Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog, courtesy Spanish Water Dog Club of America

Quick Facts

  • Weight: 30 to 50 pounds
  • Height: 16 to 20 inches

The Look of a Spanish Water Dog

This medium-sized dog has a happy-go-lucky look. Its expression is bright and alert and its eyes seem humorous under long bangs. The dogs are robust and rustic, with a single coat that is curly and corded.

The Spanish Water Dog can be brown, beige, or black, and can have white markings. Its nose is the same color as its coat or slightly darker. They have a proud stance, with a wide chest and solid legs.

In the U.S., their tails are left naturally, but in other countries they are usually docked.


  • Very versatile worker
  • Curly, corded coat
  • Happy-go-lucky demeanor with family
  • Protective nature
  • Lifespan: 10 to 14 years

Ideal Human Companion

  • Families
  • Athletic owners
  • Owners in the city, country, or suburbs who give their dogs ample exercise and work
  • Allergy sufferers

What They Are Like to Live With

The Spanish Water Dog is a fun-loving, animated dog who will clown around with the kids and demand everyone’s attention during its antics. If you’re looking for a canine that both loves and protects its family, the Spanish Water Dog could be for you. The breed is easily trained and can perform many types of jobs, including search and rescue. Plenty of exercise is needed. Grooming for the Spanish Water Dog is almost nonexistent. Its curly coat is naturally corded. They are usually shaved to a very short coat once a year.

Things You Should Know

Spanish Water Dogs are devoted to their families and very protective. This can make them wary of strangers which is usually manifested in aloofness. Training your Spanish Water Dog to acknowledge that others are okay when you say so will remedy this. Because they were bred to herd, they may also be prone to herding family members. Giving them work to do will help with this issue.

This is a reasonably healthy breed. The most common health issues are Addison’s disease and hypothyroidism.

Spanish Water Dog History

The Spanish Water Dog has been in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service since 2008 and is also known as the Perro de Agua Espanol. It is an ancient breed from Spain, documented as early as 1110. They are thought to be descendants of Turkish water dogs.

The Spanish Water Dog was bred to be a versatile working dog, hunting small game, herding stock, and even being a companion to fishermen, assisting them with their nets. In 18th-century southern Spain, these dogs were used to herd livestock.

Today, the Spanish Water Dog is a companion dog but is also still a working dog in parts of Spain. They can also be found doing jobs including search and rescue and bomb- and drug-sniffing.

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