desire to please, strong pack instinct, and rarely kept as a company dog. Even so, if given the opportunity, it is a fantastic companion as long as it knows who the master is! It is a good sized dog, and very robust. Although it is larger than the Cocker, its character is very different: it is a thinker and needs firm and fair direction. It bores easily and needs a task. Patient trainers get great results with this breed. Choose a home bred puppy that is not timid or fearful, since an extroverted specimen promises a peaceful and productive life. It is not always apt for children, this breed is very fond of its owners. Quite possessive, it knows what it owns, and doesn’t hunt for strangers. Females bark more easily than males. Don’t choose this breed out of a whim: adult specimens don’t accept a new owner.
 
DEVELOPMENT             
After 7 – 8 weeks, an American Water Spaniel puppy weighs between 3.5 and 4.5 kg. Physical maturity can be late, up to 24 months, although in some breeding lines maturity is reached after a year. The adult male weighs between 14 and 22 kg, females between 12 and 20 kg. The buyer should choose a compact dog with a thick wavy or curly coat. The head should be square with a medium length muzzle and a good bite. Avoid puppies with yellow eyes, straight coats, and those that are shy or hyperactive. In adolescence the dog changes little physically; the eye can darken, the body gains substance, and the coat becomes thicker. Male adolescents test their owners, and the females can become reserved; both sexes turn possessive. With a good socialization and education, this phase passes without a problem.
The puppy should have an extroverted personality, a curly coat and eyes that are not too yellowish. The mother’s coat of course will be fuller and thicker than the puppy’s.
 
HEALTH
There is few veterinarian data about the breed. The breeders inform about hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal dystrophy, as well as dwarfism. Every breeder should perform checkups for hip dysplasia and eye problems. Affections that should be consulted with the breeder are, hypothyroidism, juvenile cataracts, diabetes and rat tail and yellow eye incidence. Breeders also inform the possibility of poor temper. Make sure that the specimen is well socialized and that it has been bred at home, not a breedery. The breed demands plenty of outdoor exercise, and swimming is an excellent activity. The owner can work (play) with the dog by hunting, with a Frisbee, apport, or other similar games to satisfy the breed’s strong instincts. Brushing is easy, but necessary, since the coat is thick and can become oily. The owner should control the ears, skin and anal glands regularly.
 
Well socialized specimens can be excellent and reliable house companions and guardians.  
Parent checkups should be performed for potential eye problems.