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Spanish Water Dog
History
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The Spanish Water Dog is an ancient breed. There are several theories regarding its origins, however, the exact origin is not known. One theory suggests that Turkish merchants brought the Water Dog to the South Iberian Peninsula along with the flocks of sheep and goats as they moved throughout the Mediterranean. Another theory suggests North African origin. Regardless of its exact origin, there is documentation of a wooly-coated Water Dog on the Iberian Peninsula in 1110 AD. It is generally accepted that these wooly-coated dogs were the ancestors of the Water Dogs. The breed has been known by many different names, including, Perro de Agua, Perro Turco, Laneto, Perro de Lanas, Perro Patero, Perro Rizado, Churro, Barbeta, Turcos Andalucia, and most recently Perro de Agua Espanol.

In Spain during the eighteenth century Water Dogs were used for herding livestock from the south of Spain to the north and back again searching for fertile grazing areas. This movement was known as La Trashumancia and the route was known as Cañada Real. While the Industrial Revolution affected the North of Spain and Madrid, it forgot Andalucia. Primarily due to their ability to work in the mountains Water Dogs remained active in Andalucia, especially in the hills and mountains of Cadiz and Malaga. At the same time, in the ports of Seville, Algecieras and Malaga, Water Dogs were used to tow boats to shore. Later, when this task was no longer necessary, they were used to assist the fisherman with their nets as well as for hunting waterfowl and upland game.

Although the Water Dog has been in existence for centuries its modern history probably began in 1981 when Mrs. Saskya Mesdag exhibited a Spanish Water Dog at a dog show near Malaga, Spain. At this time, Antonio Garcia Perez along with Santiago Montesinos Rubio and David Salamanca Ortega began working toward getting the breed recognized. The standard, written by Mr. Garcia, was based the on the black and white dog, "Luckyý and was accepted by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1983. In 1985, the breed was accepted by la Real Sociedad Central de Fomento de las Razas Caninas en España (RSCE) and given provisional acceptance by the FCI, Group VIII (flushing) Section 3 (water dogs). The SWD was permanently accepted by the FCI in 1999.

The Spanish Water Dog can still be found working in the mountains of southern Andalucia herding cattle, pigs, goats and sheep as they have been for the last 1000 years. They are also used for many more modern tasks such as search and rescue, drug and bomb sniffing, agility, and water work.





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