The weatherproof coat, either wavy or tightly curled, requires consistent brushing.
AWS are muscular mid-size gundogs, not flashy in looks or performance, but instantly recognizable by a luscious brown coat that’s either tightly curled or wavy. Bred to work the icy waters and marshy banks of the Great Lakes region, AWS are ideally outfitted for the job: The coat is dense and waterproof, the feet are thickly padded, the toes are webbed, and the body is small enough for an AWS to hop in and out of a skiff without rocking the boat.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds. The American Water Spaniel is a medium breed and has a lifespan of 10 to 13 years.
What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
This breed has a short easy-to-groom coat. Use a slicker brush to remove dead undercoat. A rubber-tipped pin brush is great for grooming the sparser summer coat. An additional benefit is the massaging effect brushing creates and it distributes the natural oils throughout the coat. Trimming nails help keep feet in good condition. Scraggly hairs can be removed from between the toes with a scissor. Routine cleaning of the ear canals is very beneficial to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Before you set your heart on an AWS, be advised that this is a scarce breed. The American Water Spaniel Club says there are probably no more than 3,000 in existence. The breed’s small but fiercely loyal band of admirers describes a merry, intelligent, and versatile spaniel suited to any number of dog sports. As hunters, they combine working traits of spaniels and retrievers. The key to AWS happiness is activity, especially alongside their adored human—an underemployed AWS can get barky and destructive.
American Water Spaniel &HEALTH
Unfortunately some may face a health challenge in their lifetime with hip dysplasia, eye disorders, cardiac abnormalities and degenerative myelopathy. As with all breeds, a majority of dogs in this breed will live long and healthy lives when given proper care and regular veterinarian visits.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own an American Water Spaniel can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.